The St. John’s soccer team pulls out a tense draw on the road against UConn.
On Saturday night, the St. John’s soccer team traveled up to Storrs, Connecticut to take on the UConn Huskies as the Johnnies were looking to extend its winning streak to seven.
Instead, the Red Storm stayed unbeaten in its last seven games, and in Big East play, with the 1-1 draw.
The match was very tense between St. John’s and UConn as the historic rivalry between the two programs was certainly on display.
The teams combined for 27 fouls throughout the game.
Early, the game was a back and forth affair but the Red Storm had the better chances as Micaah Garnette had a shot blocked in the box in the 10th minute and Andrew Bennett skied a shot over the bar just a minute later.
The Johnnies would take the lead in the 23rd minute as Lucas Bartlett took advantage of a mistake by the Huskies’ backline as Bartlett slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jahmali Waite off of the soft backward header.
The shot was the defender’s third goal of the season.
However, St. John’s would not get to enjoy the lead for long as UConn got the equalizer about a minute later as midfielder Jayden Reid fired off a bullet of a shot that went past Gavran to his right.
The goal by the Huskies ended the Johnnies’ shutout streak that had lasted over 390 minutes.
No other major chances would come for the rest of the first half as the match was evenly contested throughout and the teams would head into halftime tied at a goal apiece.
Coming out of the gates in the second half, the Red Storm were on the front foot as Johan Aquilon had a shot on target saved in the 48th minute.
St. John’s soccer gets physical with UConn
Then, things got interesting.
In the 56th minute, St. John’s had an offensive burst with back-to-back corner kicks and both were unsuccessful. But the corner kicks were not the interesting part.
After the second corner kick went out for a goal kick, words were exchanged between Bennett and Waite and Waite kicked Bennett in the back of the leg.
After a long conference between the referees, the official gave the UConn goalie a yellow card but did not award a penalty for the Red Storm.
Perhaps, the referees decision was more about what was said in the tense exchange between the two players rather than the kick by Waite. Nonetheless, it was an extremely strange situation.
The game was chippy overall as five yellow cards would be issued in the match, three to the Huskies and two to the Red Storm.
St. John’s would get its best look on the net since the first-half goal in the 63rd minute, but Aidan Borra could not keep the shot on net.
As the half went on, UConn would grow back into the game as the home team tried to get a winner late.
Reid had another shot on net in the 87th minute, but this time it was high and easier for Luka Gavran to deal with.
The match would head to overtime and UConn would control most of the extra time periods.
The Red Storm would need the heroics of Luka Gavran to secure a result yet again in the 100th minute as he made a fantastic save on an equally fantastic low shot by Maxwell De-Bodene to his left.
The Hamilton, Ontario native has come up huge for St. John’s on several occasions this season with some big saves that have secured wins for the Johnnies.
St. John’s would hold on for the draw and come away with a solid result on the road against a tough Huskies team.
The draw moves the Red Storm to 7-2-1 overall (2-0-1, Big East) while UConn moves to 4-3-1 (0-2-1, Big East).
Next, St. John’s soccer comes home for a huge game against Providence on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:00pm EST on the Big East Digital Network via FloSports.
The last time these two teams matched up, the Red Storm came away with a 2-0 road win on March 10 in the spring 2021 season.
The last matchup between the two sides at Belson Stadium was the Big East Tournament Semifinals on November 13, 2019 where the Johnnies fell by a score of 2-1.