The St. John’s women’s soccer team will have a sense of déjà vu on Tuesday evening when they host Providence at Belson Stadium in the first round of the Big East Tournament. In the regular season finale on Friday, the Red Storm knocked off the Friars by a score of 2-1 to earn home-field advantage for the rematch.
As John Fanta of the Big East Digital Network points out, having home field is very significant for the Johnnies.
On Friday, St. John’s got off to a quick start, grabbing the lead in the 15th minute. Shea Connors received the ball on the left side, beat her defender and sent a ball into the box where Miranda Haraughty was waiting. The Redshirt Junior, making her first start of the season, was able to gain control of the ball and sent it past the diving Providence goalkeeper to jump out in front.
The score remained the same at halftime, but the Friars were able to find the equalizer early in the second half. Kayla Steeves was able to corral a loose ball and sent a shot from 25 yards out past a diving Diana Poulin.
In the 72nd minute, the Johnnies gained the lead back when Christina Bellero rocketed a shot off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. The goal came just 23 seconds after Bellero had entered the game as a substitute. It was also the only shot of the half for the Johnnies, but the Sophomore from Melville, NY made it count.
The first-round matchup on Tuesday against the Friars will be for the right to face #1 seed, Marquette. The contest can be streamed on the Big East Digital Network at 7 p.m.
While the women are preparing for the postseason, the men went in the opposite direction at the end of the season. They fell to DePaul on Saturday 1-0 in overtime. It was their third consecutive loss and eliminated from postseason contention.
It was a highly contested game as DePaul outshot the Johnnies 16-12, but the Red Storm had an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks.
St. John’s had a few chances around twenty minutes into the half, firing off four shots and earning three corner kicks in a five-minute span. However, no shots made it on goal.
In the 44th minute, Harry Cooksley gave the Red Storm one of their best chances of the game. Taking a free kick, he tried to bend one around the keeper, but it was saved by the Quentin Low of DePaul. The ensuing rebound by Wilhelm Nilsson was blocked as well.
Cooksley had another opportunity in the 49th minute, firing a shot toward the net, but Low was able to tip it up and over the net out of play.
There were not many more chances the rest of regulation for either team, but two minutes into overtime, DePaul earned the victory with a golden goal. Stijn van der Slot got the ball inside the box, turned and fired one into the back of the net to give the Blue Demons the win.
Andrew Withers did as much as he could for the Johnnies in goal, tallying a season-high seven saves, including some for the highlight reel.
St. John’s finishes their season on Thursday when they host Providence at 7 p.m. The team will honor their seniors as they look to close the season on a high note.