The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Women’s Soccer Looks to Rebound in Conference Play

St. John’s has won just one of its first four games in Big East action this fall
Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications
Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications

The St. John’s women’s soccer team has had a lot to live up to this season after a ridiculously productive two-year stretch from 2015–16.

But after an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015, the conclusion of record-setting alumnus Rachel Daly’s college career and an electric run to the conference semifinals last year, things haven’t looked so rosy for the red and white this fall.

After winning four of their first six matches, the Johnnies dropped four consecutive tilts by a goal each, keeping their defensive intensity at an elite level but failing to find the back of the net in three straight matches. They scored 10 goals through their first six contests before the dry spell, showing not only offensive ability, but a prolific propensity to find create chances.

St. John’s opened their season with a 3-3 draw in double overtime against La Salle. The match was broken up over the span of six hours due to inclement weather in the area, but the Johnnies still managed to score more goals in that game than they had through their first three Big East games.

Even after their slugfest against the Explorers, St. John’s still grabbed three of their first four wins with multiple goals.

The last time the team scored more than one goal was Sept. 8 against Loyola (Maryland), when Mikhalia Martinov pushed home the go-ahead tally in the 87th minute to complete a comeback effort.

The week-long break before the team’s conference opener gave the Red Storm a chance to hit the reset button, but their upset bid against nationally-ranked Georgetown ended in exhausting heartbreak, as the Hoyas found the net with less than 10 minutes to go and stole a 1-0 win at home.

“We knew Georgetown was a very good team so we had to really bring our ‘A’ game,” Stone said after the Red Storm’s thrilling 1-0 win over Creighton last Thursday night. “Every single game [in the Big East] is hard.”

That Creighton game finally shattered the lid that had apparently gone up across St. John’s net offensively, as Christina Bellero struck gold off of a beautiful feed in the sudden-death second overtime period.

The 1-0 victory lifted the Johnnies to .500 overall and 1-1 in the conference.

“Every game is a challenge,” Bellero said. “You’re always going to have to fight, you can’t take any games off … We all push each other and we all work hard together.”

St. John’s couldn’t get a winning streak up and running, though, losing to Marquette again by the score that has haunted them all season —  1-0.

The Golden Eagles’ leading scorer, Darian Powell, slid home a feed from Caroline Zink to take the lead. Marquette played 67 minutes of defense and held off a decent Red Storm attack that sent seven shots on goal. Maia Cabrera had the best chance at giving the Johnnies a boost when she was awarded a penalty kick in the 34th minute, but she sent her attempt high.

That was as close as the Red Storm would come to drawing even.

Now three games into conference play and sitting at 1-2, the Red Storm have a lot of work to do if they want to rise up to the dominant level that they have played at over the last several years. According to Stone, that will be no small task.

“I think we can maybe show a little more intensity,” Stone said. “We’re a technical team that passes the ball really well, but we need to be able to combine that with a little bit more aggression and physicality.”

Not all hope is lost for the Johnnies, though. Their defense is still top-notch, even as the slump in the offensive third has forced them to play without the ball more. And even though it’s already in the rearview mirror, that first conference win proved that the Red Storm may still have a lot to say in the Big East pecking order.

Last year, St. John’s started 1-1 with one tie in Big East play, so the squad is no stranger to recovering from sluggish starts to make headlines in the postseason.  

“Our goal is to try to make the Big East tournament,” Stone said. “It’s a fantastic conference, and so [opponents] are going to bring everything they can, especially when they play us here, at our gorgeous stadium. Make sure you’re prepared to battle, bring your hard hats and just fight.”

The Red Storm will begin a two-game road trip with a trip to Rhode Island to take on Providence on Oct. 5. After a bout with Butler, they return home to face Seton Hall on Oct. 14 as the second game of a doubleheader at Belson Stadium.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Dylan Hornik, Sports Editor Emeritus
Dylan Hornik is a senior journalism major and spent the last two years as a sports staff writer and Assistant Sports Editor for the Torch. He hoped to illuminate the rich history of St. John’s athletics while keeping readers up-to-date and informed on today’s sports teams, bringing together Johnnies from all walks of life. He has finished his undergrad years as of December 2017 and will be graduating in May.

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *