It took less than seven minutes before the St. John’s women’s soccer team got onto the scoreboard this Sunday at Belson Stadium, and they never looked back, beating the University of Pittsburgh Panthers 4-1.
The Red Storm looked to be playing with some extra emotion in the first half, likely a product of suffering its first loss of the season, a 2-0 bashing at the hands of West Virginia on Friday. It out shot Pitt 9-0 and first half goalkeeper Rebecca Capinera wasn’t even forced to make a save, as the one opportunity Pitt had from the corner sailed over the goal.
“I felt that we needed to bounce back,” said head coach Ian Stone. “It was one of those games on Friday where you almost wanted to lock the gates up at the end of the game and tell the fans not to leave because that’s not the real St. John’s.”
“I think it shows a lot of resilience, a lot of character to come back especially in that first half today.”
With the win, the Red Storm improved to 2-1-0 in the Big East and 7-1-2 overall.
In the 6th minute, junior forward Kelly McConnell took a pass from Raelynne Lee and chipped her fourth goal of the year over Pitt goalkeeper Alison Finch’s head from ten yards out.
McConnell, who made the switch to forward this year from themidfield, would also have an assist in the game.
“To be honest, in the midfield position she [McConnell] was a little more limited,” said Red Storm head coach Ian Stone. “As a forward she has so much more space now and what I’ve been impressed with is her movement and her attacking runs.”
In the 20th minute the Red Storm were awarded a corner kick which the freshman Lee elected to play short.
The ball was volleyed towards net and sophomore defender Tara Mendoza was able to get a head on it for the first goal of her career.
“I couldn’t stop smiling,” said Mendoza. “It felt so good.”Just two minutes after that, McConnell penetrated deep again but this time found senior forward Krystle Jalalian who finished from 12 yards out to make it 3-0.
Because of the big lead, Stone was able to experiment a bit with his lineups, as 24 different Johnnies made an appearance.Pitt scored on its first shot and first legitimate opportunity of the game.
In the 62nd minute, Pittsburgh freshman Laura Berbert was awarded a free kick from 22 yards, and in a display of soccer talent and touch, bent a ball over the Red Storm wall and into the top left corner off the hands of a diving second half goalkeeper Jaime Beran.
Sophomore Nicole Canning put the Storm up by 3 again in 77th minute with her first goal of the year.
St. John’s will be back in action this Friday at Belson Stadium to face DePaul, and on Sunday to face Notre Dame.