Storm stun No. 15 Scarlet Knights
It was a game of firsts Friday night for the St. John’s women’s soccer team at Belson Stadium.
Junior defender Courtney Lane scored her first career St. John’s goal to lead the Red Storm to a 1-0 victory over Big East rival in No. 15 Rutgers.
Also, freshman goalkeeper Kristin Russell became the first keeper in St. John’s history to post nine single-season shutouts, breaking the previous number of eight set by Jaime Beran in 2006.
“I’m very excited,” Russell said. “But I have to credit my defense, without them this wouldn’t be possible.”
“It’s amazing,” head coach Ian Stone said. “You have to credit the whole team; they’ve shown so much composure and maturity.”
Russell’s play gave the Red Storm just enough time to get their offense in gear and help them stun the Scarlet Knights.
In the 55th minute Red Storm midfielder Sarah McGrath carried the ball on the right side of the field and crossed it to Lane who was making her way up the field. Lane took her space and then fired a left-footed shot from about thirty yards away and buried it in the upper right hand side of the net.
“I came out of the back and shot the ball as hard possible,” Lane said. “I shoot in practice a lot. Coach is always saying do it in the game.”
The Red Storm goal was the first Rutgers has allowed in 454 minutes and only the eighth Rutgers keeper Erin Guthrie has allowed all season. McGrath’s assist was her third of the season and fourth of her career.
“We are a great group of girls,” Lane said. “We are very close and we are going to keep fighting, we are proving how great we are.”
Each team recorded six shots but St. John’s (6-4-4, 2-3-2) had three shots on goal compared to Rutgers’ (10-4-4, 5-2-1) one.
Rutgers controlled the ball for most of the first half keeping the pressure on the Red Storm, but didn’t come away with any legitimate scoring opportunities. St. John’s came out in the second half playing with obvious desire and was led by the creation of McGrath and aggression of Brittany Cavarra, who posted two shots in the first 20 minutes.
This was the first time this St. John’s senior class has beaten the Scarlet Knights, avenging their penalty kick shootout loss in last year’s Big East Tournament.
“The first half was very similar to the one we played against them from last year,” Stone said. “I told the girls this game was here for the taking, we did a fantastic job in the second half.”
“We wanted revenge from last year,” Lane said.
Once again the Red Storm defense was outstanding, limiting an athletic and aggressive Rutgers attack to one shot on goal. The only shot on goal was saved easily by Russell, something she’s been doing all year long.
“She [Russell] doesn’t play like a freshman,” Lane said. “I’m very comfortable with her behind me.”
St. John’s will take the field again on Sunday against Seton Hall at Belson Stadium.