With a win Sunday over then No. 12 USC, the St. John’s women’s soccer team earned a ranking in the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America (NSCAA) poll for the first time in the program’s history.
“It’s great for the program,” head coach Ian Stone said. “But I would much rather be ranked at the end of the season than the beginning.”
The Red Storm defeated the Trojans 2-1 in Los Angeles, CA. Senior, Vaila Barsley put the Johnnies on the scoreboard first in the 38th minute of the first period. The Trojans lone goal came in the second period from midfielder Megan Ohai.
An unfortunate red card left the Storm with only ten players for much of the second half.
Junior Raelynne Lee would convert on her only shot at the goal to give the Johnnies the lead in the 78th minute of regulation. Lee was assisted by teammates Tatianna Duggan and C.J. Ludemann. The goal was Ludemann’s second assist of the season.
Both games were successfully anchored by a stingy Storm defense.
Senior captain Tara Mendoza said she feels the team is hitting its stride early in the season.
“The team as a whole is finally coming together,” said Mendoza. “It was an amazing feeling coming together to beat USC, I will remember it for the rest of my life.”
Goalkeeper Kristin Russell recorded six saves on 22 shots from the Trojans. “USC has great athletes,” said coach Stone. “This game is a testament to our hard work and showed that we can defend well and score. We still have a lot of improvements to make to get to our goal, which is the NCAA tournament.”
Barsley also contributed to the game winning goal against Cal State Fullertonduring the Storm’s 1-0 victory on Aug. 28.Barsley’s goal came in the 93rd minute after both teams failed to score during regulation. The shot was Barsley’s first-ever game winning goal.
“I’m honored to have scored it,” Barsley said Tuesday. “It felt good, but it didn’t matter who scored it. It was a great team effort.”
Assisting Barsley on the game winner was senior C.J. Ludemann, who lofted the ball in perfect position for Barsley to head it past the goalkeeper.
“Vaila is a player who gets better every year and she is becoming a fantastic leader,” said coach Stone.
The Johnnies win against Cal State Fullerton marked the fourth year in a row they have began the season with a victory.
The Johnnies will look to continue their winning ways at Belson Stadium Friday when they take on the University of New Hampshire.