Youth and inexperience were prevalent this weekend for the St. John’s men’s soccer team, as they dropped two straight games against local rivals Princeton and Hofstra.
The Red Storm started four freshmen on Friday night against Princeton; however, it was a veteran, junior forward Dela Agbotse, who got them on the board for the first time this season in the 41st minute.
After a beautiful cross from true freshman Filippo Ricupati, Agbotse, who came off the bench earlier in the half, was able to easily find the back of the net and give the Johnnies a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
However, the second half would not be as kind to St. John’s. After goalkeeper Jordan Stagmiller was forced to make a few nice saves to begin the half, he would finally be beaten on a corner kick in the 70th minute to level the score at 1-1.
Then, just 17 minutes later, the Tigers would use another corner kick to take the lead. It was Thomas Sanner of Princeton who would corral the eventual game-winner off a corner and beat Stagmiller for the goal. St. John’s was not able to respond in the game’s closing moments and fell 2-1 to Princeton.
“Princeton’s a good team and we played very well for the first half, and into the second half,” head coach Dave Masur said after the match. “I don’t think physically our younger players and our new players know the intensity of college soccer, and what it’s going to take to win.”
The Johnnies were right back in action on Sunday night against Hofstra for their fourth game in 10 days. The Red Storm, again, came out of the gate strong against the Pride, as they had four scoring chances in the first 22 minutes of the game, but, again, could not capitalize on any of them.
Hofstra, on the other hand, was able to make the most out of one of their first chances of the game. Harri Hawkins was able to bury an open shot from inside the box in the 28th minute to give the Pride a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Almost immediately as the second half got going, the Pride would extend their advantage. This time it was Meshack Eshun Addy who went upper 90 for a world-class goal in the 47th minute to make it 2-0.
After Eshun Addy’s fantastic goal, St. John’s had a few decent chances to get on the board, but none of them came to fruition. They were shut out for the third time in their first four games and fell to Hofstra 2-0.
“It’s a game of making sure that everything goes right,” said Masur. “We had a couple breakdowns, and they capitalized on those situations.”
“We have to just keep practicing, training and we’re going to eventually get together going forward,” Agbotse said.
St. John’s will next take on Denver Saturday night at Belson Stadium.