It took him 12 games to do it, but Ryan Soroka’s first points of the season came right when the Red Storm needed them the most.
Soroka, who was named to the preseason All-Big East team, was involved in two tiebreaking goals in the men’s soccer team’s 4-2 win over Syracuse last night at Belson Stadium. The junior’s assist on Joel Gustafsson’s 15th minute tally put No. 5 St. John’s up 2-1. Then in the second half, after the Orange found an equalizer, Soroka found the net for the first time this season with a 12-yard, inside-of-the-foot shot past Syracuse goalie and reigning Big East Goalkeeper of the Week Rob Cavicchia.
“I think it would have been a lot worse if we haven’t been winning,” Soroka said of his points drought. “The thing is, I was working hard and doing everything I was supposed to. I just got unlucky.”But last night, perhaps, he got lucky with his first point. Soroka redirected a ball to a wide-open Gustafsson after a Nelson Becerra corner kick. Gustafsson came up from the defense to provide an extra foot and give the Storm their first lead of the game.
The lead was hard-earned after the Johnnies went down 1-0 in the 6th minute. Lack of possession and poor defensive clears created early pressure on Storm keeper Neal Kitson. The Orange’s Kyle Hall converted his team’s first scoring opportunity by scoring on left-foot one-timer from ten yards out.
“They’re a big, strong, very good team,” head coach Dave Masur said of Syracuse. “We knew coming in here we were going to have a tough day. There were some miscues in the back with misjudging some balls. Maybe some all-or-nothing defending in the back where we gave up goals we’re unhappy about.”
The Orange’s second goal came when Cavicchia booted the ball three-quarters of the way down the field. St. John’s defense misplayed the punt and Syracuse’s Hansen Woodruff was left with a one-on-one against Kitson. Momentum seemed to be swinging again as Syracuse scored to even the game at 2-2.
Soroka’s goal gave the Storm a lead they would not look back from, but freshman Bjorn de Hoop wanted to make the lead a little more comfortable. Becerra took a free kick from 35 yards out after a Syracuse foul. St. John’s junior set piece specialist found the head of de Hoop, who placed a perfect header into the upper left corner for a 4-2 lead. The goal was de Hoop’s second of the season.
St. John’s erased the early 1-0 deficit thanks to some sharp shooting by sophomore Tadeu Terra. After one of the Storm’s 12 corner kick, Terra picked up a rebound and floated a 25-yarder into net, his first marker of the season. The goal had St. John’s back in the game and delighted Terra’s biggest fan in the crowd.
Terra’s 53-year-old father left Brazil for the first time this week to see his son play against Syracuse and then against Villanova on Saturday. Terra’s timing on first goal was impeccable.
“He’s so happy,” Terra said. “He doesn’t care about New York; he doesn’t care about the Empire State. He just wanted to come see me. He doesn’t want a hotel; he stays with me.”
Reigning Big East Rookie of the Week Walter Hines received his first career start on Wednesday and added two shots on goal.
Gustafsson, Terra and Soroka were the tenth, 11th and 12th different St. John’s players to score a goal this season.