St. John’s soccer took down Connecticut as the two programs reignited its storied rivalry.
It was a beautiful evening in early March as the sun set glancing over Belson Stadium, it was a great night to see the return of two of the Big East’s most successful programs, the St. John’s soccer team and the Connecticut Huskies.
Going from 1983 to conference realignment in 2013, either St. John’s or UConn won 16 of the 29 editions of the Big East Tournament.
Prior to Georgetown winning the National Championship in 2019, the Red Storm and the Huskies were the only two programs in the Big East to have reached the mountaintop of college soccer.
During the Huskies’ time in the AAC, these two teams only met once, resulting in a 3-1 victory for the Red Storm at Belson Stadium on September 23, 2014.
The last time these two faced off in the Big East prior to Wednesday night was the 2011 Big East Championship which St. John’s won, 1-0.
Wednesday’s matchup was all about the Red Storm as they took down UConn (1-2, 0-2 Big East) in a commanding 2-0 victory in Queens.
The win moves St. John’s to 3-1 (1-1 Big East) in this spring season.
Aside from the first 20 minutes of game, UConn never truly threaten the Red Storm as the Huskies’ most clear cut chance of the game came in the 16th minute when they forced goalie Jan Hofflner into a double save in quick succession.
St. John’s had a chance to take the early lead in just the 4th minute as midfielder Drew Rosen sent a cross to the back-post looking for Matt Forester, but he couldn’t get the proper power on the ball to steer it home.
The Red Storm would continue to knock on the door until the breakthrough came in the 20th minute once again from Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Tani Oluwaseyi for his fourth goal of the season. The goal came from a pass into the box from Anthony Herbert.
Herbert, a junior transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson, was a surprise addition to the frontline since he’s mostly plied his trade as a outside defender or midfielder, but was called into the forward line due to the Red Storm not having some key players available.
Herbert would also assist on the Johnnies’ second goal of the night as he set up Jared Juleau for a thunderbolt of a volley from just inside the box in the 57th minute.
Things got chippy between the Juleau and UConn’s Moussa Wade received a red card and was sent off in the 70th minute, which also made closing out the game much easier for St. John’s.
St. John’s soccer victory might have been costly
However, the win may have come at a cost as Tani Oluwaseyi was on the wrong end of a crunching tackle at the end of the first half.
The junior forward tried to continue on as he was on the field for the start of the second half, but then came off just before the second goal was scored.
Oluwaseyi came back shortly in the last 10 minutes of the game, but was heavily limping and exited once again.
Tani Oluwaseyi’s health will be a big concern for St. John’s in the next couple of days as losing him for an extended period of time would be a devastating blow for the Red Storm season.
St. John’s will next take on Villanova in Belson Stadium on Saturday at 5:00pm EST.