The Red Storm took care of business on Saturday as both the men and women pulled off upsets in Queens. The men downed No. 11/14 Butler 2-1 while the women shut out Big East-leading DePaul 1-0.
The men came into Saturday not having a win against a ranked team in three years when they beat Georgetown and Akron, who were both ranked in the top five, in 2013.
St. John’s came out firing early, taking the first five shots of the game. Junior Harry Cooksley had a great chance in the 23rd minute, taking a shot from distance, but Butler goalkeeper Eric Dick was just able to poke it over the crossbar. Sophomore Mike Prosuk had another opportunity to score in the 31st minute when he took a volley in the box and tried to sneak it past the goalie, but it was knocked away. Cooksley again had a chance in the 33rd minute, firing another shot from way outside the 18-yard box, but Dick was able to make a diving save.
On the Johnnie’s sixth shot of the game, Mauricio Rivas found freshman Alistair Johnston in the box, who was able to head it in just over the goalkeeper outstretched hand to give St. John’s a 1-0 lead. It was the Ontario native’s fourth goal of the season and Rivas’ first assist.
The score remained 1-0 at halftime with the Red Storm holding a 7-2 shot advantage and had four corner kicks to Butler’s zero.
In the second half, Butler was determined to tie the game. After having a couple of shots on goal saved by goalie Andrew Withers, the Bulldogs found the equalizer in the 65th minute on the eighth goal of the season by Lewis Suddick.
With time winding down in regulation, it looked like the contest was going to head to overtime, but Harry Cooksley had other ideas. In the 85th minute, the Londoner took the ball outside the box, but instead of taking a shot from distance like he did earlier in the game, he dribbled the ball into the box, weaving around the defense, and fired one into the bottom right corner of the net to give the Johnnies the big win. Like Johnston, it was the fourth goal of the season for the former Division II standout.
Cooksley and Johnston each took home a Big East Weekly award for their play, with Cooksley earning Offensive Player of the Week and Johnston winning Freshman of the Week.
Next up for the Red Storm is trip down to D.C. on Saturday for a matchup against the Hoyas of Georgetown. The game starts at 1 p.m. and can be streamed on the Big East Digital Network.
Before the men played on Saturday night, the women had an afternoon contest at Belson Stadium against first-place DePaul. Not having a win or scoring a goal in three weeks, the Johnnies desperately needed a victory to get back in the postseason race, and they delivered with a 1-0 shutout.
DePaul came into the matchup as hot as you can be. They were riding a seven-game winning streak, scoring 24 goals during that span, and were undefeated in Big East play.
Senior Goalkeeper Diana Poulin was up to the task of stopping the Blue Demons and their high-powered offense, registering a season-high nine saves. It was her 10th shutout this season, tying a St. John’s single-season record. For her performance, Poulin was named Big East Goalkeeper of the Week.
St. John’s had only three shots for the entire game compared to DePaul’s 18 and two shots on goal to the Blue Demon’s nine. Luckily for the Johnnies, all that matters is how many shots actually went in the net - and St. John’s had that advantage courtesy of Samie Scaffidi.
In the 75th minute, the sophomore from Maryland took the ball from Morgan Tinari and dribbled around multiple defenders before she directed one to the lower left post from the edge of the 18-yard box. She had just enough mustard on it to get it past the goalkeeper to give the Red Storm the lead with just 15 minutes left in the match.
DePaul would only be able to get one more shot off the rest of the game and St. John’s held on for the crucial victory.
With the win, St. John’s continues to control their own destiny with three games remaining to earn a spot in the Big East Tournament. The top six teams make the tournament and they are currently one point ahead of Butler for sixth place. The home stretch continues Thursday when they take on Xavier on the road at 6:30 p.m. It can be streamed on the Big East Digital Network.