Christina Bellero tallied her team-high seventh goals this season. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s Communications Dept.)
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Playing on the road for the second-to-last time during the regular season, the St. John’s University women recorded an important 2-1 Big East victory over Villanova at Higgins Soccer Complex Thursday evening.
The Red Storm (7-8-1, 3-4-0) used a pair of second-half goals and a strong defensive effort late to earn the win. The Wildcats fell to 6-10-0 overall and 2-5-0 in league.
Junior Christina Bellero kicked off the scoring with her team-leading seventh goal in the 47th minute. The Melville, N.Y., native has scored in back-to-back games after netting the game-winner against Seton Hall last week. Redshirt freshman Zsani Kajan scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 67th minute for her second tally of the season.
“This was a good Big East road win for our program,” St. John’s head coach Ian Stone said. “I felt that we played well and executed the game plan perfectly. However, we now need to move on and prepare properly for Xavier.”
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jordan Kamp made five saves to earn her sixth win of the season.
As a team, St. John’s won a season-high 11 corner kicks and held Villanova to just three. The Wildcats managed to outshoot the Red Storm by a slim 15-14 margin, but the Johnnies sent nine total shots on goal to Villanova’s six.
For the Johnnies first goal, Lucy Whipp sent a lead pass to Bellero from the middle of the field to the near side and Bellero sent a curling shot from the left just inside the right post in the 47th minute for a 1-0 advantage. Bellero has doubled her career goal total after entering her junior year with seven in two seasons.
In the 67th minute, Whipp again made things happen. The junior drew three defenders at the top right corner of the box and sent a pass to Kajan, who stationed herself at the top of the box in the middle. With an open look at net, Kajan ripped a shot past the diving goalkeeper Emily Harris for a 2-0 lead.
Villanova, looking to mount a comeback, cut the lead in half just over a minute later when Bri Austin found the back of the net.
The Johnnies host Xavier at Belson Stadium at 1 p.m. Prior to the start of the match, St. John’s will honor its graduating seniors who will be playing in their final regular season home game at Belson Stadium. Fans can catch the action live on the Big East Digital Network.