St. John’s men’s soccer team proved yet again that they have the undeniable fortitude to make it to the big dance – while also providing some much-needed offense to generate a first-round win over Rutgers.
At Belson Stadium in Jamaica, the Red Storm blanked the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, 3-0. All three goals – scored by three different strikers – were in the second half of the thrilling Big East quarterfinal match.
First half action could only be defined by one word – defense.
St. John’s keeper, Derby Carrillo, guarded his net like this was the last time he would ever see those goal posts. He was a governing force on the field and with this shutout, Carrillo tallied his ninth shutout of the season.
“It’s a good feeling to post a shutout,” Carrillo said. “It’s a good team effort that was put out on the field, and I’m happy to share it with my teammates.”
The second half was a mirror image of St. John’s entire season. They came out firing and didn’t once look back.
In the 69th minute of the match, the Red Storm took the lead when midfielder Kyle Hoffer scooped up a pass from Sverre Wegge Gundhus and blasted a strike toward the goal that bounced off the top of the crossbar and ricocheted past the goal line.
The pressure was off for a moment, but St. John’s knew it was no time to let up.
St. John’s junior, John Tardy, put one in the back of the net from 12-yards out in the 77th minute of the Big East showdown – his first career goal in a red and white uniform.
Rutgers pushed the pace of the game while trying to fight back, to put at least one point on the board, but Carrillo was not having it. The Red Storm keeper only saved one shot all game, but that enough to secure the win.
Putting the final nail in the coffin, St. John’s took a 3-0 lead in the 86th minute of the game when Nelson Becerra bent in a scorcher due a free-kick that he was awarded off a penalty.
“Our plans for our semifinal match are to continue to work hard at practice and fix our mistakes and be focused for Friday’s game,” Carrillo said.
This win solidifies a semifinal showdown against Providence in the Big East Semifinals at 3 p.m. on November 13 at Dick Dlesk Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia.