Season nearing closer for Masur and Co.


Athletic Communications

The Johnnies will look to qualify for their third-straight NCAA tournament.

Soccer is back at St. John’s – which means nights under the lights at Belson and renditions of “New York, New York” being belted out by the pep band.

The Red Storm have notched two preseason wins in as many games – a 1-0 home victory over Boston University and an eye-catching 2-0 win against preseason No. 2 Maryland at College Park.

“We played against a good opponent [Maryland],” St. John’s head coach Dave Masur said. “We got some goals to fall in for us, which was good. But I think most importantly, we have to take a lot of the things we didn’t do well in the games forward.”

Masur’s insistence on highlighting his team’s inconsistencies rather than triumphs come as no surprise, as he has led the program to eight NCAA tournament appearances in the past decade.

“We need to improve on our communication coming out of the back and make sure we’re closing spaces well,” Masur said. “In the attacking half of the group, we have to become a little stronger, a little more able to dictate the tempo and pace of the game.”

While Masur patrols the sidelines, he has a core group of upperclassmen to lead the Red Storm on the field.

“We’ve got a great group of guys,” Masur said. “Kids who have been with the program a long time. Jimmy Mulligan jumps out as a guy who’s been instrumental on and off the field as a leader.”

The team hasn’t made an official announcement on captains just yet, but Masur listed the senior Medford-native Mulligan, as well as senior goaltender Rafael Diaz and junior defender Tim Parker as players who will fill that role. Despite the leadership that the
Johnnies have in its trio of leaders, last season saw rise to a wealth of underclassmen that were keen to make their mark at Belson.

The young up and comers forced Masur to rotate the squad a great deal last season.

“We’re going to look to see who is consistently ready to perform,” Masur said. “We need guys that can step up and give us consistency.”

The Red Storm will play its first regular season game on Friday when NJIT comes to town.

“Hopefully we’ll get a lot of students at the game,” Masur said. “They act as our 12th man.”