“It feels great to be back,” Barsley said.
“I’ve worked really hard in getting my ankle back to where it needed to be.”
With Barsley anchoring the backline, the Red Storm extended their winning streak to four, defeating Columbia University on the road, 2-1.
“(Having her back) is huge,” head coach Ian Stone said. “She organizes things so well. She’s integral to our success. She understands the game so well and makes the defense so much better.”
The defender had been sidelined ever since she sprained her left ankle against USC Aug. 30. With the team mounting impressive wins over Indian and Syracuse, head coach Ian Stone took a conservative approach to bringing her back.
“It’s been kind of on-again and off-again the last couple of weeks of when she was going to come back,” Stone said. “She worked tremendously hard trying to keep in shape while nursing the injury.”
Before sending her in, Stone had Barsley jog for seven minutes to ensure there wasn’t any more aggravation in her ankle.
Once she joined her teammates in the 28th minute, there was no coming back.
The Red Storm drew first blood in the 34th minute after Amanda Pasciolla darted past two defenders and delivered a quick pass to Kaitlin Haas, who then kicked a line drive that ricocheted off a defender and into the vacant right side of the net.
The goal was Haas’ third in as many games.”As far as I’m concerned, she’s playing her best soccer of her St. John’s career right now,” Stone said after the Syracuse game Friday.
After halftime at the 53rd minute mark, however, Columbia’s Ashlin Yahr kneed in the equalizer.
“This is a tough place to come to,” Stone said. “They are a very good team. I’m happy not only with the win but also with the fact after they scored early in the second half we were able to keep our composure and then go back and get the win.”
It was only the 70th minute when St. John’s answered.
After Columbia goalkeeper Lillian Klein saved a shot by forward Jen Leaverton on the right corner of the net, the ball squirted out, and from six yards away from the vacant net, Duggan nailed the shot, clinching the win and her first career goal.
“It was unbelievable,” Duggan said. “It’s a once in a lifetime chance that the ball is at the six and there’s a wide open goal. It was unexpected. There was no one around me. The ball was coming at me at the perfect pace. All I had to do was lay it in the goal.”
“She can score goals,” Stone said. “She’s worked hard all season. She hasn’t always gotten the playing time she’s liked but that’s the mark of our team that people can step up when needed.”
With Barsley back at what she calls “85 percent”, St. John’s will host Connecticut Thursday night 7:00 p.m.
“It was good to settle back in again,” Barsley said.
“Obviously I want to perform better as the season goes on but it was a good day. We’ll be ready for Connecticut.”