After earning the top spot in the national rankings, St. John’s proved that not only was it a wise choice, but that they’re also quite comfortable as the country’s best squad.
The Red Storm (8-1-2) picked up a 4-0 win over Old Dominion (5-4) and a 0-0 tie with UCLA (5-1-2) while participating in the Rutgers Classic this past weekend.
In the first round of the tournament on Oct. 4, Old Dominion proved to be St. John’s equal, but only for a half.
Chris Corcoran took a pass from Matia Damiani and beat Old Dominion keeper Samuel Cameron with 45 seconds left in the first half, and the Johnnies had a 1-0 halftime lead.
The Red Storm would then score three goals in a 14-minute span in the second half to blow the match wide open.
Angel Rodriguez picked up a deflection off a shot by Alberto Duenas and rocketed one inside the near post from 17 yards out.
Two minutes later, Simone Salinno chipped a shot past Cameron for a 3-0 advantage.
Then, with 25 minutes remaining, Rich Bradley took a pass from Rodriguez and deposited the ball in the empty net to provide the final margin of victory.
“Soccer’s a funny game,” said St. John’s Head Coach Dave Masur. “Sometimes you can give up a couple goals one day and then maybe none the next. You just have to keep working on those little details.”
The Monarchs best scoring chance came when Attila Vendegh’s direct kick from 20 yards out made its way past the St. John’s wall, but was stopped by SJU goalie Bill Gaudette.
The Red Storm outshot ODU, 20-7, and had seven corner kicks to the Monarchs’ one.
In the second game on Oct. 6, the Johnnies faced a much tougher opponent – ninth-ranked UCLA.
Both teams were evenly matched in the first half, but St. John’s caught a break in the second session when the Bruins’ Aaron Lopez was ejected from the game after receiving a red card.
Despite playing with an extra player, the Red Storm could not capitalize and settled for the 0-0 draw.
“I think UCLA was a little bit tired and they were sitting in anyway,” Masur said. “They’re a very dangerous team.
“We kept pressing and tried to get the go-ahead goal and when we went up a man they packed it in even more.”
UCLA had the first scoring chance of the game, but Gaudette stopped Matt Taylor’s shot from 18 yards out.
The Red Storm quickly countered in the 17th minute when Jeff Carroll sent a ball to Damiani, but his header went wide.
Lopez was sent off in the 62nd minute after elbowing Bradley in the head while they were going for a 50-50 ball.
Six minutes later, Corcoran blasted a shot that was stopped by UCLA goalie Zach Wells.
Wells made key stops in the final 11 minutes on chances by Bradley, Rodriguez and Jean Camere to keep the game in a scoreless tie.
The Red Storm continue to keep opponents off the scoreboard. The defense recorded its fourth straight shutout and ninth on the season.
St. John’s has not allowed a goal in over 450 minutes and has allowed only one goal in the last 900 minutes.
The team has seen only three goals scored against them in 11 games this season.