QUEENS, N.Y. – Following a preseason that saw the team win two of its three matches, the St. John’s University men will kick off their season at Drexel University in Philadelphia Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Red Storm returns plenty of talent from its 2016 squad that compiled a 6-7-4 recorded and earned a win over a nationally ranked opponent for the first time since 2013 with a 2-1 victory over No. 11 Butler Oct. 15.
The Johnnies welcome back nine starters from last year’s team, including 2016 first team All-Big East selection and 2017 unanimous Preseason All-Big East honoree Harry Cooksley. Last season Cooksley led the team and tallied the highest point total by a St. John’s player since 2011 with five goals and six assists. With 4.47 shots per game, Cooksley finished fourth in the nation in that category.
St. John’s will look to another 2016 all-conference player in Alistair Johnston, who earned a spot on the Big East All-freshman team after finding the back of the net four times, including two goals against nationally ranked foes Syracuse and Butler.
Andrew Withers, who returns for his redshirt junior campaign in 2017, proved himself to be one of the top goalkeepers in the conference and the nation. The Wellington, New Zealand, native compiled a .840 save percentage to go along with a 0.77 goals-against average, which ranked eighth and 25th in Division I, respectively. Withers played his best soccer when it mattered most, matching or breaking a season-high for saves in each of his last four games, including a career-high nine ssves in the season finale against No. 25 Providence.
Friday night will mark the second consecutive season opener between the Red Storm and the Dragons. Last year on Aug. 26, the two squads played to a scoreless draw over 110 minutes of action at Belson Stadium.
The Red Storm will remain on the road, traveling to Baltimore for a Sunday night affair with Loyola.