St. John’s soccer set to begin 2021 season, hosts St. Joseph’s

St. John's soccer(Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)
St. John's soccer(Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images) /

The St. John’s soccer team is set to begin the 2021 season this Saturday.

It has been well over a year since the St. John’s soccer team has played a competitive game, 441 days to be exact since they last stepped onto the field.

It was a disappointing end to a thrilling season with a loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in the Round of 16 during NCAA Tournament.

That layoff will finally end this Saturday as the Red Storm officially begin an unprecedented spring season.

The Big East Conference postponed all fall sports to the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

St. John’s will take on the St. Joseph’s Hawks on Saturday at 1:00pm EST (ESPN3) to kick off the new season as part of a three-game non-conference schedule before conference play begins in a modified Eastern Division.

Saturday will be only the third ever meeting between the two programs.

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The Red Storm won both previous matchups, the first being a 3-2 win back in 1992 and a 2-0 score in their last meeting in 2016 in Belson Stadium.

St. John’s finished last season with a 14-5-1 record where it consistently featured in the Top-10 in most college soccer polls throughout the year and even rose to No. 1 in the RPI Index at one point in the historic run.

There is an expectation for the Red Storm to once again get back to the NCAA Tournament and possibly outperform last season’s finish.

The Johnnies were ranked No. 24 in the Top Drawer Soccer Top-25 Poll and even rose to No. 16 in College Soccer News’ poll last week.

How St. John’s soccer will fill holes from last season

If the Red Storm are to fulfill these expectations, they will have to do so without some key players like Skage Simonsen and Brandon Duarte.

Both players were constant fixtures in 2019’s stellar squad that set a school record with seven straight wins to start the season.

Duarte left due to graduation as he was a senior in 2019, but Simonsen’s departure may have been a bit more surprising.

Simonsen, now a junior, transferred after last season to SMU following two stellar seasons in the Red Storm midfield.

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The Norwegian native was named the Big East Freshmen of the Year in 2018 after scoring six goals and four assists in 18 games, followed by a team high six assists in 2019, including two game winning goals.

However, St. John’s still retains most of the core from last year’s impressive squad and looks to have the talent to overcome the departures as shown in the preseason rankings.

St. Joseph’s is coming off of a 5-12-1 season and are picked to finish No. 12 in the Atlantic-10 Conference this season.

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