After finishing the regular season with ties to Long Island and Georgetown, St. John’s came out firing in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, scoring a goal in each half to defeat Seton Hall, 2-0, and move on to the semifinals.
Chris Corcoran gave the Red Storm (12-1-5), which defeated the Pirates (9-7-3) earlier in the season, an early 1-0 lead just five minutes into the match.
Rich Bradley crossed the ball from beyond the midfield line to the streaking sophomore, who in one motion brought it down with his right foot and shot with his left from 10 yards out.
“The hardest part of the whole thing is getting a ball like that down,” Corcoran said, “and once I trapped it, it was pretty easy because the goalie just didn’t have a chance.
“We haven’t scored early in a while and to get that was a big boost for us.”
Seton Hall goalie Alex McDonald kept his team in the game by making several outstanding saves as well as having a little bit of luck.
Andre Schmid had a chance at a wide open net off a corner kick but sent the ball over the top in the 30th minute.
Later in the half, Chris Wingert’s shot beat McDonald, but Ryan Witt was there to kick the ball away before it crossed the line.
Matia Damiani also had a chance stopped on a diving save.
“Sometimes that early goal can undo you,” St. John’s Head Coach Dave Masur said. “Sometimes you get goals early, and then you end up losing 2-1.”
Seven minutes into the second half, it looked like the Pirates had scored, but the goal was disallowed after a foul had been previously called.
SJU goalie Bill Gaudette was undercut by a Seton Hall player while jumping for the ball, which ended up in the net.
In the 63rd minute, Damiani headed home a pass from Wingert for his first goal of the season, a goal that sealed the win for the Johnnies.
The offense wouldn’t quit, however, but Simone Salinno’s shot hit the post and McDonald stopped the follow by John Mendes.
The best chance that the Pirates had in the game came with about 24 minutes remaining in the game, but Gaudette stopped a shot by Ryan McGowan.
St. John’s outshot Seton Hall, 20-6, and had a significant advantage in corner kicks, 11-1.
The Red Storm advance and will face Connecticut Friday night at 5 p.m. at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J.
“We all know that UConn is the most dangerous team, really, in college soccer,” Masur said. “Our preparation has to be sharp, our mental and physical play is going to have to be at its peak if we expect to get a result.”
The Huskies defeated Rutgers 1-0 in the quarterfinals.