Storm tame Wildcats

October 12, 2008

The biggest struggle the No. 5 St. John’s men’s soccer team had in Saturday night’s 3-0 win over Villanova was internal. And even that one was easily resolved.

With the Red Storm already up 2-0 in the 52nd minute, the Wildcats were whistled for a handball in the box, setting up a St. John’s penalty kick. Nelson Becerra, who scored the Storm’s second goal in the 30th, naturally went right to the spot with the ball, but Tadeu Terra had a different idea.

“I got the ball and told him I was taking it,” Becerra said. “And he said, ‘No, I’m taking it.’ So I said I already have a goal, so you can take it; I know you’re going to score.”

Terra did score; a ferocious shot into the left side of the net for his second goal of the season. With the 3-0 lead and 52 minutes of dominating soccer behind them, head coach Dave Masur was free to substitute at will and garner experience for his hardworking bench.

“I think there are some guys lying there on the bench that are really going to come through and help us,” Masur said. “We’re looking for the guy who’s going to stick with it and battle out some other guys.”

Twenty different St. John’s players notched minutes in the Big East victory. This was made possible by the Storm’s controlling offensive attack. Their first goal not only got the ball rolling on the win, it actually made some seniors’ list of top-five goals they have ever seen at the University.

Nelson Becerra was at the corner ready to take one of St. John’s five corner kicks. The ball was played to the 6-foot-3 frame of defender Joel Gustafsson, who flicked the ball back across the goal. Trevor Chiduku, who received the start in place of an injured Walter Hines, had plenty of space from eight yards out to execute one of the most spectacular goals in the sport: the bicycle kick.

After putting his team up 1-0 in the 28th minute, Chiduku had the initial desire to celebrate what he called an instinctive goal.

“Usually, I like to do some African dances,” the sophomore forward said. “But there was no time to do that. Hopefully next time.”

After Hines went down with an ankle injury in Friday’s practice, Masur was instantly confident that Chiduku could get the job done up front. Besides the dazzling goal, he also contributed on defense, using his relentless vigor to transition up and down the pitch.

Masur called on Chiduku to make his sixth start of the year and to keep the offense on its highly productive track of late.

“Trevor’s got a good energy to keep moving across the field,” Masur said. “He was really focused all the way to try and do a good job.”

Becerra seemed to be involved in every play in the Villanova half for the duration of the 90 minutes. In the 30th, just two minutes after Chiduku’s bicycle, Ale Ivo played a through ball to Becerra, who took one touch to beat a defender. He was left with a one-on-one with Nova keeper, Chris Bresnahan. The junior slid a shot into the goal for his team-leading fourth goal of the year. After the assist and goal, he also leads the team with 11 points.

“For me, I’m happy because I’m working hard and getting better and all the work is coming back,” Becerra said. “The assists and goals; it doesn’t matter if it’s me or someone else. We got goals and three points tonight. That’s what mattered.”