Dwyer Double Downs Johnnies in Tampa Downpour

The No. 9/8 St. John’s men’s soccer team was defeated 3-2 by No. 17/14 USF  on a rainy Saturday night in  Big East play.


Bulls’ junior forward Dom Dwyer, who played at Tyler Junior College with St. John’s winger Jack Bennett last season, scored two goals, including a game-winning half-volley in the 72nd minute with the score deadlocked at 2-2.


The Red Storm (7-3-2, 1-2) got on the board early in the first half thanks to senior midfielder Pablo Punyed’s 13th minute strike from well outside the 18-yard box.


The lead would not last long, however. USF’s sophomore midfielder Paul Leston negated the early goal when he scored for the home team 11 minutes later with a low left-footed shot.


In the 34th minute, USF (7-2-2 , 2-0-1) took the lead through an individual effort from Dwyer. He collected a long ball from freshman midfielder Lucas Baldin and weaved through a pair of St. John’s defenders before beating sophomore keeper Rafael Diaz to make it 2-1 going into halftime.


Although the Johnnies ended the first 45 minutes down a goal, they outshot the Bulls 8-3 and put pressure on the USF back line. Because of this, St. John’s head coach Dave Masur was pleased with his team’s play early.


“They are a very good team,” he said. “We played very well in the first half.”


The start of the second half saw the Johnnies erase the Bulls’ lead with a 49th minute goal from senior forward Walter Hines, his third of the season.


“It was great,” said Masur about the quick second half start. “We put pressure on them. We had good chances at the end of the first half and it led to good momentum in the second half.”


But Dwyer and the Bulls responded again. Dwyer, the 2010 NJCAA National Player of the Year, scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season and proved to be a problem for the Johnnies’ defense throughout the entire night.


“He (Dwyer) is a physically gifted player with a good shot,” said Masur. “He has a sharp trigger and hits the ball hard.  We hoped we would have maintained him better.”


Although the Johnnies gave up three goals for only the second time this season, Masur was pleased with his defense’s performance.


“As a whole, they played really, really well,” he said. We just have to do better in counter attack situations. We have to prevent them through our positioning in midfield.”


Offensively, Masur expressed his desire to attack with more speed.


“We have to be a little sharper attacking the flanks,” he said. “We have to attack quicker and more precisely.”


Despite the rain, 877 fans showed up to see the official naming of the Bulls’ brand new Corbett Soccer Stadium.


“It was a good crowd,” said Masur. “It was a great field even though the rain caused some sloppiness.”


Masur’s men look to rebound from their defeat when they travel to face Big East opponent Syracuse on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.