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Two close games have opposite ends for Men’s, Women’s soccer

The men start conference play with a win

Wendell Cruz

After another busy weekend of St. John’s soccer, the men opened up Big East play with a hard-fought 1-0 win on the road at Seton Hall, while the women dropped a close 1-0 game to a very good Long Beach State team.

The men’s lone goal came off a first half wonder goal from Jordan Shankle. A scramble for a loose ball about eight yards outside of the box fell nicely to the senior who smacked it on the half volley and gently kissed the ball off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

“We didn’t have a particularly great second half but we did a lot, and I’m proud of our guys for hanging on and getting a result in a local rivalry,” Head Coach Dr. Dave Masur told RedStormSports after the game.

Much like the other Red Storm wins this season, it was primarily based off defense. The Andrew Withers-led defense held the Pirates scoreless for the team’s fourth shutout in seven games. Withers’ performance at the weekend garnered him a spot in the Big Eat Weekly Honor Roll released yesterday.

Withers now has a goals against average of just .42, and an absurd save percentage of .893.

A very physical but clean game turned ugly with about ten minutes to go when a scuffle resulted in Seton Hall’s Nick Najera and Spence Burkhardt getting red cards leaving the team two men down.

The team knows that any type of result on the road in conference play is sufficient. The team is now unbeaten in their last four games, and on a three game win streak. After a very slow start to the season, the Johnnies are hitting their stride at the perfect time.

On Sunday at Belson, the women’s game also ended 1-0, but it was the visiting Long Beach State 49ers who left the east coast with the win.

Much like the game last week at Boston College, a late breakthrough for the Red Storm was denied as Maia Cabrera’s header that seemed destined to equalize was blocked in front of the net.

The visiting Beach got their breakthrough in the 34th minute when Rocio Rodriguez tapped in a good cross from Kayla Cannon. Rodriguez is one of nine different scorers for the Long Beach State team this year.

The goal came against the run of play after St. John’s got off to a hot start. Christina Bellero, who hasn’t scored since the Lehigh game, looked to get the Johnnies off and running early, but her the Long Beach State defense held tough against the team’s impressive front line.

Antonia Tammaro made another start in net, and her first career home start, and made five saves on the night, including two big saves in the middle of the second half to keep the team in the game.

The men’s team now improves to 4-2-1, while the women fall to 4-4-1.

The men look to build the momentum in conference play at home on Saturday against Xavier. That game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

The women open conference play on Sunday at Georgetown. That game is set to kick at 1 p.m. and can be seen on the Big East Digital Network.