Last chance for slip-ups

In their last non-conference game of the season, the women’s soccer game could only manage a 1-1 tie against Princeton on Sunday afternoon.

The feeling after the game was one of disappointment after the team’s second double-overtime tie in as many games. In their first Big East game of the season on Friday night, the Storm played Syracuse to a scoreless draw.

“We tied yesterday [sic],” said forward Kelly McConnell. “Both teams we know we can beat, we’re better than this and we’re kind of getting let down.”

The game marked the season debut of senior goalkeeper Rebecca Capinera, who had been out nursing an ailing back. Capinera manned the net in the second half, while freshman Kristin Russell started the first half and played both overtime periods.

After a scoreless first half, it was McConnell who got her team on the scoreboard early in the second when she took Jen Leaverton’s feed in the 49th minute and, with a slide, one-touched it over a Tiger defender and past goalkeeper Alyssa Pont.

It was the first goal of the year for McConnell, who, with four goals, two assists and ten shots, was such a big part of last season’s offensive attack. With the brunt of the conference schedule bearing down on his team, head coach Ian Stone took McConnell’s goal as a sign of good things to come for the three-year starting forward.

“Kelly was great on Friday as well,” Stone said. “She’s been coming off a bit of an injury. She’s been kind of carrying the injury a little bit, psychologically. She had a great game on Friday and, obviously, that was a big goal for us today. It’s good to have her back.”

But, after McConnell’s goal, the Tigers turned the offense up. They out-shot the Storm 8-4 in the period. St. John’s was able to survive seven of those shots – along with seven Princeton corner kicks – and 39 minutes of a strong Princeton attack.

In the 88th minute, Sara Chehrehsa took the ball from about 40 yards out and placed a long shot perfectly in the opening between the crossbar and sprawling Capinera’s outstretched hand.

After the game, Stone defended his senior. “It wasn’t Beca’s fault on the goal,” he said. “[Chehreha’s] open on the edge of the area and we’ve got enough bodies down there. We just didn’t close her down quickly enough. I was more disappointed with our defending, allowing that type of space at that time of the game.”

The Red Storm seemed determined to come out with a win, after Chehreha’s tying strike. Britany Cavarra nearly ended it in regulation with a hard try from the top of the box that just flew over the net in the 89th minute.

In the first overtime, Vaila Barsley just missed with a header off the crossbar and couldn’t recover to finish before Pont scrambled for possession. Still in the first extra period, it was Cavarra who again had a chance for the winner when C.J. Ludemann’s well-played corner bounced out to her. She put a good foot on the ball and screamed one through the full box, but Pont was positioned perfectly and made the chest-high save through traffic.

Next up for the Storm is West Virginia on Thursday, who has scored two or more goals in three games already this year – a feat the Storm are yet to accomplish once in 2008 – including a Sunday 3-0 shutout of No. 6 Virginia.

“Our defense has been really strong and I’m sure we’ll work on some more offensive stuff,” McConnell said. “There is going to be no problems.”