Johnnies, Hoosiers Play to Scoreless Draw in Top-15 Showdown

The No. 14/14 St. John’s men’s soccer team played No. 9/7 Indiana to a scoreless draw Friday in front of 2,077 fans at Belson Stadium.

It was the fifth consecutive shutout for the Red Storm (4-1-1), and the first time in five games that Indiana (4-0-2) was held without a goal.

The Johnnies were the aggressors for most of the night, outshooting Indiana 18-6.

It was the third top-ten team that St. John’s has played this season. They lost to then-No. 4 Maryland, 3-0, and beat then-No. 8 William & Mary 3-0.

The Hoosiers started the first half with most of the possession, but were unable to test St. John’s keeper Rafael Diaz.

Indiana didn’t record a shot until the 74th minute, and only managed to test sophomore keeper Rafael Diaz three times all game.

“It’s one of the philosophies of (head) coach (Dave) Masur,” said  senior midfielder Pablo Battuto Punyed. “Grinding in, defense first, defense first. Allow no goals, no shots and it shows in our game.”

The first chance for either team came in the 24th minute. Senior forward Walter Hines made a solo run down the right flank. After a few stopovers and dribble moves, he crossed for junior midfielder Jack Bennett. Bennett got on the end of it, but his right-footed shot went wide and hit the side-netting.

Three minutes later, Bennett got another chance. An attempted back-pass went awry and Bennett tracked it down behind the defense. After getting the ball on his left foot, his shot was blocked by the Indiana defense. Hines’ follow-up volley went high.

Indiana put in two chances on both sides of the end of regulation. Indiana forward A.J. Torrado put a shot on goal as time expired after a scramble in the penalty box. It was saved comfortably by Diaz. He put another on target just after the restart in the first overtime, which forced Diaz to push it out for a corner.

Hines almost single-handedly won the game in the 109th minute. He took on three defenders in the box, turning tightly onto his left foot. He managed to get a shot off, but it was straight at Indiana keeper Luis Soffner.

There was some controversy as the game came to an end. Sophomore forward Jimmy Mulligan was taken down in the box in the closing seconds of the game by an Indiana defender, but appeals for a penalty for turned down.

“It was questionable,” said Punyed. “But at the end of the day, there were ten seconds left. We’re not going to get the penalty.”

St. John’s wraps up its homestand against No.25/NR Iona on Sept. 18 at Belson Stadium.