The No. 18/11 St. John’s men’s soccer team lost their final regular season game of the season 1-0 on Saturday night in Cincinnati as the Bearcats celebrated their Senior Night. It was the Red Storm’s second straight 1-0 defeat.
Despite it being senior night, it was two freshmen that left their mark on the game. Ashani Walker scored the lone goal of the game in the 23rd minute for Cincinnati (6-11-1, 2-7-0) off an assist from fellow freshman Cole DeNormandle. It was Walker’s first career goal.
The Red Storm (10-6-2, 4-5-0) were without their regular starting goalkeeper Rafael Diaz. He was out due to an injury he suffered in last weekend’s victory against DePaul, which will keep him out of next week’s Big East tournament
“Rafael is not going to be ready,” said St. John’s head coach Dave Masur. “He has a bad shoulder.”
Diaz’s substitute, redshirt sophomore Alex Naples, racked up four saves in his fourth appearance on the season.
The Johnnies, who registered a total of 13 shots in the game, were unable to find a way past Cincinnati’s goalkeeper Joey Barnard, who had seven saves on the night. However, Barnard received a great deal of help from his goal posts because Walter Hines, Jimmy Mulligan, and Pablo Battuto Punyed all hit the woodwork in the second half.
Despite the lack of goals in the Johnnies’ last two games, Masur believes that his team has the ability to bounce back and get onto the score sheet.
“We just have to be better at attacking the flanks, being a little more decisive in the attacking third, and seizing more opportunities when they come,” he said. “We just have to keep with it. Goals sometimes come in bunches, you know, as we scored four against DePaul last Saturday, so we just have to keep plugging away.”
Although the Johnnies are coming off two losses headed into the Big East Tournament, Masur believes that a few simple corrections will get them back on the right track
“We just have to stay concentrated, play a little sharper and a little faster, move the ball, and use the whole field when we attack,” he said.
Despite the Cincinnati loss, the Johnnies still earned the Red Division No. 3 seed for the Big East Tournament. They will play the No. 6 seed of the Blue Division in a home game on Nov. 2.