The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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St. John’s advances past Marist in NCAAs

 Slideshow of St. John’s over Marist in first round of NCAAs (11-18)


Steven Old felt the pressure before he stepped up to take his penalty kick in the 67th minute. Anthony Graci’s goal four minutes before tied the score and gave Marist the momentum in the first round NCAA tournament game.

"When you get something like that, when you get an opportunity to score you get a bit nervous," Old said.

The sophomore defender knew a goal could energize his team and move the game back in the Red Storm’s favor.

The New Zealand native beat Marist goaltender Daniel Owen to his left side after the keeper guessed wrong and dove right. The goal, which proved to be the game winner, helped catapault St. John’s to a 3-1 win over Marist on Friday night at Belson Stadium. The game marked the first time the Red Storm had scored more than one goal since a 4-0 win over Louisville on Oct. 1.

"I knew if I hit it with power, the keeper would have less of a chance than if I tried to guide it in," said Old of his second goal of the season and St. John’s first this season on a penalty kick.

The dramatic goal was set up by a foul called on Marist’s Steve Fantuzzo for hitting Gary Lewis, who was playing a pass just inside the box on the near side. The validity of the game-changing call did not go without being questioned.

"It wasn’t a penalty," Marist coach Bobby Herodes said. "It clearly wasn’t. That took [away] any bit of energy that our kids could attain. It just drains it."

Lewis disagreed, "It was kind of iffy but if the guy would have came by and just kicked the ball away and I would kicked his foot and fallen, I wouldn’t have agreed with that, but he kind of gave me a shove as he did it."

Matt Groenwald added the insurance goal, off a pass from Sebastian-Alvarado-Ralph in the 75th minute. The crafty graduate student’s score, his sixth of the season killed all hope of another surge by the Red Foxes.

"I think the third goal was the one that killed us," Graci said.

Marist (12-9-1) though had already responded to tie the game on Graci’s goal.

Junior Keith Detelj knocked Ben Shuleva over at midfield, but no call was made. Detelj controlled the loose ball and played it to Graci, who dribbled to the top of the box. The junior stopped and sent a 22-yard blast into the tope far corner past a leaping Jason Landers to tie the score at 1-1.

"That could have turned the whole game around," Graci said. "I thought we had all the momentum after that play."

Its effects were short lived.

St. John’s (10-5-5) dominated the Red Foxes, the MAAC conference champions, by out-shooting them 26 to 4 and Marist did not attempt a corner kick in the game. One of Marist’s few quality scoring chances came in the second minute when Fantuzzo had a shot from the top of the box that rattled the crossbar.   

"That startled us," Lewis said.

The Red Storm was able to keep Detelj, Marist’s 11-goal scorer, from attempting a shot and limited his touches.

"I thought that Jeff [Carroll] and Stevie [Old] did a great job with Detelj," St. John’s coach Dave Masur said. "We know he’s extraordinarily dangerous."

After a scoreless first half, St. John’s struck first on a goal by Billy Hole in the 58th minute, his second of the year. Gary Lewis, standing just inside the box on the near side flicked to a ball to Billy Hole who had his back to the goal. Hole turned in the box and sent a shot that beat Owens and gave St. John’s a 1-0 lead.

"Really the pass wasn’t that great," Lewis said. "He made a great turn."

The duo had also combined for the game-winning goal, except with Lewis scoring, in St. John’s 1-0 Big East tournament win over Notre Dame.

St. John’s moves on to play No. 16 seed Dartmouth Tuesday night at Belson Stadium. The game should have been played at Dartmouth, but the school forgot to file the proper paperwork to request hosting a second-round home game.

"I think we are the benefactors in one sense because obviously we are playing at Belson," Groenwald said. "But also I think it give Dartmouth a bit of an edge also because if I was on Dartmouth and my administration didn’t put in have a home game and we ended up being seeded and having to play away after a bye I would be really fired up."

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