Survive And Advance: Red Storm Move On To Third Round of the NCAA Tournament

The St. John’s Men’s Soccer team hosted former Big East opponent, Syracuse University, at Belson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 24, for the second round of the NCAA tournament. 

The Red Storm placed a national seed — no. 16 — in this tournament for the first time since 2011 on Monday, Nov. 18. Syracuse defeated the University of Rhode Island 3-2, in their first NCAA Tournament win since 2016. 

The first half of the game led the Johnnies hold  a 2-0 lead over Syracuse. Both teams played strong on offense and defense. 

Although the first half started off slow, there was tension in the air. Both teams had shots on net, but the first — scored by St. John’s — didn’t make it on the board until 19 minutes into the half. 

The first goal was scored by Brandon Knapp, with an assist by Sanoussi Sangary, making for Knapp’s fourth goal of the season.  For his performance both on and off the field this season, Knapp was honored with the CoSIDA Academic’s All-District First Team on Nov. 7. 

The second goal against Syracuse was scored by midfielder Skage Simonsen. Tani Oluwaseyi’s pass was good to Simonsen, who drilled it into the net with about nine  minutes left in the first half. 

Goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner had one save in net during the first half. St. John’s defense strongly held off the Orange. 

St. John’s kept their energy high coming into the second half. Luka Gavran took Hoffelner’s place in net. 

The crowd was on the edge of their seats when Syracuse’s Massimo Ferrin found the back of the net with 21 minutes left in the game. Ferrin had another shot on an open net with about 16 minutes left in the game. His shot went inches to the left of the net. 

Midfielder Matt Forster played well on defense for the Red Storm. Oluwaseyi carried the ball up the field to an open net with the hopes of  securing the Johnnies’ lead. He was stopped short by the Orange’s defense. 

Both teams fought until the end. Yet, the fast-paced Syracuse offense was no match for St. John’s defense. 

With a  2-1 win over Syracuse, St. John’s advances  to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Johnnies are one of the 16 teams left standing in this tournament. The Red Storm will face off against o. 1 Virginia next weekend.