St. John’s coach Ian Stone knew how important it was for the women’s soccer team to get off to a fast start in Big East play.
The team knew it also, as every Big East game is a chance to improve seeding come late October. Nevertheless, the Red Storm’s Big East opener did not deliver the results the team had hoped for as Syracuse picked up a 2-0 win at Belson Stadium Saturday.
“We’re disappointed in the way we played because we didn’t feel Syracuse was a better team than us,” Stone said. “In the first half, we were the better team and to be honest, some of our better players didn’t play well. Realistically, we’re talking about an 11 game Big East schedule, so we need to bounce back and move forward.”
The Johnnies (3-4-1) battled the Orange for most of the first half as goalkeeper Jamie Beran kept the Cuse (2-5-0) at bay recording three saves.
Syracuse scored the only goal it needed late in the first half when Kim Niedzwiecki kicked one to the right side past Beran.
Prior to that point, St. John’s had held Syracuse at bay for almost 40 minutes until Maggie Falkenreck found Niedzwiecki on a cross.
“We possessed the ball quite well as we normally do,” Stone said. “But we struggled in the final third to possess and didn’t create much. We got to a stage where we’re not creating good opportunities and realistically we had a mental lapse and it cost us.”
The Orange added another second goal in the second half as Lauren Jentzen scored in the upper right corner of the net on a breakaway off freshman goalkeeper Rebecca Capinera, who played the second half as keeper.
Capinera recorded two saves, but both her and Beran, who spent the majority of last season in goal for the Storm, each surrendered crushing goals.
St. John’s could not generate many shots in the shutout. Senior Holly Ryder took three shots while Natasha Lee and Erin Henderson each took two cracks at the goal.
The Johnnies return to Big East action against Pittsburgh on Friday night at Belson and West Virginia on the road Sunday.
Stone noted that after this week, the Red Storm will only face Big East opponents on weekends, and without weekday games, they can concentrate more on particular opponents.
“With the way we organized the schedule I’m going to be relieved that we have Big East games on the weekends,” Stone said.
“There’s not enough time for meaningful practices to prepare. We need to take advantage when preparing for Friday and Sunday games because we need to improve in certain areas.”