St. John’s soccer finishes off the regular season with a win over the Wildcats
On a cold and chilly Thursday night at Belson Stadium, the St. John’s soccer team was set to finish the regular season against the Villanova Wildcats.
The Red Storm had already booked their ticket to the Big East Tournament prior to Thursday night when they took down Creighton in Omaha, but seeding for the tournament was still very much at stake.
Although it was Villanova, who is sitting at last place in the Big East and out of contention, looking to play spoiler early on as the Red Storm were pinned back and lucky not to concede early thanks to an amazing save by Naya Lipkens.
This certainly is not the first time the Bloomfield, Connecticut native has come up with huge saves for this St. John’s team, but as you get deeper into the season the saves become that much more important.
Then, the Johnnies started to settle in and pin the Wildcats back into their own half.
The Red Storm would create a number of opportunities including two from point-blank range but just could not punch one in and the game went to halftime scoreless.
The second half started the same way as the first half with Villanova coming out of the gates with some good spells of possession and play.
However, St. John’s would once again settle in after weathering the flurry from the Wildcats.
The Johnnies would finally capitalize on their chances and open up the scoring in the 54th minute.
On a counter-attack, St. John’s would eventually find Zsani Kajan on the left side who worked her magic one-on-one and finished off the move to put the Johnnies up 1-0.
The goal is the star striker’s 16th of the season which is second best in the country and just one goal behind Arizona State’s Nicole Douglas for the national lead.
The strike is also Kajan’s 44th career goal and she is now six goals off of Rachel Daly for the program’s all-time scoring record. The only chance the Hungarian native would have to break or tie the record is a deep run in the Big East Tournament.
Seven minutes later, St. John’s would double their lead through Nikki Gordon after Kajan unselfishly played a pass to her in the box to set up the sophomore.
The goal was Gordon’s second of the season.
Villanova threatened late as Chole O’Neil scored in the 85th minute on a high pass that looked like a cross, but instead was a chip and the ball got over the head of Lipkens and in to cut the Johnnie lead to 2-1.
The ‘Nova goal made the last few minutes interesting, but the Johnnies closed out the 2-1 win to end the regular season on a positive note.
St. John’s soccer enters postseason on positive note
The win results in St. John’s finishing the regular season with a 10-5-2 (6-3-1 Big East) record.
The 10 wins overall are the most for St. John’s in a season since 2016.
The Johnnies finish the regular season on a four-game win streak and with the No. 4 seed in the Big East Conference.
The St. John’s soccer program will be headed to the postseason for the first time since 2018 and the 16th time overall.
The Big East Tournament will begin with First Round matchups on Sunday and St. John’s will host No. 5 Providence at Belson Stadium.
The game will kick off at 1:00pm EST on the Big East Digital Network via FloSports.
The last time St. John’s and Providence faced off was in Queens on October 17, a game the Red Storm won 1-0 on a penalty kick slotted home by Kajan.
The winner of the matchup will face No. 1 seed Xavier in Cincinnati on November 4 in the Big East Tournament Semifinals.