Johnnies win home opener at Belson

Nick McCreven, Contributing Writer

In their first home match of the 2016 regular season, the St. John’s men’s soccer team came away with a 2-0 victory against Saint Peter’s at Belson Stadium. Michael Bernardi and Andrew Withers shared time in the net, while Alistair Johnston and Harry Cooksley each scored their first St. John’s goals in the Red Storm win over the Peacocks.

“It was an exciting win for the team,” head coach Dr. Dave Masur said following the game. “We had a really young team out there, so it was great to see us actually control the game and do really well. I thought we lacked a little bit of quality in the second half; we need to have a little more quality to put them away.”

The first goal, headed in by Johnston from a cross by Ludvik Benco, was scored in the 28th minute to give the Johnnies an early lead. The second goal, scored by Cooksley and assisted by Mike Prosuk, padded the lead in the very last minute of the match.

St. John’s dominated the action as they took twelve more shots and three more corner kicks than Saint Peter’s. Saint Peter’s goalkeeper Jamie Cleland registered five saves.

Meanwhile the Red Storm’s goalkeeper Michael Bernardi saved two shots while splitting playing time in the net with Andrew Withers, who stopped one shot himself.

St. John’s played a young, inexperienced lineup in this match against the athletic and skilled Peacocks, making the Red Storm’s first victory of the season all the more impressive. Four of the five players (Johnston, Thomas Mickoski, Wilhelm Nilsson, Jordan Shankle and Simon Tchoukriel) that logged all 90 minutes of the game were playing in just their second St. John’s game. The starters consisted of six freshmen, three sophomores, a junior who is new to Division I, and a graduate student.

Withers and Bernardi, along with the rest of the Johnnies defense, were terrific as they have let up only one goal in two regular season games.

St. John’s will try to extend their success on a short two game road trip before they return home next Sunday to take on Holy Cross at Belson Stadium.