QUEENS, N.Y. – St. John’s released its men’s soccer schedule for the fall season.
Coached by Dr. Dave Masur, the Red Storm will play 17 regular season games against challenging opposition, including five matchups against teams that competed in last year’s NCAA Division I Tournament and 11 games against squads that finished with records of .500 or better.
The Johnnies return two All-Big East honorees from a season ago, as first team selection Harry Cooksley will look to build upon an encouraging Division I debut alongside All-freshman team selection Alistair Johnston. The Red Storm also welcomes back goalkeeper Andrew Withers, who finished second in the conference in goals-against average (0.77) and save percentage (.840) as a redshirt sophomore, the latter of which ranked eighth in the nation. The team also returns 2016’s leading goal scorer in Filippo Ricupati along with a promising young defensive core.
St. John’s, which has been to four College Cups and won a national championship (1996) under Masur’s guidance, will open the season with three preseason matches, beginning with a trip to perennial national powerhouse Maryland Friday, Aug. 11, at 4 p.m. The Red Storm will close out exhibition play with two home contests at Belson Stadium, welcoming New Hampshire Monday, Aug. 14 at 4 p.m. playing host to LIU Brooklyn Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.
Regular-season action kicks off for the Johnnies six days later on Aug. 25, when the Red Storm travels to Philadelphia for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with Drexel. The Johnnies will open up the regular season against the Dragons for the second straight year, as the two teams played to a scoreless draw in their campaign opener last season, the first of six shutouts on the year for the Red Storm.
The Red Storm will remain on the road, taking a short trip down the coast to Baltimore for a 7:30 p.m. showdown with Loyola Maryland Sunday, Aug. 27. The Greyhounds finished 2016 with a record of 8-6-3, including a 1-1 draw with the Johnnies on Oct. 11 at Belson Stadium. Loyola returns 2016 Patriot League rookie of the year and first team All-Conference selection Brian Saramago, who scored 10 goals and recorded 23 points as a freshman.
St. John’s returns to Queens for its longest home stand of the year, playing four consecutive games at Belson the next two weeks. The Johnnies will open up this stretch against local rival and reigning Atlantic 10 champion Fordham University, which finished last season at 10-7-4 en route to claiming its second conference title in the past three seasons. That contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.
Following Labor Day Weekend, the Red Storm will welcome its second straight local opponent to Belson, as Hofstra University heads to Queens for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off Tuesday, Sept. 5. Finishing at 9-8-1, the Pride returns its leading goal-scorer from last year in sophomore Luke Brown, who netted eight tallies.
The Red Storm will close out its stretch in Queens against two out-of-town foes, taking on Temple Saturday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. before welcoming UC Santa Barbara to Belson for a 7 p.m. kick-off on Tuesday., Sept. 12. Both squads finished with records above .500 last season, as the Johnnies will close out a stretch of five successive games against teams that complied winning records in 2016.
The Big East season will kick off Saturday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m., as the Red Storm travels to South Orange, N.J., to meet Seton Hall. The Johnnies and the Pirates played a thriller to kick off conference action at Belson a season ago, as the Red Storm recorded a 1-0 victory despite playing the final 69 minutes of the match with 10 men.
A week later, the Red Storm will play conference home opener, welcoming the Xavier Musketeers to Belson for a 7 p.m. matchup Saturday, Sept. 23. The Musketeers, who finished last season at 8-8-3, return three of their top four goal-scorers in Matt Vasquenza (5), Matt Nance (3) and Derrick Otom (3). That trio also combined for 12 assists.
Following a short rest, the Red Storm will play its penultimate non-conference matchup Tuesday, Sept. 26, traveling to Lehigh for a 7 p.m. contest. Lehigh returns its top six goal scorers from a team that went 7-10-1, led by junior forward Mark Forrest, who tallied seven goals and four assists.
The Johnnies return to conference action Saturday, Sept. 30, traveling to Indianapolis for a 7 p.m. showdown with Butler. The 2016 Big East champions and the No. 15 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, Butler finished at 13-5-2 after falling in penalty kicks to SIU Edwardsville in the second round. The Bulldogs will look to replace Big East co-offensive player of the year David Goldsmith, who was one of 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy last season after recording 12 goals and 28 points. Last year, the Red Storm picked up a thrilling 2-1 win over No. 11 Butler Oct. 15, propelled by an 85th-minute goal from Cooksley.
The Red Storm will stay on the road for its next Big East matchup, traveling to Omaha, Neb., for a contest with Creighton Friday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. The Johnnies played the No. 10 Bluejays to a 1-1 draw at Belson last season, taking a point from a Creighton team that reached the third round of NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays will seek to replace two all-league talents in Ricardo Perez, the 2016 Big East midfielder of the year, and Alex Kapp, the 2016 Big East goalkeeper of the year.
St. John’s will close out non-conference action Tuesday, Oct. 10, traveling to Princeton for a 7 p.m. contest. Last season, the Tigers went 7-7-3, including a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Johnnies Sept. 8. Trailing 1-0 at the break, St. John’s netted three second-half goals and Withers made four big saves in the latter period to help the Johnnies earn their second win of the season in The Garden State.
The Red Storm returns home for three of its final five regular season games, all of which will come against conference opponents. The Red Storm will welcome Marquette to Belson Saturday, Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m., the opening game of a doubleheader alongside the St. John’s women. Coach Ian Stone’s squad will take on Seton Hall at 8 p.m.
The Johnnies return to action Saturday, Oct. 21, heading to The Windy City for a 2 p.m. match with DePaul. The Blue Demons finished last season with a record of 9-7-3, including a 1-0 extratime victory over the Johnnies on Oct. 29 at Belson.
St. John’s will play its final two home games of the regular season the following week, welcoming Villanova to Belson Stadium Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. before hosting Georgetown Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. Last season the Wildcats were one of four Big East squads to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, finishing at 10-8-3 after falling to Akron in the first round. The Hoyas closed out 2016 with a 6-9-2 mark, including a 3-4-2 effort in conference action. Georgetown lost its top two scorers from last season in Brett Campbell and Jon Azzinnari, but returns 2015 Big East freshman of the year and goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski.
The Red Storm will close out the regular season on the road, traveling north to Providence for a 7 p.m. match Wednesday, Nov. 1. Last season the Friars came within one win of a College Cup berth, falling to North Carolina in extratime in the quarterfinals. Providence will seek to replace conference co-offensive player of the year Julian Gressel, who ranked in the top 10 nationally in goals and points with 15 and 36, respectively, last season. The Friars return Colin Miller, the only goalkeeper in the Big EAst to outpace Withers in GAA (0.74) and save percentage (.848) last season.
The Big EAst Tournament will be played on three dates in November, with the first round occurring on Nov. 4 before the semifinals take place on Nov. 8. The championship game will then be contested on Nov. 12, with the higher seed hosting all postseason matches.