St. John’s soccer takes down Creighton to continue their good start to Big East play
On Friday night, the St. John’s soccer team hosted Creighton in its first Big East home game in front of fans in two years.
It was the first time these two teams faced off since a St. John’s win in Omaha by the score of 2-0 back on October 19, 2019 due to the conference being split into two divisions last spring to limit travel amidst the pandemic.
The game was an intriguing back and forth contest with both teams having periods of success, but more often than not St. John’s had more of the possession and the better chances in this game.
The Red Storm had a great chance to open the scoring later in the first half as Einar Lye pounced on a long ball that the Creighton backline did not deal with well.
Lye strode forward and into the box, but could not get the ball out of his feet to deliver a shot to seriously trouble the Bluejays’ goalkeeper Paul Kruse.
The best chance to score for the Johnnies in the opening half came in the 43rd minute as a free-kick from Brandon Knapp was sent to the back post and found the head of Ethan Shaw, but Kruse was able to come up with the stop.
In the second half, the Johnnies continued to push and try to find the opening goal.
In the 51st minute, Jared Juleau had a fantastic chance to score as Knapp chipped it across to a wide-open Juleau at the back post, but the junior defender’s volley was straight at Kruse.
However, in the 57th minute, senior midfielder Daniel Espeleta fired a dangerous shot from outside the box forcing Luka Gavran to make a diving stop to his left.
St. John’s would answer right back as Wesley Leggett received the ball right outside the box, turned, and flashed a dangerous shot towards the top left corner but it was impressively saved by Kruse.
St. John’s were generating plenty of chances, especially in the second half, but were just not able to cash in on any of them and it was starting to get to the point where you felt that missing those chances would cost the Johnnies a chance at victory.
However, the Red Storm would be handed a gift in the 70th minute of the game as Rafael Bustamante sent a long ball forward for Wesley Leggett.
The ball went over Leggett’s head, but Creighton captain and senior defender Musa Qongo gave a soft back pass to Kruse which Leggett jumped on and touched the ball past Kruse to give the Red Storm the lead.
The goal was Leggett’s second of the season.
The Red Storm would then finish off the game in the 79th minute as a corner kick from Einar Lye connected with Atila Ashrafi at the back post and his header squeaked past Kruse at the near post to give the Johnnies a 2-0 lead late on.
The header was Ashrafi’s first goal of the season.
St. John’s soccer carrying momentum into Big East play
The match would finish by a score of 2-0 in favor of St. John’s as the Johnnies secure its fifth straight win and a 2-0 start in Big East play.
The win moves St. John’s to a 6-2 overall record while Creighton slumps to a 1-4-1 (0-2, Big East) record on the season.
It is good for the Johnnies to get wins like this because the road will not get any easier in conference play with the likes of No. 1 Georgetown and the defending Big East Champions Seton Hall, as well as recent tournament teams like Marquette and Providence.
Next up, the St. John’s soccer team will take a brief trip out of Big East play to finish its non-conference schedule on the road against Princeton on Tuesday at 8:00pm EST.