In the Big East Semifinals, St. John’s saw its season come to an end with a 2-1 overtime loss to top-seeded Marquette, which made the NCAA women’s soccer tournament after falling to Georgetown in the league’s final.
Last year also ended with a semifinal defeat (at the hands of Butler), and the ranked Red Storm received an automatic big. This year, St. John’s did not get selected. And so, with the Marquette defeat, the Red Storm finish the season 11-4-5.
St. John’s came out strong against Marquette with a shot at the Big East final. After the opening whistle, the squad registered three shots in the first five minutes by Shea Connors, Morgan Tinari and Samie Scafidi.
In the 29th minute, Connors was able to break through and give the Johnnies the lead. Tinari sent a ground ball into the box for the junior from New Haven, Conn., who was able to beat her defender and send it past the goalkeeper into the back of the net.
A little over five minutes later, Marquette tied the game when Carrie Madden headed one past Big East Goalkeeper of the Year Diana Poulin.
At the half, St. John’s outshot Marquette 5-3, but Marquette had earned the only corner kick of the first 45 minutes.
The second half was relatively quiet, with neither team getting many chances. Poulin made a couple of saves in the 56th minute and 64th minute, but that was about all the pressure the Golden Eagles put on the Red Storm defense in the half.
St. John’s had their best chance to pull ahead with less than a minute to go in regulation. Christina Bellero put a shot on goal, but Marquette goalie Maddy Henry was able to make the save.
In overtime, Madden scored the game-winner, her second of the game, on an impressive bicycle kick to advance Marquette to the Big East Tournament Finals.
Forward Shea Connors and junior defender Jesse Schafer both earned Big East all-Tournament honors.
St. John’s defended home well, going 8-0-2 at Belson Stadium, and 5-2-2 in Big East play, led by a balanced attack of Connors (four goals, five assists) and Sammi Scaffidi (four goals, two assists). The Johnnies outscore opponents 2-1, allowing 0.6 goals per game. And the defense allowed nearly 100 fewer shot attempts than the Red Storm made.
With the loss, they Red Storm will now turn to next season, looking to build on the progress the team made after graduating the great scorer Rachel Daly, now in the pros with Houston.
St. John’s will only be losing three players to graduation, but that does include Poulin, one of the greatest St. John’s goalkeepers of all time, and Morgan Tinari, an experienced midfielder who started all 20 games.
Still, with all the experience coming back, they will look to improve in 2017 and return to the NCAA Tournament.