A second half penalty save was the only bright spot for the No. 19 St. John’s men’s soccer team Monday night in a 2-0 road loss to No. 20 Virginia.
Senior goalkeeper Rafael Diaz saved Virginia midfielder Tom Wharton’s penalty in the 47th minute after Rochester, NY native Jordan Allen was taken down in the box.
“It was a great save by Raf,” said St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur. “It was disappointing to give up a penalty, but Raf made a big save and it made a big deal.”
The Red Storm (1-1) were unable to threaten the Virginia defense for much of the game, only recording one shot on target.
“I think we need to be much more consistent in the attacking half of the field,” Masur said. “We need to be able to deal with really athletic teams. On the offensive side, I think Virginia gave us some trouble with their strength, speed and athleticism.”
Virginia scored it’s first in the 21st minute when midfielder Brian James slotted the ball home from close range after pouncing onto the rebound of a long distance strike.
The Cavaliers went into halftime with the one-goal advantage.
The Red Storm’s best second half chance fell to Jimmy Mulligan in the 62nd minute, but his long range effort missed wide.
Masur’s men had two other opportunities to equalize in the second half through sophomore Jelani Williams and freshman Dela Agboste, but neither could capitalize.
The Red Storm would rue their missed opportunities when Virginia put the game away after Allen picked up the ball in midfield off a turnover, moved toward goal and finished past Diaz.
“We certainly need to be a much better team and more reliable for each other if we want to win these games on the road against big time opponents,” Masur said.
The Johnnies will take to the field again Friday when No. 8 Akron comes to Belson.