St. John’s soccer takes on Brown in First Round of NCAA Tourney

St. John's soccer (John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's soccer (John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s soccer season is not over just yet as the Johnnies continues its postseason run. 

A day after the heartbreaking defeat to Georgetown in the Big East Championship, the St. John’s soccer team learned that it had made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

The last time the Red Storm were in the NCAA Tournament was the final season with Rachel Daly and that stellar team that won 15 games.

The Johnnies not only made the tournament that year, but hosted the first-ever NCAA Women’s Tournament game at Belson Stadium against Boston University in the First Round.

Unfortunately, the Johnnies lost 2-1 in overtime.

This year, the Johnnies found out that they will head to Rhode Island to take on Brown University in their First Round matchup on Saturday at 1pm EST and the game can be seen on ESPN+.

The Bears finished with a 12-3 overall record this season including a perfect 7-0 record in Ivy League play.

Brown gets the Red Storm at home being the Ivy League Champions after taking down Yale 3-2 last Saturday in the finals.

St. John’s has some experience with the Ivy League having played against Harvard and Yale earlier in the season.

The Johnnies lost to Harvard in Massachusetts, 3-2 in overtime, on September 5 after coming back from being down 2-0 in the second half.

St. John’s also lost to Yale on the road by a 2-0 score in its final game of non-conference play on September 19.

The Johnnies will hope that the third time is the charm against Ivy League opponents this season.

This game will be a serious test of the Red Storm defense as Brown comes into the game with an offense averaging 2.4 goals per game.

ALSO READ: St. John’s rides veterans to season opening victory

The player to watch for is junior forward Brittany Raphino who has scored 11 goals and chipped in another six assists on the year.

The Randolph, Massachusetts native certainly is not the only dangerous player on the Bears as junior forward Ava Seelenfreund has eight goals on the season.

Brown has plenty of other playmakers as well, including senior midfielder Zoe Maxwell who is tied for the team lead with six assists.

St. John’s, of course, has the nation’s second-leading scorer and newly crowned Big East Offensive Player of the Year, for the second time in her career, Zsani Kajan to answer with.

The Hungarian has scored 17 goals this season and is five goals away from Daly’s all-time record of 50 goals scored in a St. John’s career.

The Johnnies also have Isabelle Aviza, Nicole Gordon, and Ava Collins in the attack among others to support Kajan.

St. John’s soccer looking for perfect game plan in NCAA Tournament matchup

The keys for St. John’s will be if the defense can once again stand tall as it has towards the end of the regular season and into the postseason.

Also, if the midfield can distribute the ball well enough to relieve the pressure on the defense and cause trouble for Brown, rather than being forced back for most of the game.

If the Red Storm cannot hold the midfield, it is going to be very tough to rely on the defense and play on the counter-attack with the high octane Brown offense that they are facing.

ALSO READ: St. John’s falls to Georgetown in Big East Championship

St. John’s has only played Brown four times in program history with the Bears victorious on three occasions, including the last two matchups.

The last game was a 2-1 Red Storm loss in Rhode Island on September 4, 2015.

The only victory for the Johnnies also took place at Stevenson Field which was a 4-0 scoreline on September 8, 2013.

The winner will face the winner of Samford and No. 4 seed Auburn on November 19.

Next. St. John’s romps Mississippi Valley State for easy victory. dark