St. John’s soccer falls in second round of NCAAs to Oregon State

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

St. John’s soccer sees its season end in flat, 2-0 defeat to Oregon State 

On Sunday night in Corvallis, the St. John’s soccer team saw its season end at the hands of No. 1 seed Oregon State, 2-0.

The Red Storm were on the back foot from the very beginning with Oregon State utterly dominating possession in the early goings.

The Beavers scored within the first ten minutes thanks to that early dominance through Mouhameth Thiam on a shot to the left-hand corner that got past Luka Gavran.

The only time the Johnnies really threatened to score was right on the stroke of halftime.

A dangerous corner-kick sequence saw the Johnnies hit two shots off the crossbar by Aidan Borra and a shot by Brandon Knapp saved in a frantic finish to the half.

Other than that sequence, the Red Storm had nothing going offensively.

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As the theme has been for most of the season, the Johnnies were able to build well at times but just lacked the execution in the final third to create or finish any solid opportunities.

Gavran did his best to keep the score close as the junior made some big saves in the second half, but the offense could not capitalize.

The Beavers would add an insurance goal in the 85th minute off the foot of Javier Armas who sent in a fantastic long-distance shot that beat Gavran to his right side to put the game out of reach for the Johnnies.

The 2-0 loss marks the first time since its 2019 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 loss to Virginia that the Red Storm lost by a multi-goal margin.

It is a testament to the St. John’s defense, which is always its foundation, but this season the team  just did not have an attack to go very far in this tournament.

The St. John’s attack scored just 23 goals this season, which was tied for the 110th best offense in the NCAA this season.

However, the defense was exceptional, allowing just ten goals on the season prior to Sunday’s contest.

St. John’s soccer with question marks headed into next season

As much as defense wins championships, there has to be some sort of attack that threatens an opponent.

Whether intentional or not, the formula for victory for St. John’s became about being able to create that opportunity, hope the goalkeeper can make all the saves, and hold out for the tight win with some great defense.

Unfortunately, that is an unsustainable formula, especially with only two days of rest following the first-round victory over Princeton.

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A large by-product of that was the absence of Tani Oluwaseyi, which meant a lack of true finisher in the box for the Red Storm and others did not step up adequately enough to fill that role and replace his production.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding next season for St. John’s as most of its core that went to the Sweet 16 in 2019 will be graduating, including Oluwaseyi.

The defense will be entirely new except for Jared Juleau as important pieces like Knapp and Einar Lye will also graduate.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the freshmen and sophomore prospects who will fill these roles now will develop next season to hopefully start a new championship core and get the Red Storm back to the NCAA Tournament.

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