QUEENS, N.Y. – Coming off a season in which a young St. John’s University squad showed flashes of brilliance en route to its second consecutive Big East tournament appearance, Dr. Dave Masur Friday released his team’s schedule for the fall campagin.

A challenging slate that features non-conference matches against local foes and established national powers, including the reigning national champs, the Red Storm will face teams that finished .500 or better last season in seven of its eight non-league matches.

The Red Storm’s eight non-conference foes combined to go 73-51-23 in 2018, good enough for a .575 winning percentage.

St. John’s will face three teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA Division I Tournament, all of whom advanced to at least the second round. Maryland, which the Johnnies will visit Sept. 23, is the defending D-I champions.

The Red Storm will play three exhibition games prior to the start of the regular season, welcoming Fordham (Aug. 15) and Long Island University (Aug. 18) to Belson Stadium before closing out the preseason with a trip to Colgate (Aug. 24).

The Johnnies will the kick off the season with a road trip to The Tar Heel State, playing Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. Aug. 30 before closing out the weekend at NC State Sept. 1. Last season the Mountaineers went 8-6-3 while the Wolfpack registered a 10-7-3 mark en route to an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Red Storm will return to the metropolitan area for four games beginning Friday, Sept. 6, when the Johnnies welcome Manhattan College to Belson Stadium for the team’s home opener at 7:30 p.m. Manhattan went 12-6 in 2018, setting a season program record for wins.

St. John’s will welcome another local Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe to Queens Sept. 10, hosting Iona College at 7:30 p.m. The Gaels are coming off a 2018 campaign that saw the squad record double-digits wins with a record of 10-6-2.

The Red Storm will close out a three-game homestand with the first of consecutive games against Ivy League opponents, welcoming Penn to Belson Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. game Sept. 13. On Sept. 16, the Johnnies will make the short trip into Manhattan for a 7 p.m. showdown with Columbia University, which turned in a record of 10-5-1 and finished second in the 2018 behind Princeton University.

Conference play will begin for St. John’s Sept. 20 when the Johnnies welcome Xavier University to Belson Stadium for a 7 p.m. contest. The last time the Musketeers came to Queens, the Red Storm used three first-half goals to kick off the 2017 Big East campaign with a 3-0 victory. The Johnnies finished third in the regular season standings.

The crown jewel of the 2019 schedule awaits St. John’s Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., as the Johnnies will travel to College Park for a date with the reigning national champion University of Maryland Terrapins. St. John’s and Maryland share a vibrant series history, including two matches in the national semifinals. The Red Storm defeated the Terrapins in 2003 to advance to the final before Maryland replied five years later in the opening match of the 2008 College Cup.

St. John’s will return to conference play Sept. 28 with the first of consecutive conference road matches, traveling to Butler for a 7 p.m. showdown before returning to the Midwest the following weekend for an Oct. 4 game at Marquette University at 8 p.m.

The Red Storm will host its non-conference finale at Belson Stadium Oct. 8, welcoming Temple University to Queens at 7 p.m. The Johnnies and the Owls will square off for the third successive year, a series that has produced two Red Storm victories in as many meetings.

St. John’s will resume Big East play Oct. 12 with a Saturday night contest against Villanova at Belson Stadium.

One week later, St. John’s will travel to Creighton University’s Morrison Stadium for an 8 p.m. meeting with the Bluejays before welcoming defending Big East champion Georgetown University to Belson Stadium for a Wednesday game Oct. 23. St. John’s has defeated a ranked Hoyas squad in each of the last two regular seasons, including a win over No. 24 Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to secure a spot in the Big East Tournament.

St. John’s will make the short trip to Seton Hall University on Oct. 26 for a showdown with its cross-river rival. The Red Storm and the Pirates have faced one another more than any other opponent in the history of the two programs.

The Red Storm’s home finale will take place against DePaul Nov. 2 before the Johnnies close out the regular season with a trip to Providence Wednesday, Nov. 6. St. John’s and the Friars have meet in the final game of the regular season every year since 2015.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.