Most teams that lose three players to a pro draft in any season have to face a rebuilding year and usually a short stretch of mediocrity — but not one of Dave Masur’s teams.
After the finale of the college soccer season, one in which St. John’s was defeated in the Elite Eight by Maryland, defender Chris Corcoran was selected in the MLS Draft and defender Ryan Kelly and goalkeeper Bill Guadette were selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft.
As if those were not difficult enough losses, St. John’s also lost forward Simone Salinno, the team’s leading scorer in 2003, to graduation and Ashley Kozicki and Andrei Gotsmanov, the team’s leading goal scorer this season, have transferred.
Despite all of the players lost, the Red Storm will be expected to be one of the best teams in the Big East. Anything less than a return to the NCAA Tournament would probably be disappointing.
Returning to the team that was the runner-up for the national championship at the 2003 College Cup will be senior playmakers Matt Groenwald (a Hermann Trophy candidate last year) and Andre Schmid, along with sophomore Steven Old, who scored four goals in his first season.
Injuries decimated Ian Stone’s team in 2004, as they lost forwards Dominica Reina and Kaitlin Schmidt, as well as midfielder Erin Henderson for a significant amount of time.
Goalkeeper Tracey Rollings also started only nine games.
If the returnees can come back healthy and forward Natasha Lee (six goals) and midfielder Holly Ryder (five goals, four assists) can continue their development, St. John’s can easily compete for a spot in the conference tournament.