The St. John’s women’s soccer team’s hopes of qualifying for the Big East tournament took a blow on Oct. 16 when they fell 3-2 on Senior Day to USF.
Sophomore forward Sharla Passariello scored two goals for the Bulls (6-7-4, 2-5-3) including the game winner in the 79th minute. Both goals for Passariello came on one- on-ones with St. John’s goalkeeper Lauren Ferris.
USF senior goalkeeper Nicole McClure had a hard time in front of the net as the Red Storm were on attack. McClure had 12 saves on 23 shots.
“I thought we played really well,” said head coach Ian Stone. “I have to give a lot of credit to the other team. I thought they played phenomenal they have some great players. You know that goalkeeper had a fantastic game with some of the saves she pulled off. You know sometimes you’re going to run into a hot goalkeeper and it was just unfortunate today on Senior Day.”
The Johnnies got out to the early lead when freshman midfielder Chelsey Martino rebounded her own shot off the crossbar to put it past McClure and give St. John’s the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
The teams went into halftime tied at one apiece after Passariello’s first goal.
In the 63rd minute, USF was awarded a penalty kick after a foul inside the box. Noel Pineiro scored the goal after faking out Ferris on the kick to give USF a 2-1 lead.
“The referee said that our central defender kind of dived in a little bit and brought the player down,” said Stone. “I couldn’t really see from where I was but we have to be a little more patient in the penalty area and not give away fouls there,”
Senior forward Jen Leaverton tied the game back up in the 77th minute. On the left side of the box Leaverton waited and got a pass from senior midfielder Raelynne Lee for a one-timer past McClure.
But only two minutes later, Passariello scored the game winner for USF after drawing Ferris out of her net and putting it behind her for the score.
The Red Storm were honoring their seven seniors who will be graduating in the spring. In a pregame presentation, Leaverton, Lee, Kristen Russell, Lindsey Hall, Megan Klement, Runa Stefansdottir and Anna Torregiano were all given flowers and presented to the fans and their family.
“Between the group of seven of them they’re just fantastic people and their just so well rounded,” said Stone. “Obviously you have the great soccer players of the group, the great students in the group, you got the people that do a fantastic job as leaders with community service and I just can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for our program because they’re just fantastic human beings.”
The Red Storm (8-8-1, 4-6-0) are now under pressure in their final game of the season when they take on Syracuse on Oct. 21 at Belson Stadium. The Johnnies must at least draw with Syracuse to ensure qualification for the Big East Tournament.
“Syracuse is a great team. They’ve already qualified for the Big East Tournament. We have to find a way to rise to the occasion,” said Stone.
“We’d love to get a big crowd here cheering us on because it is our last opportunity to go to the tournament. Syracuse is good but hopefully the St. John’s community gets behind us a little bit and comes out here and cheers us on.”