A pair of goals from junior midfielder Jack Bennett lifted the No. 14/14 St. John’s men’s soccer team over No. 25/NR Iona College 2-0
The victory was the sixth straight shut-out for the Red Storm (5-1-1) and the fourth time Bennett has scored the game-winning goal this season.
“I’m over the moon” Bennett said about his success in his first season with the team. “I didn’t know what to expect coming over here and I just hope I can keep it up.”
The two teams played a very physical match with St. John’s recording 13 fouls (nine in the first half alone) and Iona getting six in both halves including a red card for midfielder Alvaro Torrecilla in the 74th minute.
Both teams went on the attack quickly in the first half. Pablo Battuto Punyed went first for St. John’s but his shot sailed high above the net. Franklin Castellanos of Iona tried for a shot in the 7th minute but was stopped by goalkeeper Rafael Diaz.
Diaz was tested in the 19th minute of the first half when Castellanos slipped by him in the box. Castellanos’ shot was cleared off the line by senior defender Connor Lade but went straight back to Iona’s Alvaro Torrecilla. He fired it back on goal but it was cleared again, this time by senior defender Ido Ligety.
“Iona’s a really good team and they were able to find a gap in the box,” Diaz said. He added “The defenders played really well back there and we were fortunate for them to make such a fantastic play,”
In the 35th minute sophomore midfielder Adrian L’esperance cleared past a defender on the right side and crossed the ball to the center of the box where Bennett headed it into the upper left corner of the goal.
“I saw Adrian on the right side of the field so I went into the box and I took a risk and it paid off in the end,” Bennett said.
In the second half Iona continued to pressure Diaz. A header in the 50th minute by Iona Tommy Martin was saved followed by a shot in the 59th by Ansger Otto.
St. John’s gained a man advantage when Torrecilla was sent off after being shown a red card in the 74th minute.
In the 82nd minute, senior defender Chris Lebo outran a defender and passed the ball to Bennett who put it in the net from 20 yards out for his second goal of the game and fifth of the season.
“It wasn’t really power it was more of the direction I put it in,” Bennett explained.
Bennett’s performance is the first multi-goal game for St. John’s men’s soccer since September 19th 2010 when John Tardy scored two goals against LIU.
The win wrapped up a four-game homestand for the Johnnies. They went 3-0-1 and outscored their opponents 6-0.
The Red Storm hit the road to face UConn on September 24th in their first Big East contest of the season.