Better late than never

The St. John’s women soccer team continued its dominance at Belson Stadium in dramatic fashion Friday night.

With 41 seconds left in regulation, senior Courtney Lane scored the game-winning goal from 40 yards out to help the No. 12 Red Storm (9-1-1, 3-0-1) improve to 6-0 at home this year.

“I hadn’t played very well up to that point,” Lane said. “I got an opportunity and just wanted to make the best of it.”

Lane knew the shot had a chance when it left her foot, but wasn’t completely sure until she saw it get past Louisville goalkeeper Taylor Vancil.

“Some of my teammates said they knew it was going in as soon as I hit it,” Lane said. “But I was waiting for it to hit the back of the net. When it did, I said a quick thank you prayer to my cousin who recently passed away. “

Lane’s first goal of the season couldn’t have come a better time for the Red Storm, who got off to a slow offensive start.

Louisville controlled the ball for a majority of the first half and outshot the Johnnies 9-6.

Louisville, still looking for its first conference victory, did not surprise Stone with its aggressiveness in the first half.

“I expected this type of game from them,” Stone said. “They are very athletic and work hard. (Lousiville head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes) is a great coach and had them prepared.”

The trend flipped in the second half, as the Red Storm outshot the Cardinals 10-4 in the second half, earning multiple scoring opportunities.

“We didn’t play very well the first half,” Stone said. “But we put a lot more pressure on them in the second half and I knew it was only a matter of time before we scored.”

Stone admitted that the nation’s No. 12 ranking, highest in program history, may have added some extra pressure to his team.

“I think it does, absolutely,” Stone said. “They are perfectionists and when they don’t play like they are capable of, they put a little pressure on themselves.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Russell moved into a tie for third all-time in St. John’s history with 16 career shutouts with Friday’s win. She is now only three away from breaking the school’s record.

“She is absolutely phenomenal,” Stone said. “To be fair she has played behind some great defenses, but whenever we need a big save, she makes it.”

St. John’s honored the 1994 Big East Championship team at halftime. It was the only team in program history to ever win a Big East Championship. Stone sees a similarity between this year’s team and the one he coached in 1994, his first season with St. John’s.

“Both teams were tremendously hard-working and had great team chemistry,” Stone said. “We also have a lot of seniors this year, which we did then as well. They realize it’s their last chance.”