Stefandottir’s goal helps Storm butt Rams

With a roster of 17 freshmen and an offense that scored only one goal their last four games, the women’s soccer team needed someone to step up early in the season.

Sophomore Runa Stefandottir took on the challenge, scoring both game-winners in a pair of 1-0 defeats over Fordham University and the University of Rhode Island during the Hofstra Tournament over Labor Day weekend.

“She was outstanding,” head coach Ian Stone said. “She was kind of everything I hoped that she was going to be. She always had so much potential, with her great quickness and left foot. Everything clicked into play this weekend. It’s all a credit to her. She worked so hard over the summer and in practice.”

Due to her heroics, the Red Storm (3-2-1) went undefeated at the Hofstra Invitational and finished in second place, due to a tiebreaker of goals scored with Hofstra.

The midfielder, along with seniors Raelynne Lee and Nicole Pasciolla were named to the all-tournament team. During the 75th minute, freshman Jen Gibbons fed Stefandottir with a pass in front of the net. The sophomore then nailed the ball at the top right corner of the net.

Over the first half, Rhode Island (0-4-1) dominated possession of the ball, tallying seven shots. St. John’s goalkeeper Kristen Russell had a five-save day and extends her shutout streak to four games.

Against Fordham (3-1-0), Stefandottir scored during the 38th minute of play from a long diagonal pass from freshman forward Franciasca Okoko. The pair of goals marks Stefandottir’s third and fourth goals of her St. John’s career and her first game-winners.

“The opponents this weekend were very physical, good-sized opponents,” Stone said. “We always knew we could play and keep the ball on the ground, but we really had to grind out some wins this weekend. [The opponents] forced us to play intense, hard, by being physical. It’s something that certainly came out this weekend and something our kids needed.”

After losing against Michigan State and Texas A & M in Texas and then scoring only one goal against James Madison and tying against Virginia Commonwealth, Stone sees these pair of wins as very important.

“Everything is starting to come together nicely, starting to integrate the new players on the team,” Stone said. “Obviously the girls have been working really hard in practice. It’s more important form their point of view of their effort by winning these games.”

The past six games have shown Stone trait most young teams suffer from: inconsistency. Despite, what Stone calls the most talented freshman class in St. John’s history, he still doesn’t believe he’s seen 90 minutes of consistent play.

“I think we just have to remain consistent,” Stone said. “For me at the moment, we’re very good at being prepared for the game. But I still don’t think we’ve played a full 90 minutes yet in terms of being able to defend effectively and possess the ball effectively at the same time. We do it in spells but not the whole game. Heading into Big East play, we have got to do that.”

Stone looks for Stefandottir to emerge as a leader and a model of consistency for the young players.

“She has that potential to be a leader and our main scorer,” Stone said. “She will always be a threat because she’s just so fast and she has a tremendous left foot. I really do think she’s going to step up for the rest of the year. She basically won us both games this

weekend. She was extremely impressive this weekend and will hopefully maintain this high level of play.”