Freshman Connors’ Goal Snaps Losing Streak

It’s been rough offensively for the St. John’s women’s soccer team so far this season, but they found a way to win against Stony Brook on Thursday.

After scoring just two goals over the course of a four-game losing streak, the Red Storm (4-5) returned to Belson and broke through after several chances on a goal by freshman Shea Connors in the 78th minute to down the SeaWolves (2-6) 1-0.

“It feels good to finally break though because even like the first half we had so much momentum,” said Connors. “I was so surprised we didn’t get a goal in, but I knew it was coming because the opportunities were endless. We were literally going at ’em and at ’em and ’em.”

St. John’s dominated much of the game as they outshot Stony Brook 18-8 and allowed just two shots on goal, both saved by keeper Diana Poulin. Star forward Rachel Daly generated St. John’s three best chances in the first half despite playing just 50 minutes after coming off the bench.

“I think we had to get back to what we’re good at, which is possessing the ball; we did that much better today,” said head coach Ian Stone. “I thought it was a type of game where it was a matter of time before we did score, and now what’s great for me is the fact that we’ve got Shea stepping up and scoring goals as well, which kind of takes little bit of the pressure off Rachel.”

But still, the aggressive offensive play and dominance on possession weren’t enough as the game remained scoreless late until Connors took a breakaway pass from Allie Moar and booted it past keeper Ashley Castaino for the eventual game-winner in the 78th minute.

“Allie was coming through the midfield and I got really wide because I was thinking she was going to put it at my feet,” said Connors, “then all of the sudden I looked up and there was this space in behind and I just called for it and she just played the straight ball and went diagonally on it and I was hooking up to it in the play.”

The Red Storm has had trouble scoring all season and even more so in the previous four games. They lost at home to Brown before traveling 2,500 [w1] to No. 2 Florida State, UConn, and Dartmouth. They lost all four games by a combined score of 12-2, but just needed the one point in Thursday’s victory.

“I think today, what we’re trying to do as a team is get the ball down and play, like we’re creating our own ‘St. John’s style’, and that is to possess the ball and that comes from out the back,” said senior defender Georgia Kearney-Perry, who anchored a dominant St. John’s defense that helped dominate ball possession in the match.

It’s now do-or-die for the Red Storm as conference play begins Thursday, Sept. 25 at Xavier and then Sunday, Sept. 28 at Creighton.

“I think everyone involved in the program knows we needed that win tonight and that sets up nicely now,” Stone said. “It’s a different story now because the stakes are a little bit higher now for every Big East game. But I think absolutely tonight is a step in the right direction for us.”