Stepan: Big East tourney begins for men’s soccer


From here on out, every time our men’s soccer seniors step on the field, it may be the last time they are clad in the red and white of St. John’s.

For the rest of us, it is a long grueling off-season that lurks in the near future after our last game

It is postseason time here at St. John’s and across the country for men’s soccer.

The 48 participants in the NCAA tournament are starting to take shape as the 2005 season ends for most teams around the nation.

Postseason for the Red Storm began this past Saturday night as the Big East Tournament kicked off here in Queens when we took on Notre Dame in a quarterfinal match.

The winner would be sent to Storrs, Conn., with the chance to win the Big East Tournament. Despite the referee’s greatest efforts to end our Big East Tournament run, we ultimately prevailed with a 1-0 victory with the help of our great fan support’s taunting and the pep band’s blaring music.

Looking at the week ahead, I prepare for a moment that I missed out on in my freshman year with a loss to West Virginia.

Accompanying me in my first Big East final four will be South Florida, UConn, and Providence as the field has been cut from 16 Big East teams who participated in the regular season.

Reasons for befriending the track at 7 a.m. and spending a week in the middle of nowhere for preseason camp all come clear this time of year. It was all in preparation for this final ascent, which will hopefully end Dec. 11 with the NCAA trophy in hand.

The journey will be much harder, however, if we lose our footing against our rivals UConn on Friday night whom we battled to a scoreless draw at the beginning of the season.

The next two games for deciding the winner of one of the most prestigious conferences in the United States will decide just how far up the mountain we will have to climb to reach the goal we aspire for.

School begins to take a backseat to the postseason, even to the most dedicated student.

Every athlete yearns for this time of year and the opportunity to compete when the previous 20 games (1800 minutes or more) of competition and the nine months of off-season preparation are all on the line.

It has been nine years since a national title has come to St. John’s.

With this as fuel for our fire, our determination, talent base, and of course a little luck on our side, this school will have one more trophy to show off come mid-December.