A tornado warning, high winds and heavy rain couldn’t stop the then No. 12 St. John’s men’s soccer team from recording its fourth straight victory against William & Mary Saturday night at Belson stadium.
A scorching effort from freshman Daniel Bedoya and a late first-half penalty from senior midfielder-turned-left-back Jack Bennett helped the Red Storm (5-0-1) head into a three-game road trip undefeated on the year.
Bedoya’s goal, which was the first of his collegiate career, came on in the 37th minute in the midst of a first half that was dominated by the Johnnies.
Besides controlling a heavy majority of possession and exhibiting a keen tactical knowledge, Masur’s men had a 13-3 first half advantage in shots.
After receiving the ball from junior midfielder Jamie Thomas, the freshman forward took one touch before unleashing a remarkable 30-yard, knuckling strike that left William & Mary (1-2-1) goalkeeper Bennett Jones flat-footed and helpless.
Bedoya yelped for joy and seemingly acknowledged a group of family members in the Belson stands.
The Johnnies second goal of the match came with just five seconds left in the first half after freshman midfielder Sean Sepe was taken down in the box after a blistering run downfield.
Bennett stepped up to the spot for the ensuing penalty and slotted the ball into the left corner of the net, sending the Red Storm into halftime with a deserved 2-0 lead.
However, the Johnnies took their foot off the pedal a bit when the second 45 minutes began, giving William & Mary a lifeline when sophomore Marcus Luster headed in senior Ben Anderson’s corner kick.
“In the second half, I don’t think we were on the mark,” explained Bennett. “We drifted away a bit and we weren’t focused enough.”
Luster’s goal added a hop to the step of William & Mary but even with a 10-5 second half lead in shots, the Virginia-based team could not find a way past Red Storm junior goalkeeper Rafael Diaz, who recorded three second half saves.
Despite the victory and impressive first half display, the Johnnies are wary of their faulty second half.
“Our second half performance,” said Bennett about what needs to improve. “Akron are going to be a great team and we’ve got to prepare well because that will be a tough challenge for us.
The Red Storm will travel to Akron, Ohio on Sept. 14 to take part in University of Akron Tournament where they will play No. 9 Akron and Butler.