Men’s soccer wins home opener

Sophomore Ale Ivo scored his first goal of the season and Neal Kitson posted his fourth shutout as the No. 11 St. John’s soccer team won its home opener against Boston University, 1-0, at Belson Stadium Friday night.

In the 74th minute, Terrier goalkeeper Hrafn Davidsson used his hands outside the box, setting up an indirect free kick for Tadeu Terra on the side of the 18. The redshirt sophomore played a ball in front of the Boston net, where Ivo was waiting to head in the game winner.

“Anything we can do right in front of the keeper is a big surprise to him,” Ivo said. “It was a good goal, but I don’t care; we got the win. That’s all that matters.”

For the duration of the 90 minutes, the rain was persistent. According to head coach Dr. Dave Masur, so was the Red Storm offense.

“[The goal] was well-earned,” Masur said. “We put a lot of pressure on them and caused the goalie to touch the ball outside the area.”

St. John’s out-shot Boston 13-10, with four Red Storm shots going on goal. In his collegiate debut, sophomore Sverre Wegge Gundhus targeted the Terrier net early in the first half, but his low shot off the wet turf was saved. Junior forward Ryan Soroka put both of his shots on goal. His set piece in the first half skipped through Boston’s defensive wall and was picked up by Davidsson.

Even with a 4-0-1 record, Masur is looking for ways to improve. The 1-0 final score was good for a win, but the 18th-year coach will be stressing that other opportunities must be converted.

“[One to nothing] is never a good lead, especially late in the game,” Masur said. “We have to make better decisions and be stronger up front. We have to run more to get more involved and support the play earlier.”

The other side of the field doesn’t have Masur worried at all. Kitson’s three saves and the Red Storm’s nearly impenetrable defense preserved the slim lead. Kitson, who did not play in the 1-1 draw against Boston College last Sunday, returned to the net with a little extra push.
“It was really important to come out and protect our home opener,” the redshirt senior keeper said. “The past two weekends we spoiled other teams’ home openers; we didn’t want that to happen to us.”

Dating back to last season, Kitson has not been scored on in the past 419 minutes of game play.

Ivo and Kitson were indeed the heroes on paper, but Ivo says the entire roster has St. John’s storming up the ranks.

“Everybody is fit. Everybody is willing to run. Everybody is willing to do the dirty work,” Ivo said. “We all played for the team. That’s what we’ve been doing and hopefully what we keep doing to go far this season.”

Ivo added a message for Red Storm fans planning to attend a home soccer match this season. Call it confidence or call it pride, but Ivo does not want to disappoint the St. John’s faithful.

“We cannot lose at Belson. This is our house. We are not going to lose on Belson. That’s the end line.”