St. John’s soccer takes season opener against St. Joe’s

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

St. John’s soccer wins its 2022 season opener against St. Joseph’s. 

The St. John’s soccer program kicked off its 2022 season with a hard-fought 2-1 win at home over Saint Joseph’s on Thursday night.

The contest was much different than the matchup between the two sides last year when St. John’s ripped off five goals, all in the second half, to cruise to a 2-0 record on the season.

Most of the first half saw more of the possession and key chances go in St. John’s favor.

The Red Storm showed solid play through the middle of the field, opening up its wingers to get forward and into some great spaces to deliver crosses into the St. Joe’s box.

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Some newcomers, in particular the combination of freshman Emily Riggins and graduate transfer Molly Feighan, had some bright spots in their Red Storm debuts.

St. John’s would eventually find a breakthrough in the 37th minute as sophomore Lauryn Tran drove down the right wing and earned a penalty for the Johnnies. Senior midfielder Jessica Garziano stepped up and slotted the penalty kick home for the 1-0 lead.

Garziano, who was named to the Preseason All-Big East Team and the United Soccer Coaches Women’s Players to Watch List for 2022, matched her goal total from last season looking to help chip in to fill the void left by the graduated superstar Zsani Kajan in the attack.

St. Joe’s threatened a bit on set pieces and still forced four saves out of the Red Storm keeper Gina Muzi in the first half.

Muzi, a senior for St. John’s from Wisconsin, had been the backup to the now departed Naya Lipkens for the better part of the last two seasons now gets the start in 2022.

St. John’s soccer tested in second half

St. John’s would head into the halftime break with the lead, but it was the visitors who were on top in the second half.

St. Joe’s had much more possession and posed much more of a threat than they did in the first frame.

The Hawks would be rewarded with their improved play with the equalizing goal in the 70th minute through a shot Miranda Behr after being left wide open at the back post on a cross to the left side of the Red Storm box.

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The Johnnies would take back the momentum and dominated the final ten minutes of play as they pushed on for a go-ahead goal.

After several great chances including a goal-line clearance of an Isabelle Aviza shot, Nicole Gordon fired a powerful shot from just inside the box in the 85th minute to give St. John’s its second lead of the night.

The junior forward cut to the middle from the left side and found a gap just inside the middle of the Saint Joseph’s box and fired a great right-footed shot to the keeper’s left side to hand the Johnnies the season-opening win.

St. John’s will head to New Jersey this Sunday to take on NJIT at 12:00pm. looking to move to a 2-0 record in the new campaign.

The two programs in last year’s opener as the Red Storm emerged victorious, 3-0, in the teams’ first all-time matchup.

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