Playoff bound

Get ready for some playoff soccer.

The St. John’s women’s soccer team defeated Providence 2-1 yesterday afternoon to secure themselves a spot in the Big East Tournament for the third straight season.

“It means a lot because we didn’t have a great start in our Big East season,” head coach Ian Stone said. “Credit the girls in how hard they worked and the adversity they fought through.”

That adversity was on showcase yesterday as Providence (5-8-3, 0-7-3) jumped out to an 1-0 lead in the first ten minutes. Off a deflection, junior forward Jill Camburn gained possession and ripped a shot past Red Storm keeper Kristin Russell for the games first goal.

St. John’s (8-5-4, 4-4-2) was able to counter ten minutes later as midfielder C.J. Ludemann netted her second goal of the season. Sarah McGrath set up Ludemann about 15 yards away from the net and she fired a shot past Friars’ goalkeeper Jill Schott. The assist was the fifth of the season for McGath, who leads the team.

With the Red Storm needing a victory to clinch a Big East Tournament berth, Tara Mendoza was up to the task.

In the 55th minute, Ludemann took a St. John’s corner kick that was deflected in the air towards Mendoza who headed it in the back of the net for the game winner. The goal was the second of Mendoza’s Red Storm career.

“Right from the first whistle Tara [Mendoza] had a mentality to do everything to get the win,” Stone said. “She was phenomenal.”

Early in the season the Storm had a habit of burying themselves after they went 1-0, but when playing in the biggest game of their season to date, they wouldn’t be denied.

“There was no sign of it,” Stone said. “It’s a sign of maturity, they believe in themselves.”

St. John’s was out shot by Providence 11-6, but four of their shots were on goal and two of them went in.

Kristin Russell wasn’t tested much against the Friars as they only put three of their eleven shots on net. The Red Storm defense had another solid effort as they only allowed Providence to take three shots in the second half.

After having lost three games in a row and with their playoff chances looking slim, St. John ‘s has stormed back to win four of their last five games and clinch a postseason berth.

“At this point in the season it’s how cohesive a team is,” said Stone. “It’s about if you fight for each other, that is the case with this team”

The Red Storm currently sit as the number four seed in the American Division, but could potentially move up to the three or down to the five depending on their match with UConn on Sunday.

“It’s great to be in this position now,” Stone said. “If we beat UConn we will be third in our division.”

With all of the Big East Tournament spots clinched in both divisions, St. John’s trails UConn by one point and leads Pittsburgh by one. Pittsburgh plays second place Marquette on Sunday on the road. With a St. John’s victory on Sunday they will clinch a three seed in the American Division, with a loss they will either stay in fourth or drop to fifth, depending on Pittsburgh’s outcome.

“Making the tournament is an accomplishment in itself,” Stone said. “Now it’s about getting the highest seed as possible.”