College Round-up: SJU women’s soccer garners Big East bid

By Dylan Butler

While the St. John’s women’s soccer team was not happy with losing 2-0 at Virginia Tech Sunday, the Red Storm knew two days earlier they had clinched their first Big East tournament bid in six years, courtesy of the Hokies’ tie against Syracuse.

Thanks to help from some conference foes and the edge in a couple of tie-breakers, St. John’s returns to the tournament for the first time since upsetting powerhouse Connecticut en route to winning the title in 1994.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” said St. John’s head coach Ian Stone. “If there was one thing we decided in the beginning of the season it was to make the Big East tournament. I’m certainly excited, but I don’t think it has sunk in yet with the girls.”

As unlikely as that Big East championship was, St. John’s (5-9, 3-3 Big East Northeast Division) bid for another conference crown is even tougher this year.

The Red Storm, the fourth place team in the Northeast Division, will face mighty Notre Dame, the No. 4 ranked team in the nation and first place team in the Mid-Atlantic division, in the quarterfinals in South Bend, Ind. Nov. 4, at 1 p.m.. The Fighting Irish (11-2-1, 5-1) routed the Red Storm, 7-0, Oct. 12.

“They’re a great team and playing them at their field makes it tremendously difficult,” Stone said. “We have to go in thinking we can win. When we won last time, we had to beat UConn in Connecticut. We have nothing to lose.”

In the Red Storm’s Big East finale Sunday in Blacksburg, Va., Virginia Tech (7-6-3, 1-3-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute when Ryan Johnson picked up a loose ball and beat Red Storm keeper Tina Fogg. Johnson, the Big East Rookie of the Week, assisted on the Hokies second goal of the half as she found Carmen Chestnut, who lofted the ball into the net in the 32nd minute.

The Red Storm finish the regular season with a pair of games against local foes. After hosting Manhattan at DaSilva Memorial Field Wednesday at 7 p.m., St. John's hosts Stony Brook Oct. 31 at 3 p.m.

SJU Men’s Soccer drops to No. 5 in the nation after a 1-0-1 week<BR>

The St. John’s men’s soccer team climbed into a four-way tie for first place in the Big East conference, but dropped one place in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America polls because of a disappointing 1-1 tie at Virginia Tech Sunday.

The Red Storm should have been sky-high following a huge 1-0 win at Seton Hall last Wednesday, but instead struggled to finish against a Hokies team that is not likely to make the Big East tournament.

“It was a tough match,” said St. John’s head coach Dave Masur. “We had some chances, but weren’t able to capitalize. You never like leaving with a tie, but we’ll have to regroup and get ready for next week.”

For a second straight weekend St. John’s (8-0-3, 4-0-3) outplayed and severely outshot a less talented conference foe, but as was the case in last weekend’s 1-1 tie at Pittsburgh, the Red Storm did not come away with the expected ‘W.’

After trailing 1-0 at the break, the Red Storm, who outshot Virginia Tech (7-5-1, 1-4-1) 26-13, tied the game in the 70th minute when junior Alberto Duenas dished to Angel Rodriguez and the sophomore chipped a floater past Hokies keeper Nate Nibler.

After six straight games away from home, St. John’s returns to DaSilva Memorial Field for the first time in a month to face Big East foe Syracuse (7-4-1, 4-3-1) in the first round of the SJU Nike Classic. The Red Storm’s second-round game, against Ohio State (8-3-2) Sunday at noon, will be played at Adelphi’s Stiles Field in Garden City, L.I.

SJU Women’s Basketball team to host season-opening celebration

The St. John’s women’s basketball team will host its 2001-02 season-opening celebration Sunday at 1 p.m. at Alumni Hall. After player introductions, fans will get a chance to get their first glimpse of this year’s Red Storm as they play in a 20-minute Red-White scrimmage.

Fans will get a chance to participate in various contests with a chance to win Red Storm prizes. An autograph session with the entire team will conclude the day’s festivities. Admission is free.

The Red Storm begin its 2001-02 season Monday, Nov. 12, in an exhibition game against the Basketball Travelers at Alumni Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Astoria’s Antonescu leads Hunter to CUNY tennis crown

Astoria resident Iris Antonescu, a junior on the Hunter College women’s tennis team, rallied to beat Liza Dungo, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in first singles as the Hawks defeated the College of Staten Island to win their second straight CUNY women’s tennis championship at the National Tennis Center Saturday. Antonescu, a three-year No. 1 singles player, led Hunter (8-6, 7-0) to a 51-point two-day total, the most in tournament history.

Men’s Soccer

York 6, St. Thomas Aquinas 0. Marc Meo and Eduardo Brito had a goal and an assist apiece to lead York (8-2).

York 5, Staten Island 0. Paul Cardoza led the way for the Cardinals with a goal and two assists in the CUNY win. Stephane Koutouo, Kevin Lee and Cheick Kieta also scored for York (6-0 CUNY). Chris Consolmagno made 16 saves for CSI (6-5, 5-1).

Women’s Soccer

New York Tech 1, Queens College 0. Keeper Mary Okolski made 15 saves in the loss for Queens (5-7, 2-3 New York Collegiate Athletic Conference).

Mercy 2, Queens College 1. Bayside resident Heather Lawson scored the lone goal for the Lady Knights. Mercy improved to 4-7-1.

Women’s Volleyball

Seton Hall 30-31-30, St. John’s 27-29-24. Robyn Kurasaki had 14 digs and 35 assists and Kristy Mercein added eight kills and 11 digs in the Red Storm’s (15-5, 4-2) third straight loss.

Miami 30-30-30, St. John’s 26-21-28. Rosalyn Dang had 13 kills and eight digs for the Red Storm in the loss to Miami (8-7), a first-year program that will enter the Big East next season.

Queens College 30-32-30, Adelphi 24-30-23. Noelia Castillo had 23 kills and Allison Campbell added 48 assists for Queens (17-4, 6-0), which is tied atop the NYCAC standings with Mercy and New York Tech.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.