Jack Shearer tallied his third goal of the season for the Red Storm. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s communications dept.)
CHICAGO – Led by a brilliant effort from redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Withers, the St. John’s University men needed one goal to claim its third conference win of the season, downing DePaul University, 1-0, in a Big East game at Wish Field Saturday.
Withers recorded five saves, including three highlight-reel stops in the second half.
The Wellington, New Zealand, native has six shutouts, the most by a St. John’s keeper since Rafael Diaz recorded nine in 2013. Already among the national leaders in save percentage and goals against average, Withers improved upon both of those numbers, raising the former to .841 and lowering the latter to 0.69.
“It was a really gutsy effort,” St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur said. “I thought that our guys scrapped really well, especially in the second half, the back line did a good job of hanging in there and limiting their options. Withers made a few big saves on a couple of scuffles in front of the goal.”
Jack Shearer found the back of the net for the third time this season, moving him into a tie with Alistair Johnston for the team lead in points with nine (three goals, three assists). All three of Shearer’s goals have come in Big East victories.
The Red Storm (6-6-2, 3-2-1) helped its cause in the quest to lock up a Big East tournament berth, potentially breaking free of a three-way tie for third place in the standings with Marquette University and Creighton University. Both of those teams will be in action later Saturday as the Golden Eagles take on Xavier and the Bluejays face off against Providence. The Blue Demons fell to 4-9-2, 1-4-1.
“As most of the Big East teams know, Big East wins are tough to come by,” Masur said. “You have to battle every game and it’ll be no different whether we’re home or away, all the games are going to be really challenging. We have some really good athletes in our conference and some great coaches.”
The Red Storm struck in just the eighth minute. Harry Cooksley began the play in the middle of the field, sending a ball out to the left side for a streaking Matt Forster. DePaul goalkeeper Quentin Low tried to challenge the sophomore, who maneuvered past his marker and sent a shot toward the cage that was blocked by a defender. Forster corralled the rebound and touched it in front to an open Shearer, who buried it.
The Red Storm begins a two-game homestand, welcoming Villanova University to Belson Stadium Wednesday at 7 p.m.