St. John’s soccer defeats Princeton in non-conference finale

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

St. John’s soccer takes down Princeton at home to wrap up their non-conference schedule. 

Earlier this week, the St. John’s soccer team took a brief pause from Big East play to wrap up its non-conference schedule against Princeton in Queens.

The two teams squared off twice in 2021, once in the regular season and the other in the NCAA Tournament First Round at Belson Stadium, both were 1-0 wins to the Red Storm.

The contest on Tuesday featured some more scoring than those tight affairs last season.

Einar Lye started off the game’s scoring, deflecting a shot from Atila Ashrafi over the line in the 18th minute.

Ashrafi received a cutback pass from Nigel Griffith on the right side endline and the senior midfielder’s shot was shanked right into the feet of Lye who slid the ball into the open net for the lead.

The Red Storm would add to its lead ten minutes into the second half as Wesley Leggett fired a low shot past Princeton’s William Watson from a header sent back into the heart of the box by Adrian Roseth.

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Princeton ended the clean sheet attempt in the 77th minute on a header by Daniel Diaz Bonilla on a corner kick.

Lucas Gen flicked a header off the set piece back into the middle of the six-yard box where Diaz Bonilla was open to cut the St. John’s lead in half.

While the visitors put a ton of pressure on the Red Storm in the second half as they tried to get back into the match, the Johnnies were able to hold out for the 2-1 win.

Despite Princeton outshooting St. John’s by a 16-7 total, with 12 of the Tiger shots coming in the second half along with eight shots on goal to St. John’s five, the home side was able to be efficient in front of goal and do enough defensively to clinch its third win of the year.

Another thing to keep an eye on is freshman goalkeeper Zenden Hart exiting late in the first half due to injury. Hart missed the heavy defeat to Villanova last Friday due to a leg injury.

Emmanuel Smalios came in to finish the game between the pipes for the Red Storm.

St. John’s soccer looking to carry momentum

While it wasn’t the most convincing performance, especially for the way St. John’s wants to play at home, a win is a win and the Johnnies need to rack them up.

The victory moves St. John’s to a 3-5-1 (1-1 Big East) record, while next up is a road trip to Seton Hall on Saturday at 7:00pm.

The last time these two sides met, it was a double-overtime scoreless tie last October at Belson where the Red Storm put the Pirates under siege for most of the game but could not find a breakthrough.

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Of course, this season overtime is no longer a possibility in the regular season as according to the new NCAA rules.

St. John’s sits at third in the conference with a 1-1 record while Seton Hall (3-1-4) has yet to record a Big East win, so far sitting in sixth with an 0-0-2 conference record after a pair of 2-2 ties to Xavier and Providence.

After winning the Big East in a COVID-shortened season in the Spring of 2021, the Pirates missed the postseason altogether last season and need to start racking up some wins in order to avoid that fate in 2022.

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