The then-No. 12/9 St. John’s men’s soccer team battled back from being a goal down twice to defeat Big East opponent DePaul 4-2 on Oct. 21 to remain undefeated at Belson Stadium this season.
The Red Storm (10-4-2, 4-3-0) provided an impressive team display that saw four different goal scorers and six substitutes come on and contribute to the team’s victory.
“The guys who don’t usually get opportunities really stepped up,” said head coach Dave Masur. “It was nice to see those guys come into the team and step up and prove themselves. They improved our team greatly.”
The Johnnies had a rough start to the game after sophomore goalkeeper Rafael Diaz conceded a penalty and was injured in the same play just two minutes in. Diaz’s early exit forced freshman Jordan Stagmiller to take the goalkeeping duties for the remainder of the game.
According to Masur, Diaz injured his shoulder on the play.
The resulting penalty kick was converted by DePaul (5-9-2, 2-4-1) freshman forward David Selvaggi. It was Selvaggi’s seventh goal of the season.
Despite the Johnnies’ early setback they quickly asserted themselves and took control of the game’s possession. Their assertiveness was rewarded when senior midfielder Pablo Battuto Punyed curled a left-footed free kick around DePual’s wall and into the goal in the 24th minute. It was Punyed’s fourth goal on the season and his third in the last five games.
The equalizer did not cause any complacency in the Johnnies attack as they continued to threaten DePaul’s defense.
But in the 39th minute, DePaul was awarded a corner kick. St. John’s was unable to clear, and the Blue Demons crossed the ball back into the
penalty area where DePaul’s senior defender John Jandl headed past Stagmiller.
“We got back in the game and scored a good goal,” said senior defender Bjorn de Hoop. “But then there was a poor clearance on my part. So we’re behind again and we [had] to come back.”
The start of the second half saw a number of changes in the St.John’s lineup.
Most notably, senior Ido Ligety came on for freshman defender Tim Parker at right back and junior midfielder Juan Andres Agular Dorante came on for Punyed in the center of midfield.
“I knew Tim [Parker] was sick,” said Ligety. “I knew if someone had to sub in for him, it’d be me. Coach talked to me before the game, as well. He told me to be ready.”
Ligety made an immediate impact and tied the game for the Johnnies in the 54th minute. He received the ball on the right flank and curled in a cross that ended up past DePaul keeper Eric Sorby’s outstretched hands and into the far post of the goal.
“Yeah, I meant to cross it,” Ligety laughed. “I didn’t mean to shoot it.”
Parker nearly converted the same type of cross-turned-shot at the end of the first half, but his attempt hit the crossbar.
In the 65th minute, just 10 minutes after Ligety’s goal, junior midfielder Jack Bennett earned the Johnnies a penalty. Senior forward Walter Hines played a low cross to Benentt in the middle of DePaul’s 18-yard box, where a DePaul defender brought him down.
de Hoop stepped up to the penalty spot and sent the DePaul keeper the wrong way while slotting the ball into the middle of the net.
Hines added an insurance goal for the Johnnies in the 80th minute when he curled the ball into the upper right hand corner of the net from just outside the 18-yard box.