A bittersweet road finish

Coming off a big road win over Big
East-rival Seton Hall on Thursday, the No. 18
St. John’s women’s soccer team should have
been confident going into its Saturday match
with No. 10 Rutgers.
But head coach Ian Stone’s squad got off
to a slow start, giving up an early goal, and
was unable to capitalize on offensive opportunities, dropping the conference match, 1-0.
“We weren’t confident enough to go against them,” Stone said.
“Rutgers is a very good team and when we travel to their home field, we need to be ready to play.”

The Scarlet Knights struck less than six minutes into play, when Kristie Lang fired a shot on Red Storm goalkeeper Kristin Russell
and collected her rebound to find the back of the net.

But after the goal, Stone thought his team dominated the play of the game.

“That goal was a wake-up call for us and it shouldn’t be like that,” said Stone.

The team finished the game with eight shots on goal, while Rutgers only got off two
on Russell.

Forward Kelly McConnell was the main offensive catalyst for the Red Storm. The senior finished the game with a team high two shots on goal. Tara Mendoza and Raelynne Lee finished the game with two shots a piece.

Though the Red Storm had plenty of chances for the equalizer, Rutgers goalie Erin Gurthie made save after save to stop
every scoring chance.

The senior finished the game with eight saves and was particularly impressive toward the end of the first half, making tough saves when Mendoza, and moments later when Amanda Pasciolla, fired another shot.

“It was a frustrating game, because we didn’t come out strong and they took advantage of us right away,” Mendoza said. “I felt like this game was our game to win.”

Stone shared Mendoza’s frustration about
the game.

“We were, in my opinion, better than they are and we needed to show that this game,” he said. “We didn’t come out strong and it hurt us.”

With this loss, the Red Storm drops to 11-4-1, 5-3-1, while Rutgers improves to 12-2-3, 6-1-2.

The Red Storm concludes their regular season at home this weekend when they host USF on Friday and Marquette on Sunday for Senior Day.

With only two games left, Stone and Mendoza think the team needs a strong finish to have a successful postseason.

“I think were going to learn from this game and make sure that we came out strong every game,” said Mendoza.

Stone said, “We don’t realize how good we are, we haven’t lost a game to a team that’s been better than us this season and we need to realize that.”