Johnnies on the Spot

Johnnies on the Spot

The St. John’s women’s soccer team outlasted Columbia 1-0 in a physical contest at Belson Stadium on Sept. 4 in the NYC Classic.


Fifth-year senior Anna Torregiano’s first career goal on a penalty kick in the 51st minute proved to be the difference in a match that saw two yellow cards, 14 fouls and three injuries.


“Columbia worked hard and made it ugly,” said head coach Ian Stone. “They’re a big, physical team so we had to be prepared to fight.”


Torregiano played an instrumental role in the build-up to the penalty. She lobbed a through ball  that split two defenders and found sophomore winger Jen Gibbons, who was tripped up in the penalty area.


After the referee pointed to the middle of thebox to award St. John’s a penalty kick, Torregiano stepped up and calmly put her spot kick to the left of Columbia’s motionless keeper Lillian Klein.


“[It] feels great,” Torregiano, who was celebrating her 22nd birthday, said. “I just had to relax and pick my spot.”


The goal came when St. John’s had only begun to make an impact after Columbia dictated the pace for most of the first half.

“We wanted to play our game and keep possession, but we weren’t totally sharp right away,” said Stone.


Columbia lined up in a slightly unorthodox 3-4-3 formation, and their trio of forwards caused problems for the St. John’s backline in the first half.


Columbia winger Ashley Yahr was especially active in the first half. She whipped in several dangerous crosses, including one in the 15th minute that found forward Marissa Schultz. Schultz initially beat St. John’s senior center-back Megan Klement, but Klement recovered and blocked Schultz’ shot.


Yahr was also involved in the best chance for either team in the first half. In the 26th minute, she latched onto the end of a long ball into the box. Her close range shot from the edge of the six-yard box was straight at the onrushing St. John’s keeper, senior Kristin Russell.


The second half was a different story. After the Red Storm took the lead, they continued to press forward in search of a second.


Junior midfielder Runa Stefansdottir created numerous opportunities for the Johnnies in the second half. In the 59th minute, she lost her defender on the left flank and curled a cross into the box. It went all the way to right midfielder Raelynne Lee, who lofted a ball back into the box for freshman Deanna Murino. Her volley beat the keeper, but was just wide.


Stefansdottir created another chance just three minutes later. Her early ball found senior forward Jen Leaverton, who tried to head over the charging Klein. Klein saved it, but spilled a rebound to which Murino nearly beat her.


“We always want to go wide. On Friday it was Gibbons [on the right], and today Runa did a really good job [on the left],” said Stone. “We want to stretch the defense as wide as possible.”


Columbia was unable to create many clear-cut chances in the second half until the very end. As the clock ticked down, there was a scramble in the box in St. John’s end. Columbia midfielder Torie Goode got on the end of it, but her shot, saved by senior goalkeeper Kristin Russell, was after time expired.


Three Columbia players had to be helped off the field during the game. Midfielder Liz Wicks suffered an ankle injury just 48 seconds into the first half, while defender Shannon Fitzpatrick lasted just 10 minutes before she was suffered a head injury in a collision with St. John’s sophomore midfielder Amy Marron. Columbia midfielder Lindsay Mushett also picked up a knock 12 seconds into the second half.


St. John’s moved to 3-2-1 with the victory. They finished second in the NYC Classic, losing out to Hofstra on  goal


The 2-1 week also saw them move into 10th in the NSCAA Northeast Regional poll.


They return to action at Belson Stadium on September 11 when they play Yale.