Women’s Soccer Rolls in Finale
The St. John’s women’s soccer team clinched a berth Big East Tournament with a 2-0 win over Syracuse in front of a crowd of 1,910 at Belson
Stadium on Oct. 20.
Senior forward Jen Leaverton scored both goals in her final home game to lead the Red Storm (9-8-1, 5-6-0).
“I was really proud of the way the girls stepped up,” said head coach Ian Stone. “Obviously it was a win and we’re in situations, lose and we’re done. I think it takes a lot because there is a lot of pressure on you to rise to the occasion and Syracuse is a very good team. I was so happy to get the result tonight.”
Leaverton scored her first goal in the ninth minute. Junior midfielder Runa Stefansdottir got the ball in the midfield and brought it to the left side before passing it to Leaverton. She drew out the Syracuse keeper Brittany Anghel and shot it past her for the goal to put the Red Strom on the board early.
“Me and Runa have really been understanding each other lately and I think it’s just a matter of knowing where she’s going to get the ball to me so I don’t really have to do much,” said Leaverton. “She’s going to put it where I want it.”
The Red Storm went into halftime leading the Orange 1-0. Just as the second half began, Leaverton netted another goal in the 47th minute to extend the lead to 2-0.
Again, Leaverton drew out the Syracuse goalkeeper Anghel to the top right side of the box and put it behind her on a shot set up by sophomore midfielder Michelle Murino.
“Coach really prepared us well for how they were going to play,” said Leaverton. “They have a really high defensive line and their goalie also stepped up really high so he had our girls on the outside and then we just practiced breakaway after breakaway so it really, really paid off.”
The Johnnies were supported by a record-breaking attendance for women’s soccer.
“That was tremendous, I’m just so happy that everyone came out to support us,” said Stone. “The St. John’s community really got behind us and so did the local community. A lot of youth teams [were] here and it really, really made a huge difference. It was like a 12th player for us.
Added Leaverton, “I think the crowd was amazing. We’ve never had that many people here and it just really helped us keep the energy going the whole game.”
But the good news for the Red Storm kept coming as it was announced after the game that senior goalkeeper Kristen Russell, the all-time St. John’s leader in wins, shutouts and goals-against average, might be back for the Big East Tournament. She is currently sidelined with an injured foot that occurred on Sept. 25 against Georgetown.
“There is a chance,” said Stone. “Kristen is one of those kids that if there is any chance that she can play, she’s going to do that. Our athletic training staff is doing everything they can to try and get her ready.
“But Lauren Ferris stepped up big time tonight,” Stone added. “I mean she really blossomed. She showed a little inexperience in some of the early games she’s played but she was really a big time player for us tonight. The depth in this group just means someone else can step up and do the job.”
St. John’s now heads to South Orange, N.J. on Oct. 27 to play Seton Hall in the first round of the Big East Tournament.