St. John’s soccer takes down DePaul in tough home win

St. John's soccer (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images)
St. John's soccer (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

The St. John’s soccer team grinds out a tough win at home to DePaul 

A win is a win and they don’t all have to be pretty, just like the St. John’s soccer team drew it up.

The Johnnies found a way to win a tough 1-0 match against the DePaul Blue Demons at Belson Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The win broke a three-game losing streak against DePaul for St. John’s.

Prior to yesterday’s win, the last time the Red Storm were victorious over the Blue Demons was back on October 15, 2016.

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The game would start out with the Johnnies controlling most of the possession and generating some early chances as DePaul tried to settle into the game.

St. John’s took advantage of its early dominance as they opened the scoring after just seven minutes into the game.

Zsani Kajan linked up with Nicole Gordon on the left side and Gordon fired a low cross into sophomore midfielder, Ava Collins, who finished with a powerful first-time shot into the top of the net. The goal was Collins’ third of the season.

After conceding the goal, DePaul would grow into the game and generated some scoring opportunities especially on set pieces, but nothing to seriously trouble Naya Lipkens.

If the first half gave some warning signs to the Red Storm defense, alarm bells were certainly going off in the second half as DePaul completely dominated the play.

St. John’s soccer withstands dangerous second half push from DePaul

In the second half, St. John’s just could not get out of their own half as DePaul pressed the Johnnies and looked for them to turn the ball over high up the field, The strategy nearly worked for DePaul if not for some good defensive plays from the Johnnies.

Lipkens was certainly busy as DePaul fired off 17 shots, 12 of them being on-goal, forcing a season-high 12 saves out of the redshirt junior goalkeeper.

St. John’s was on the ropes for the entire second half, but had a great counterattacking opportunity in the 74th minute as DePaul goalie Mollie Eriksson came about 40 yards out to deal with a long ball; however, she was beaten to it by Jessica Garziano and the ball fell to Isabelle Aviza who couldn’t convert on an empty net as the ball struck the outside of the post.

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After not being able to get the insurance goal, St. John’s had to continue to “park the bus” as DePaul kept pushing for a late equalizer and Lipkens eventually had to be called upon in order to secure the win for the Red Storm.

In the 86th minute, a through pass was played into the box to DePaul midfielder Beth Smyth and she fired a shot towards the back-post, but Lipkens was able to stretch out and get a fingertip to the ball to make a huge save for the Red Storm.

It was a much needed win for St. John’s, not only because you need to be strong at home if you are going to contend in the Big East, but especially because the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Red Storm with Butler (9-1, 2-0 Big East) and Xavier (8-1-1, 1-1 Big East) up next.

Ball progression is certainly a concernafor the Johnnies as UConn and DePaul have had periods of dominating the Red Storm, holding them in their half at times as well as defending set-pieces which have caused some nervy moments.

It is good that despite some of these issues that St. John’s is still winning, but these areas must be  improved upon if the Johnnies are going to continue its good start to Big East play.

The win moves the Red Storm to 6-2-1 (2-0, Big East) on the season.

Next up is a critical matchup for the St. John’s soccer team at home against Butler on Thursday at 7:00pm EST on FloSports.

The Johnnies have lost two of the last three matchups against the Bulldogs, but have never lost at home against Butler with the last game at Belson Stadium being a 2-1 victory back on October 7, 2018.

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