It wasn’t a must win match for the St. John’s men’s soccer team, but it sure felt like one.
In front of a roaring sold-out crowd of 2,518 fans at Belson Stadium in Jamaica, the 15th ranked team in the country opened up Big East play with a decisive 2-0 victory over the Georgetown. The Red Storm lost the previous game at Boston University and meagerly stuck in it with Indiana and Stony Brook to record two dreary ties – the hometown fans couldn’t deal with another one.
In the first half, the ball movement was sluggish and the crowd was restless. The only positive offensive movement was a couple headers by Josh Faga in the 23rd and 38th minute, which soared wide left and had little affect on the team’s morale.
Both the offense and defense looked stagnant, but the Hoyas posed little threat.
In the second half, two of St. John’s team captains fired up the team and provided a scoring spark.
The hollering fans got back into the game and so did the Storm. After midfielder Nelson Becerra’s shot missed and clanked off the top of the goal post, the two captains, Adam Himeno and Tadeu Terra, took over.
In the 80th minute, Himeno gobbled up a pass from Walter Hines and swiftly decked the Hoyas goalie and knocked down a wide-open goal.
“That goal felt amazing for me,” Himeno said about his first goal of the season. “This win means a lot to us, and we are just going to try and come out and do this every night,” added the junior, who watched his team go the NCAA final four without him last year due to two broken feet.
With only 10 minutes left in the game, the crowd could smell a victory.
A quick fast break with 30 seconds left led to another opportunity for St. John’s to put a nail in the coffin.
Midfielder and captain Terra received a leading pass from Becerra and emphatically drove it into the back of the net. The entire team flocked to the center of the field and celebrated as the clock ran out.
“The goal took a lot of pressure of my shoulders,” Terra said. “The team looked good tonight … we just had better legs and better team decisions then [Georgetown].”
The team combined for 17 total shots and goalie Derby Carrillo had four saves. Their record stands at 2-1-2.
With more Big East action ahead of them, St. John’s looks to make another run at the NCAA championship.