What looked to be a significant win in the Big East turned into the worst loss of the season for the St. John’s men’s soccer team Saturday, as No. 17 St. John’s blew a 1-0 lead in the final 13 minutes against Cincinnati.
Though St. John’s controlled the time of possession and produced multiple scoring opportunities, including a ball off the post in the opening minute of the second half, it was only a matter of time until the Big East’s leading assist man, Omar Cummings, came alive.
The talented senior knotted the game at one on an unassisted goal as he broke up the middle of the field and poked the ball past St. John’s veteran goalkeeper Jason Landers.Less than 3 minutes later, Kenny Anaba put the Bearcats up for good, putting the ball in the net in a one-on-one situation with Landers.
St. John’s will have to look to recover quickly as they’ve now fallen two games off pace from Cincinnati, who have won six in a row, in the Big East’s Red Division.
“We need to put this behind us and prepare for the next game,” said senior captain Georgios Spanos. “Hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone to see what we can do better.”
Despite the Red Storm only having four conference games remaining in the season, head coach Dave Masur will look to veteran leadership to put St. John’s back on course.
“Our veterans are huge,” Masur said. “They’ve been through the ups and downs, and they know what it takes to step up and keep our concentration and intensity where it should be.”
Spanos will also look to take on a bigger role as the season winds down, and realizes that the younger players will be looking at him and his fellow veterans for help and guidance.
“We try to inspire them,” he said. “I try to keep my head up and even though we lost, the younger players still see the veterans and are inspired.”
But for all of Spanos’ leadership qualities, perhaps his most important attribute is his tenacity to win. Insisting that this was not a rebuilding season, Spanos made clear that the Red Storm would keep pushing to make it as far as they can go.
“This is it,” Spanos said. “I want to win.”