By Dylan Butler
Another chapter in one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in college soccer is set to be written Saturday night in Storrs, Conn. as the St. John’s men's soccer team will battle the University of Connecticut at Joseph J. Marrone stadium at 7 p.m.
Since Ray Reid took over the UConn program, the Huskies have held the advantage in the head-to-head matchups with St. John’s, going 3-0-1. Last year, the teams played to a scoreless draw at St. John’s DaSilva Memorial Field as the Huskies went on to win the NCAA championship.
In their last game in Storrs two years ago the Huskies defeated the Red Storm 3-0, the most lopsided loss ever in Masur's 11 years as St. John's head coach.
One of the strengths of last year’s Connecticut team was its stingy defense, anchored by Chris Gbandi, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Gbandi, though, will not be in the lineup Saturday, serving the sixth of a seven-game suspension because of NCAA violations stemming from an eligibility question.
UConn (3-1-1) is ranked No.5 in the recent National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association polls and needed double overtime to defeat struggling Villanova, 2-1, in its Big East opener Sunday.
After defeating Indiana and Butler to open the season, the Red Storm also didn’t play its best soccer in a 1-0 win at Providence Saturday in the conference opener, but it was good enough though to move St. John’s up a spot in the national rankings to No. 2 in the country behind Southern Methodist University, who occupy the top spot for a second straight week.
Leading the Red Storm are a pair of senior midfielders in Shalrie Joseph and Jeff Matteo. It was Matteo who provided the heroics for St. John’s against the Friars, scoring on a direct kick from about 30 yards out for the game’s only score.
Junior keeper Guy Hertz, a transfer from Mercer Community College, made two saves to earn his second straight shutout as he was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week for a second consecutive week.
UConn also has a quality goalkeeper in senior Bryheem Hancock, who has one shutout this year and a 1.07 goals against average. Pacing the Huskies offensively is sophomore forward Cesar Cuellar, the 2000 Big East Rookie of the Year. The Bolivian has two goals and an assist in the Huskies five games, including the game-tying goal against Villanova.
St. John’s volleyball team wins second tournament
The Red Storm volleyball team defeated Princeton University, 3-2, to capture the 2001 SJU Classic Saturday at Alumni Hall.
Junior Sarah McCray led St. John’s (7-1) with 21 kills and 40 digs, while sophomore Rosalyn Dang had 19 kills, nine assists and three service aces and junior Mischara Saunders had 17 kills and 11 digs.
Dang and Robyn Kuraski were named to the all-tournament team, along with Princeton’s Kelly Cramm and Michelle Buffum, as well as Trisha Nunnenkamp from Farleigh Dickinson and Eva Stefanac from Vermont. St. John’s junior Kristy Mercein was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player as the Red Storm also defeated Vermont and SDU by scores of 3-0.
After playing St. Peter’s in Jersey City, N.J. Tuesday, St. John’s heads to Lewisburg, Pa. for the Bucknell Invitational where they will face Bucknell, Iona and Duquesne Friday and Saturday.
St. John’s women's soccer goes winless at Binghamton Invitational
After losing 5-0 to Western Michigan Friday afternoon, the Red Storm (1-3) lost to host Binghamton, 1-0, in double overtime as Mary Fazio scored the game-winner for the Bearcats with 1:01 left to play in the second overtime session.
St. John’s outshot Binghamton 23-12, including two shots by Erin Zambelli that rang off the post in the first half. Bearcats keeper Lauren Cherry made seven saves to earn the shutout.
The Red Storm head to Pittsburgh, Pa. Friday to play the Panthers in a Big East clash at 7:30 p.m.
Red Storm golf takes eighth at Navy Fall Invitational
After struggling in the first round, the St. John’s golf team regrouped in the second round to finish eighth in the 27-team field at the Navy Fall Invitational in Annapolis, Md. this weekend.
The Red Storm, who finished 19 strokes behind tournament champion Vanderbilt, were led by sophomore Kyle Sleasman. who was tied for eighth at three-over par 145. St. John’s teammates Jesse Fitzgerald and Andrew Svoboda finished tied for 20th and Joe Saladino was tied for 76th overall.