The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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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King’s Court

For St. John’s athletics, another year is nearly in the books and, while the teams saw their share of ups and downs, the collective overall standing of the programs is something to commend.

As I embark on putting forth my final piece of wisdom to The Torch, I have graded each team’s performance this season and, as much as it pains me to admit it, the grades are generally better than my own.


Men’s soccer: C
It’s tough to fault a team that was two games over .500 on the season. But head coach Dave Masur has built the program into such a powerhouse that missing the NCAA Tournament this season was a relative disappointment. After winning the Big East Tournament just two years ago, look for St. John’s to come back hungry next year.

Women’s soccer: C+
The Red Storm got off to a hot start, unbeaten in their first 10 games and boasting just one loss in the team’s first 13. But four straight Big East losses put a damper on the season, and despite an 11-5-3 record St. John’s failed to make the NCAA Tournament after a first round Big East Tournament loss to Notre Dame.

Volleyball: A+
There’s a lot to say about this team, too much to fit into this small space. Joanne Persico-Smith took a program that was in the cellar about a decade ago to a Big East Tournament championship. But it didn’t stop there. The team went on to NCAA Tournament, including two rounds at home, advancing to the Sweet 16 before a heartbreaking loss to perennial powerhouse USC. The question for next season is whether the loss of key players Hui Ping Huang and Wioleta Leszczynska to graduation will prevent the team from going even further.


Men’s basketball: D-
The only redeeming factor that favored St. John’s men’s basketball this past season was the fact that Norm Roberts had eight freshmen. And that’s about it. Following a respectable above .500 season last year, the Red Storm followed up with a disappointing 11-win performance in 2007-08. Also adding to the team’s woes are the recently announced transfers of Mike Cavataio and sharpshooter Larry Wright. Whether Wright left for personal reasons or, as reported in the New York Post, other reasons, is irrelevant. The fact remains that it is another transfer, leaving zero remaining recruits from Roberts’ third recruiting class.

Women’s basketball: A-
What a turnaround. Last season the women likely would have received a grade somewhere in the ‘D’ range after recording an eight-win season. Kim Barnes-Arico lit a fire under her team this year, though, and took the Elite Eight of the WNIT. Both Kia Wright and Tiina Sten also got invites to WNBA camps, serving as a testament to the effectiveness of Barnes-Arico’s coaching.

Fencing: A+
It was business as usual for Yuri Gelman and his squad. St. John’s combined for a fifth place finish in the NCAA Tournament – despite the loss of world-class fencers Ben Bratton and Dagmara Wozniak to pre-Olympic competition – proving further that the program really is in the upper echelon in the nation.


Baseball: A-
The baseball team is currently second place in the Big East, and with a 28-9 record could well be on its way to another 40-win season. The question is if, and when, the team goes to the NCAA Tournament how far they’ll be able to go.

Golf: B-
St. John’s golf has held up well this season with a slew of second and third place finishes, and placed first in two of the team’s last three tournaments before the Big East tournament, where they placed fifth.

Lacrosse: D+
There’s something to be said for a team that was reinstated just a few years ago, and plopped into the tough ECAC, to boot. But progress has been slow for Jason Miller’s squad, as the team has recorded just one victory and is sitting on a 1-10 record. The question remains: when will things get turned around?

Men’s tennis: C
Despite an up-and-down season for the tennis team, St. John’s held its own in the Big East Tournament, placing sixth with a 1-2 record.

Women’s tennis: C+
Coming off a late season surge that featured seven straight victories to close out the regular season, the Red Storm endured the same fate as the men in the Big East Tournament with a sixth place finish.

Softball: C-
Tough times have hit the softball team lately. After a relatively even start, the team has dropped 13 of their last 15 games, leaving a Big East Tournament berth in jeopardy.

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