There’s a new foot in town

In their opening game of the 2008 season the St. John’s women’s soccer team controlled the Fairfield Stags for the full 90 minutes, beating them 1-0 last Friday night.

Although they only managed one goal, the Red Storm dominated the Stags, who are expected to compete for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship, in every category. They rang off 13 shots to the Stags four and won five corner kicks while Fairfield only could come up with one.

“Really with our first game and then about a week to try and prepare for the next one, it was all about trying to find a win tonight,” said head coach Ian Stone. The Storm’s next game is their August 29 contest against Towson. “We’ve done a lot of work on the defensive side of our game, which I thought went pretty well.”

Stone looked at the Stags roster and realized they were not as deep as his squad is. “I felt we would need the rotation to kind of run them into the ground,” Stone said. “They were fitter than I thought they were going to be, but at the same time it was good for us to rotate players and see what they can do.”

One of those substitutions was C.J. Ludemann, a junior midfielder who transferred from Duke at the beginning of the summer. It was immediately obvious that her impact as a playmaker will be felt on the pitch this season for the Storm.

She entered the game in the 28th minute for senior Brittany Cavarra and it took her only fourteen minutes to create a goal.
Ludemann dribbled the ball hard into the corner, battling a Fairfield defender the whole way.

She worked the ball off her left foot and then she found 5-foot-11 forward Amanda Santos with a perfect right-footed cross that Santos headed past Fairfield goalkeeper Kelly Boudreau. “I like to get other people the ball so they can do the hard part and finish it,” she said.

“She’s not even at her best yet as far as I’m concerned,” Stone said. “She has great vision and the ability to put the ball wherever she wants which sets her apart from a lot of other players at this level.”

Ludemann, who said she transferred from Duke because the Blue Devils’ over-the-top style of play didn’t mesh well with her possession-oriented style, racked up 34 minutes against the Stags.

And with time winding down in the second half, she showed that she was not just a passer but also had a good shot as well. She sent a hard, low shot in from about 25 yards out that send Boudreau diving for the save.

“My vision and passing is my strongpoint,” Ludemann said. “But I can shoot and my direct kicks are on target too.”

The Red Storm were without senior goalkeeper Rebecca Capinera against the Stags, who is suffering from an ailing back. Capinera, who split time last year with then-senior Jaime Beran, made 27 saves in 14 games and only allowed 11 goals for a 1.34 goals against average in 2007.

Freshman Kristin Russell made the start in Capinera’s place and gets credit for the shutout, but only needed to make one save due to the Red Storm’s experienced flat back four defensive unit.

“We figured Becca [Capinera] wouldn’t be able to play,” Storm said. “The other two freshmen goal tenders have done really well. We just gave the edge to Kristin.”

She’s pretty confident for a freshmen and she has a little bit of a presence.”