The St. John’s men’s soccer team squared off with a pair of in-state rivals this past week, first earning a 2-2 draw Thursday against Hofstra in double overtime before falling 1-0 to Syracuse on Saturday night.
The Red Storm (0-3-1) sought their first victory of the young season on Thursday night in their home opener at Belson Stadium against the Hofstra Pride (1-1-2). In the first meeting between these schools since 1994, the Johnnies faced an early 2-0 deficit after Hofstra netted two goals within the first 13 minutes of action.
“It put a big damper on what was supposed to be a home opener getting off to a good start,” head coach Dave Masur said regarding the slow start. “Making some sloppy plays and undisciplined plays across the back line through midfield is not a good, effective way to start any game.”
But after going into the half still down 2-0, the Red Storm looked like a completely different team going forward. The comeback began when sophomore forward Dela Agbotse scored his first career goal from close range in the 47th minute, and continued when senior defender Tim Parker netted in a beautiful header in the 62nd minute to tie the game.
From that point on, each team would have multiple scoring chances in both regulation and overtime, but 110 minutes of action were not enough to declare a victor, as the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Despite not completing the comeback for a win, many Red Storm players were happy to at least pick up a crucial point in the game.
“With all the fans here tonight we couldn’t afford a loss, so we had to get some points out of it,” Parker said.
The Red Storm faced a quick turnaround and were back at it again Saturday night to take on rival Syracuse Orange (4-0). In front of a packed crowd and under overcast skies at Belson Stadium, the Johnnies again fell prey to a slow start after a defensive miscue led to an early Syracuse goal in the seventh minute.
From there the Orange would continue to dominate play in the first half, outshooting St. John’s 11 to 4 and earning eight corner kicks while the Red Storm would take just one.
Once again the Johnnies would come out much more energized in the second half, creating a flurry of scoring opportunities for themselves. But unlike Thursday night, they were unable to find the back of the net as the game ended 1-0 in favor of Syracuse.
“We’re still trying to fit in a lot of new pieces into our team, playing against a tough schedule; we certainly have to do better… but really along the line I thought it was our most complete performance, in particular in the second half,” Masur said after the loss.
The past week’s events leave the Red Storm winless through their first four games, as they now sit at 0-3-1 overall. They’ll travel to Princeton on Wednesday Sept. 10 in search of their first win before returning home on Sept. 13 to face Harvard.