Jason Landers had not given up an opponents’ goal in any Big East game this season. The only goal he did give up – in St. John’s 2-1 win over Notre Dame on Sept. 16 – was an own goal off the head of his teammate Sam Matthews.
But that streak was ended unceremoniously in men’s soccer’s 1-0 loss at South Florida Saturday night.
The Bulls’ Simon Schoendorf broke away for a score in the 64th minute after a give-and-go with midfielder Jason Devenish, beating Landers for only the second time in eight conference games.
“I try not to concentrate on those little details,” St. John’s coach Dave Masur said. … “You want to get all the points in all the conference games.”
The goal, which would go on to be the game-winner, gave St. John’s (7-2-4, 5-1-2) its first Big East loss – and first road loss – of the season.
South Florida (8-4-0, 7-1-0), prior to its debut in the Big East, fell to St. John’s last season 5-0, as the Red Storm was led by the since-transferred Andrei Gotsmanov’s hat trick.
The Johnnies were outshot, for the second match in a row (Akron on Oct. 12), but this time by a much wider margin: 21 to 8.
The team only mustered one shot on goal, off the foot of freshman Garry Lewis.
Lewis, who scored St. John’s first goal against Akron and has a big score in the team’s home win against Marquette, has been getting recognition as one of the best freshmen in conference.
“Garry brings the ability to keep the ball moving on the midfield,” Masur said.
Landers and the Storm defense held South Florida scoreless in the first half – the 11th time in 12 Big East games St. John’s has shut out its opponents in the first half.
“We had a couple of good chances in the first half which we didn’t capitalize on,” Masur said.
But Schoendorf broke the tie in the second half between the two teams at the top of the Red Division of the Big East.
Schoendorf (four shots) and fellow forwards Sammy Castellanos (four) and Jordan Seabrook (seven) combined to take 15 shots for the Bulls, giving them a a four-point advantage over the second-place Red Storm in the division standings.
Storm graduate students Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph and Matt Groenwald, and Lewis all had two shots apiece.
St. John’s is home Wednesday night against Hartwick, a team the Red Storm beat 4-1 on Oct. 4 of last year.
The team stays at Belson Stadium to play Big East-newcomer DePaul (1-5-1, 3-7-2) Saturday night – an important, very winnable game down the stretch for St. John’s.
Said Masur: “They’re a young, upcoming team.”