Johnnies Blank Bearcats

The No. 12 St. John’s men’s soccer team came away with a 3-0 victory on Saturday, freezing a red-hot Cincinnati squad on a windy night in Queens.

The Bearcats (5-5-3, 2-2-1) came to Belson Stadium undefeated in their last six games, the longest undefeated streak in team history.

“It was a good, resilient effort, and I think that’s the way it needs to be,” said St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur. “The Big East is tough, I think Cincinnati has a great team.”

After missing several opportunities on crosses in the first half, the Red Storm (8-1-4, 2-1-1) broke the tie just two minutes into the second half.

A defender tripped freshman Sean Sepe in the penalty box, leading to a Jack Bennett penalty kick. Bennett stroked the ball into the right corner of the net, giving the Johnnies a 1-0 lead.

“Normally I go to my left, so they sort of picked up on it,” said Bennett. “I was set to go across my body this time and I tried to give the goalie the eyes, so I just stayed calm and put the ball in the back of the net.”

Then, in the 62nd minute, freshman Jelani Williams scored on a series of artful touches, and finally an assist on a heel pass from Sepe that left the ball sitting in the center of the box for Williams to strike.

“It was just a combination of things,” said Williams, referring to how such a clinical goal comes to be. “We practice two-touch all week, pretty much all the time. Sepe made a brilliant run so I just laid it into his feet. He just stopped it and it was there for a one-time shot.”

With the game seeming out of reach for Cincinatti, the tension rose physically between players, and a shoving match between the teams escalated matters in the 84th minute. Three total yellow cards, two to the Johnnies, were given in the game.

“I think we have to be extra tough,” said Dr. Masur. “We’re a little bit small, as we all know, but there’s got to be some toughness inside of us to compete and fight on a higher level.”

But Masur’s men let their play do the talking, and a third goal on a header by Queens native Danny Bedoya in the 85th minute was the dagger in this home victory.

The Red Storm travel to Louisville on Saturday, and will try to build on a four-game undefeated streak.