St. John’s gears up for season with 3-1 win

After a 3-1 preseason exhibition win over Hofstra, the St. John’s women’s soccer team appears ready for the upcoming season. Krystle Jalalian, Kaitlin Haas and Kelly Mc- Connell were the goal-scorers for the Red Storm as they look to head into the regular season. The exhibition, which took place on Saturday afternoon at Belson Stadium and consisted of three 3-minute periods, came after a similarly formatted 0-0 draw with Stony Brook that St. John’s head coach Ian Stone referred to as a “debacle.”

After a scoreless fi rst period in which the Johnnies appeared to lack passion, St. John’s got
its act together in the second.

“The second and third periods I thought were outstanding,” Stone said. “I thought we really stepped up to the level of Big East competition and they couldn’t hang with us.”

The Red Storm ended their scoring drought in the ninth minute of the second period with a Vaila Barsley free kick from just inside midfield that forward Krystle Jalalian won and finished hard and low to the Hoftstra goalkeeper’s left. They would score once more in the second period before
Hofstra narrowed the lead to one with a goal of their own.

St. John’s locked up the victory in the third when McConnell scored to extend the lead to 3-1.
Scoring goals may be something of an issue for the Red Storm this season after the graduation
of forward Natasha Lee. Last season, Lee led the Red Storm in goals, points, shots, shots
on goal, shot on goal percentage, and game-winning goals. To fill the void, the Red Storm
will look to senior Jalalian, who was second in points and assists last year and third in goals.
Her goal against Hofstra is a good sign that she is ready for that responsibility.

“It is going to be tough to replace Natasha [Lee],” said Stone. “She was so well-respected by
other teams’ defenses because of her speed, that it gave other people more time and space to play.

“So now obviously they’re going to key on Krystle [Jalalian] a little bit more,” continued Stone, “but she is going to have to rise to the challenge and be good enough to deal with it.”

Conversely, there seems to be little question about the Red Storm’s solid goalkeeping. Not only do the Storm return Jaime Beran who, while playing in all 19 games last year, held opponents to a 0.97 goals against average and registered 84 saves, but they also welcome back junior Rebecca Capinera, who sat out all but a half of her sophomore campaign with an injury. Capinera, who is not without impressive statistics of her own, made 17 appearances in her freshmen season and recorded 70 saves while boasting a 1.81 goals against average.

For the first time in Stone’s 14-year career, he will be with the assistance of a fulltime
goalkeeper coach. Jessica Clinton, who joined the staff in February. She has already
had a noticeable effect on both Beran and Capinera. Clinton preaches what she
calls “healthy arrogance” to the goalkeepers and Stone is seeing the increased confidence levels
translate to better play on the field. St. John’s will open the regular season August 31 at Belson Stadium against Farleigh Dickinson.