QUEENS, N.Y. – Coming off a 2-0 victory over Fairfield University, the St. John’s University women returns to Connecticut to take part in the CCSU Tournament hosted by Central Connecticut State.
The Johnnies will face UConn Friday, Sept. 1 at 4:30 p.m. before squaring off against Harvard Sunday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will be played at the CCSU Soccer Field and will be streamed live on NECFrontRow.com.
Junior Christina Bellero became the first player to score a goal in each of the team’s first three games since at least 2008 after the Melville, N.Y. native found the back of the net in the 64th minute at Fairfield.
Bellero has already matched her 2016 goal total three matches into the season. For her efforts in a five-point week that led to a pair of St. John’s wins, Bellero was named to the Big East weekly honor roll, marking the second consecutiveweek the Johnnies had a player featured on the list. After the first week, redshirt freshman Zsani Kajan earned a nod after scoring a goal in her collegiate debut against La Salle.
Against the Stags, freshman goalkeeper Antonia Tammaro made four saves to pick up the clean sheet in her collegiate debut. Lauren Ferris was the last St. John’s keeper to post a shutout in her first career start when she blanked Rutgers back in 2011.
UConn enters play following a 2-0 loss to No. 15 Rutgers in a battle of then-two top-25 programs. The Huskies tied Syracuse, 1-1, after 110 minutes in their season opener before falling to Yale, 1-0.
The Huskies began the season as the No. 14 team in the country according to the United Soccer Coaches Association preseason poll. UConn was picked to finish fifth in the American Athletic Conference after capturing the regular season and tournament titles last year.
After squaring off as Big Eastrivals for nearly two decades, the Red Storm and Huskies will meet for the first time since 2014. The two teams have met 22 times with UConn holding a 16-5-1 advantage. The Red Storm turned the tide of the series toward the end of the Huskies’ Big East tenure, winning four decisions and playing UConn to a tie in their last six meetings as members of the conference.
Harvard enters the tournament on the heels of a 2-0 loss at Northwestern on Tuesday. The Crimson were outshot, 17-7, and was held scoreless for the first time this season. Harvard is coming off its third Ivy League crown in four years, but graduated its top three scorers from 2016. The Crimson return first team All-Ivy performer, Dani Stollar and its 2016 assists leader Leah Mohammadi.
Sunday’s match between St. John’s and Harvard will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Since the program began in 1987, St. John’s is 15-12-5 against Ivy League programs. The Johnnies most recent match against an Ivy League member was last season, when the Red Storm defeated Yale, 3-2, in New Haven.
Following this weekend’s matches in Connecticut, the Red Storm returns home for a two games at Belson Stadium. The Johnnies will host Loyola Maryland and Lehigh Sept. 8 and 10, respectively. The game against the Greyhounds is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start, while St. John’s and Lehigh will kick off at 7 p.m. Both matches can be seen live on ESPN3.