Storming into third place

They started the day in fourth place in the Big East but by the end of their game, the men’s soccer team had made a jump in the standings.

In their 1-0 victory over No. 23 South Florida, St. John’s stole third place from right under the Bulls in the final game of the regular season. The victory ensures them a home game on Wednesday, something the team is excited about.

“It gives us momentum going into the playoffs,” team captain Georgios Spanos said.

“We get that home game,” freshman Ryan Soroka added. “It’s huge to be playing here. It’s one of the best places to play, so you can’t beat that.”

Soroka is the reason St. John’s won the game, scoring the only goal of the match in the 23rd minute. He took a low cross from Jara Habib and one-touched it right into the goal.

“That was a great goal,” coach Dave Masur said. “Jara got the ball across and Ryan hit the back of the net.”

“I held off and stayed back a bit and Jara found me on the ground,” Soroka said. “I just had to concentrate and put it in the net.”

Soroka had another good chance in the 34th minute of the first half but hit it right into the goalkeeper’s arms.

St. John’s looked in control for most of the first half. They scored only once but South Florida never looked close to scoring until the closing minutes when they had a golden opportunity. In the 44th minute, they had a free kick close to goal but were only able to head it over the goal.

In the second half, they came out just as aggressive. Landers made two saves within two minutes of each other in the opening minutes. For the second save, he had to drop down to his knees but was able to grab it.

Then, in the 23rd minute, he leaped to the far side to make a great save on another ball headed for the goal.

“He’s such a huge guy to have back there for us,” Soroka said about Landers. “He makes some big saves.”

Neither the Storm nor the Bulls mounted much of an offensive threat for the rest of the game and St. John’s was able to claim third place in the Big East. “That gives us some confidence and some momentum [going into the postseason,]” said Soroka.

“We’ve got to keep pushing toward the championship.”

Though it was only a regular season win, it went a long way toward reaching that goal.