The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Enter San Man

College sports tend to follow a cycle: players enter the school, they are groomed in practice and garbage time to eventually be stars, and they shine as upperclassmen. Then they leave and a new group comes in, and the process starts all over again.

But what if the new players went directly from Move In Day to the start of conference play? What if the cycle is broken?

Obviously, that’s where precocious talent generally comes into play, where you get the John Walls and Kevin Durants, the ones who win Player of the Year awards just as quickly as the ink on their SAT scores dry.

But for others, the process is a little more arduous, and not all sports lend themselves to individual players rising above the rest and changing the course of a team’s season.

That brings us to the St. John’s women’s soccer team and its inability to score.

Two years ago, when I was a freshman, the women’s soccer team was inexperienced and struggled to score goals over a large portion of the season. Fast forward to the next season, when a senior-laden team—one who had battled through the adversities of gaining experience—was the first in program history to reach the NCAA tournament. 

That team had 16 seniors, and they’re gone now.

They were replaced by 17 freshmen, freshmen who have been thrown into intense Division I soccer earlier than expected, freshmen who have started the cycle all over again.

Except now the cycle has changed. The freshmen have had to mature on the job, and that process has been met with strife. Through 10 games this season, the women’s soccer team has scored just six goals, and it is easy to see the parallel

between the 2010 team and its 2008 predecessor. Though the team has only allowed eight goals, you can’t win if you can’t score.

And in conference play, that is exactly what’s happened so far. The Red Storm are off to a 1-2 start, and an impressive 2-1 road win at Connecticut notwithstanding, it appears as though the team is going through the growing pains that come with young players thrust into big positions.

Though the opportunities were present Sunday against Providence—both teams were about even in shots on goal, with

the Friars landing five and St. John’s four—the Red Storm’s veteran offensive threats, Jen Leaverton and Nicole Pasciola, couldn’t hit the equalizer.

If veteran players can’t find ways to score, that responsibility falls on the younger players. And in Division I soccer, in the Big East conference, that responsibility may as well be like taking the world off Atlas’ shoulders.

Freshmen are still getting acclimated to the speed of the college game as well as their chemistry with teammates and coaches and the culture that makes up their school’s program. Imagine how overwhelming it must be when winning games and reaching the NCAA tournament for a second straight year is put before those other priorities.

Things may seem somewhat bleak now, but there is little reason to fret. There are still eight regular season games remaining, and scoring problems tend to be streaky problems. If the team goes on a scoring tear in the coming weeks, the maturation process will have been accelerated.

And the cycle will be back on track.

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