Storm back hitting the big time

The St. John’s men’s soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to eight with Saturday’s win over Cincinnati.

The victory puts St. John’s at 5-2-8 overall, and 3-0-5 in their last eight games. It put the Red Storm back in the top 25 in the Soccer America poll for the first time since a three game scoreless streak knocked them out in mid-September.

Cincinnati came out strong to start the first half, putting three shots on goal in the first 18 minutes before St. John’s could get a shot off. Senior goalkeeper Derby Carrillo was up to the task, however, and weathered the storm.

St. John’s got their chance in the 33rd minute, when junior midfielder Tadeu Terra curved a free kick into the box. Junior forward Sverre Wegge Gundhus controlled the ball and put it past Cincinnati goalkeeper Matt Williams.

It was just the fifth time this season that St. John’s scored first, and the third goal they have scored in the first
half this season. They are 4-0-1 when scoring first, and 2-0-1 when scoring in the first half.

“We don’t really look at the statistics,” said head coach Dave Masur. “Games go either way. We just try to do what we can each and every game.”

The Bearcats would not go quietly, though. Less than two minutes into the second half, sophomore midfielder D.J. Albert caused a turnover at midfield. He took the ball to the box and beat Carrillo to tie the score.

Trevor Chiduku would put home what proved to be the game-winner in the 69th minute. He headed in a ball played in by Josh Faga off a corner kick from Nelson Becerra.

It was Chiduku’s first start of the year and his first goal. Last year, he had seven goals while starting 12 of the 24 games he played.

“He’s valuable anyplace that he plays,” said Masur. “We’re glad to see him get one on the board. We hopeful that’s going to lead to some more good things.

It was the first true road win of the season for the Red Storm, and their first win away from Belson Stadium since a neutral site victory over Notre Dame on Sept. 6.

“It’s big to get those vital points and it’s big to win on the road,” Masur said.

With the win, the Red Storm improved to 4-1-4 in the Big East, which lands them in third place in the Red division. They sit just one point behind South Florida for second place in the division.

The top two teams in each division get byes in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

St. John’s will try to improve its standing in the Big East and perhaps move up in the polls tonight when they square off against Syracuse (2-14, 1-8 Big East).

They return home to close out the Big East season Saturday against Depaul (8-7-1, 5-4 Big East). It will be the last regular season home game for
the team’s six seniors.