St. John’s began conference play with a loss and ended non-conference play with a win this week, each match ending in the same exact fashion.
On Saturday, the Red Storm dropped a 1-0 decision against Xavier in Cincinnati but won 1-0 on Tuesday at home against Fordham. Each goal was scored within the final five minutes of regulation.
Saturday’s match was the first for St. John’s (now 3-4-3) in conference play this season. Despite being outshot 12-6, the Red Storm managed to keep it scoreless until the waning moments until Xavier’s Matt Vasquenza broke the tie in the 85th minute, giving the Musketeers (6-3) the win.
“Typical of BIG EAST competition, this was a tightly-contested game,” head coach Dave Masur told RedStormSports.com “These [conference] games are decided by such a small margin and you need to be able to capitalize on the opportunities that you have. Hopefully, this result teaches our guys some things about what it takes to win on the road in this conference.”
The loss ended a four-game unbeaten streak for St. John’s. Despite the loss, keeper Jordan Stagmiller recorded a career high six saves, only relenting on an unfortunate ricchot that Xavier’s Vasquenza cleaned up for the game-winner.
“I think it’s more consistency, more discipline in our approach,” Masur said. “More movement of the ball quicker, more awareness, more trust in each other as we begin to build forward.”
Tuesday’s match was a complete reversal of fortune. The Red Storm outshot the Fordham Rams 17 to 8, but still had trouble putting the ball in goal.
“Just being in good starting spots when we lose the ball,” said senior defender Tim Parker. “That requires us to be disciplined and sitting in good spots, this way we’re preventing counterattacks, just not losing the ball in bad places on the field.”
Parker led a solid St. John’s defense that let up just four shots on goal. Finally, the Red Storm broke through in the 87th minute as Gabriel Camara knocked Daniel Herrera’s corner kick in on a header.
“It was just one of the plays that we’ve worked on in training, to try to swing a good ball in to land it around the PK spot and Gabe was able to get his head on it and put it in,” Herrera said.
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before they got a goal. They put 10 shots on goal, a season high. Jordan Stagmiller also picked up his second shutout of the regular season. He’s also allowed just five goals in the last seven games.
Tuesday’s win was the final non-conference match of the year, as the Big East awaits St. John’s. Their next match is on Saturday at home against Butler.
“The conference is going to be very tough,” Coach Masur said. “Everybody’s desperate, there’s a lot at stake and we’re going to have to come out with an incredible amount of energy, passion, smarts, and toughness to win the game.”
“Obviously, we’re going to be really focused,” Parker said. “The Big East has been our prime objective since the beginning of the year. We want to do well, especially back here at home on Saturday, so we’re expecting a lot of ourselves.”