Men’s Soccer: SJU falls short of Big East berth

Troy Mauriello, Assistant Sports Editor

Believe it or not, going into Thursday night’s game at Providence, the St. John’s men’s soccer team was still alive for a position in the Big East Tournament, which began this week.

Despite a weak 4-10-3 overall record on the year coming in, the young Johnnies conference record of 2-4-2 left them still holding on to some hope that they’d sneak into the Big East Tournament with a win and some help Thursday night.

However, that road win would be easier said than done for the Johnnies, who would suffer a 4-0 loss on Thursday night, effectively squashing their postseason hopes and ending their season.

Although it ended in a blowout, Thursday night’s game actually saw the Red Storm get off to a very positive start. In the 11th minute, the Johnnies leading scorer, freshman forward Mike Prosuk, had a one-on-one breakaway attempt denied by the Providence goalkeeper to keep their game scoreless.

St. John’s would continue to attack in the ensuing minutes; however, in the 31st minute, the Friars began what would turn into a scoring barrage. A nice cross into the box from Providence’s Julian Gressel led to an easy goal for Mac Steeves, who beat redshirt senior goalkeeper Jordan Stagmiller to make it 1-0 Providence.

Just nine minutes later, Gressel was at it again for the Friars. He found Alex Vigliotti open inside the 18-yard box, and Vigliotti was able to make a nice move and curl one into the back of the net to give Providence a 2-0 lead at halftime.

With their season on the line, the Johnnies had a chance to strike back right as the second half got going. Senior midfielder Luis Esteves was able to maneuver into a scoring position in the 47th minute; however, he wouldn’t be able to capitalize.

As the Red Storm continued to play catch-up throughout the second half, they were unable to create much offensively. St. John’s had just one shot in the second half and four total in the game.

With the Johnnies offense struggling, one final push by Providence would put the game out of reach. The Friars took a 3-0 lead on Vigliotti’s second goal of the game in the 79th minute, and just two minutes later they would add another goal to make it 4-0.

St. John’s wouldn’t threaten in the game’s final moments, as they were officially eliminated from Big East Tournament contention with a 4-0 loss.

“I thought we got off to a good start,” St. John’s head coach Dave Masur told “The two counter-attack goals we gave up towards the end of the first half really changed the game.”

With the loss, St. John’s ended their season with a 4-11-3 overall record and a 2-5-2 mark in Big East play, good enough for an eighth place finish that left them two spots out of the conference tournament.

With a group of talented newcomers that gained some much-needed experience, the Johnnies will look to build on this 2015 season and return to the top of the Big East in 2016.