By Joseph Staszewski
The St. John’s women’s soccer team had to wait 21/2 long and stressful days to find out if their season would continue in the NCAA tournament. What was another 20 minutes then?
An Internet issue in Taffner Field House stopped the live stream of the selection show about halfway though and the Red Storm had not been called yet. The players stayed off of their phones and social media, waiting to see it for themselves.
“Horrible,” red-shirt senior defender Georgia Kearney-Perry said. “We waited all day for that and then to have that extended by a 20-minute technical difficulty was awful, but worth it.”
Once the problem was fixed, the tension and nerves turned to elation and joy when the players heard it announced that the Red Storm will host Boston University 7 p.m. Saturday in the first women’s soccer NCAA tournament game ever at Belson Stadium. It is St. John’s second appearance in the tournament in the last three years.
“I thought we would make it, but to get a home game is a different level, especially on Belson.” Kearney-Perry said. “We are a very good home team.”
St. John’s, the regular season Big East champion, was left with an uneasy feeling after it was upset, 2-1, in the conference semifinals by eventual tournament champion Butler last weekend.
“ I was in tears after that game on Friday,” Daly said. “I slept in my uniform. I didn’t want to take it off.”
Now she will get to play in red and white for as long she and her teammates allow her to, thanks to the strong regular season they produced. St. John’s won a program record 15 games, lost just three times and went unbeaten at home. The Red Storm went into the playoffs ranked as high as No. 15 in the country.
The resume and the outcome of other conference tournaments left St. John’s feeling quietly confident heading into the selection show. Coach Ian Stone said this team and especially the seniors—including Emily Cubbage who elevated the program—earned this.
“It’s a reward for them, for all the hard work that have put in over the years.” he said.
St. John’s isn’t satisfied with just making the tournament and facing the Terriers, who took their third straight Patriot League title. SJU has enough experience and weapons to make a deep run at a national title, according to Stone.
Daly is the leading scorer in program history. She, Kearney-Perry and goalie Diana Poulin were named the Big East offensive player, defensive player and goalie of the year, respectively. Stone has also seen his young players grow, leaving him feeling there is isn’t a team in the country St. John’s can’t play with.
“I wouldn’t fear anybody we are matched up against,” Stone said. “I still think there is more to come with this group.”