Both the St. John’s men’s and women’s soccer team are set for weekend tilts, as the men travel across the Hudson River to visit Seton Hall on Saturday as they open conference play, while the women close out their non-conference schedule at home on Sunday against Long Beach State.
The men’s team should head into South Orange feeling confident after rattling off back-to-back wins against Temple and UC Santa Barbara at home. Dating back to the Hofstra game, the Red Storm are also unbeaten in their last three outings.
The unbeaten streak has been led by sophomore midfielder Alistair Johnston. The Canadian has three goals in the last two games. He’s been more than sufficient since Harry Cooksley’s injury back on September 5 against Hofstra.
Despite Johnston’s success recently, the team will still be relying on their defense, especially on the road.
Goalkeeper Andrew Withers, who was the latest Big East Goalie of the Week, has yet to allow more than one goal in all of his six starts this season. The Johnnies defense is allowing .480 goals per game, good for 13th in the country, and Withers ranks 14th among division I goals with a .875 save percentage.
With all that being said, the key man for the Red Storm could be freshman striker Jack Shearer. Here on Rumble in the Garden, we wrote about how his presence completely changed the dynamic of the Temple game. Dr. Masur shares that opinion, and gave Shearer the start against UCSB, and Shearer assisted on both of Johnston’s goals. He has been a true number nine presence is key for St. John’s in Cooksley’s absence.
Last year the Red Storm and the Pirates met in Queens. An early red card left the Johnnies shorthanded, but a second half penalty converted by Filipo Ricupati saw the Johnnies pick up the win. It was far from the best St. John’s played all season.
Seton Hall comes in with a 3-3-1 record, but after starting the season 0-2-1, the Pirates, led by Andres Arcila who is the reigning United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Week, also come in riding a wave on momentum.
Scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. kick off, the game can be seen on the Big East Digital Network.
On Sunday the women’s team plays host to Long Beach State. The women’s team is coming off a 1-0 loss to ACC school Boston College on Thursday night, putting the Red Storm on their first losing streak of the season.
The Eagles, who are now 6-3-0, were held in check by St. John’s until an 84th minute scramble in the box led to a Boston College goal.
Antonia Tammaro made four saves in her second career start.
Long Beach State comes off a 3-2 double overtime win against UCONN, who the Red Storm also beat earlier in the season. Their record is currently 5-3-1, compared the St. John’s’ 4-3-1.
The Beach, as their website calls them, are led by Katie Pingel and Ayanna Robles who are currently tied for the team lead with two goals apiece. Their best win of the season came on August 24, when the upset 22nd ranked Northwestern, 2-0.
The game closes out non-conference play for the women’s team, who after Sunday will head to Washington, D.C. to open up Big East play. The game is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. kick off and can be seen on ESPN3.