Women’s Soccer Loses in First Round of Big East

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Red Storm knew the scouting assignments.

They knew how good West Virginia was, how there were almost no weaknesses in a team that had steamrolled its way to a 15-1-1 record.

“We had the whole week to prepare,” said captain Jen Taylor. “We went over everything we could have gone over. Coach went over the scouting reports a thousand times. We prepared really hard.”

But scouting reports alone couldn’t help St. John’s, who lost 4-0 to West Virginia in the Big East Quarterfinals Sunday afternoon at the Mountaineer Soccer Complex.

With the win, West Virginia runs its unbeaten streak to 17 games (16 wins) and will face Rutgers in the semifinals.

“It’s disappointing,” said senior co-captain Joanna Dawson, “but if everyone comes off the field saying they tried their hardest then there’s nothing more that we can ask for.”

The Red Storm (9-6-4) were able to hang with the nationally ranked No. 6 Mountaineers for the first half before allowing a goal right before the intermission.

With less than three minutes until halftime, West Virginia’s Marissa Kanela crossed the ball from just outside the SJU net to a waiting Leslie Barden, who headed the ball past Johnnie goalie Tina Fogg for a 1-0 lead.

St. John’s, which had allowed only three goals in its last five games, avoided a bigger deficit when the Mountaineers’ Christen Seaman missed wide on a penalty kick after teammate Chrissie Abbott was taken down in the box in the 34th minute.

Not content with sitting on the lead, West Virginia went on a scoring spree, picking up three goals in the span of 10 minutes.

“I think maybe in the first half they weren’t expecting us to be as closely matched with them,” Dawson said. “In the second half, as soon as they scored that second goal they just kept coming after us.”

Rachel Kruze was the first to add to the lead, converting on passes from Lisa Stoia and Jenn Lewis in the 60th minute.

Stoia scored a goal in the 69th minute when Erin Henderson blocked Kanela’s shot a few yards from the goal.

The All-Big East Preseason selection got to the ball before Fogg and deposited it in the back of the net.

Stoia wasn’t finished, however, and netted her second goal of the game on a pretty pass from Abbott as she made a run down the center of the field.

St. John’s couldn’t get anything going on offense, registering only one shot on goal.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t give our best showing,” said St. John’s Head Coach Ian Stone. “At 2-0 you gamble a little bit and try to get some offense going and the gamble really didn’t pay off.

“They scored those two goals and put the game away.”

West Virginia, which has posted seven shutouts on the season, wouldn’t allow the Red Storm to press forward on offense, continually peppering the St. John’s net to the tune of 28 shots.

In the loss, Fogg became the program’s all-time saves leader, passing Carolyn Blohm with 316 career stops.

After taking eight Big East schools last year, there is still an outside shot that the Johnnies could earn an at-large bid early next week.

If they are not selected, they could still receive an invitation to compete in the ECAC Tournament.