Despite the 1-0 loss to Marquette on Sunday, the St. John’s women’s soccer team still earned a first round bye in the Big East Tournament after finishing the regular season second in the conference’s Red Division with a 12-5-1 record.
The Red Storm is scheduled to host Georgetown at Belson Stadium in the quarterfinals Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I’m very proud,” sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Russell said. “We didn’t [receive a first-round bye] last year, so it’s definitely an accomplishment.”
“We play our best soccer on this field,” head coach Ian Stone said. “I’m excited about hosting a Big East quarterfinal. We have worked for this opportunity for years. Georgetown is a great team and, by all means, it’s not going to be easy.”
The Red Storm will use the bye as a chance to catch up on rest as well as mentally regroup.
The team struggled the last three weeks of the season, getting shut out in four of its last seven games while winning the other three. Senior defender Nicole Doran said physical fatigue is a probable cause.
“The end of the season is always tough,” she said. “Your body breaks down after a while, after all of our games.”
Russell, who has played every minute of every game this season, is also looking forward to the break.
“The bye is huge because we get some rest,” she said. “It will be nice to have the extra rest.”
Stone said he will give the team Monday and Tuesday off and will try to “get back to as normal of a schedule as we can” with practice on Wednesday.
During practice, Stone said the team will focus on handling constant ball pressure and finishing shots.
“We’ll practice really hard,” senior defender Courtney Lane said. “It will be nice to have a couple of days’ rest and know we don’t have to play on Friday. We will be really fresh for Sunday.”
Though disappointed his team didn’t win their first-ever Red Division regular season championship, Stone also sees the bye week as reassurance that there won’t be a hangover from Sunday’s loss.
“I think they need to recover a little bit,” Stone said. “Today’s not only physically tough but the emotion part of the senior day is difficult. I think we’ll bounce back pretty quickly.”Russell agreed.
“We definitely need the time to re-group,” she said. “We have to just talk about our goals and what we want to do in the playoffs.”
With the bye week, the team is confident it will be ready for Sunday’s match against the Hoyas. The last time it faced the Washington, D.C. school was last year, losing 1-0 on the road.
“We’ll be fine,” Lane said.
“I don’t even think we need the bye. We played Friday and Sunday every week for the past seven weeks. We’re fine. One day’s rest is all we need. We’ll be ready.”