Tani Oluwaseyi recorded his first career brace for St. John’s. (Photo courtesy of the St. John’s SID)
MILWAUKEE – Closing out a three-game road swing at Marquette University Friday night, the St. John’s men jumped out to a first-half lead and never looked back en route to a 4-0 Big East victory at Valley Fields.
The Red Storm improved to 3-0-0 in Big East play for the first time since 2004. The Johnnies’ 9-1-0 record marked the program’s best start through 10 games since the 2008 team went 8-0-2 en route to a 19-3-3 finish and a spot in the College Cup.
The win snapped a seven-game winless streak against the Golden Eagles (4-5-1, 1-2-0) dating back to 2010. Prior to Friday’s four-goal outburst, the Red Storm had not found the back of the net against Marquette since 2010.
Rafael Bustamante and Atila Ashrafi scored their first career collegiate goals Friday. Bustamante netted the game-winner in the 35th minute before Ashrafi bumped the lead to 2-0 20 minutes later.
Tani Oluwaseyi registered his first career brace with two late insurance goals, scoring in the 62nd and 88th minutes. Oluwaseyi incased his goal total to six, for both the team and conference lead.
Four Johnnies logged assists as Matt Forster and Einar Lye chipped in on the game-winner before Niko Petridis assisted on the second and Skage Simonsen helped on the fourth.
Goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner and Luka Gavran made two saves apiece to log the team’s sixth clean sheet. Hoffelner started and improved to 4-0-0.
The Red Storm’s first corner of the game yielded immediate results. Forster sent a left-footed ball to the near post to Lye, who tapped it to the top of the box toward an open Bustamante. The junior from Queens, N.Y. blasted a left-footed strike into the top left corner of the cage for a 1-0 lead.
After nearly breaking through in the 48th minute, the Johnnies converted seven minutes later. Petridis dribbled down the right sideline before sending a low cross into the box for Ashrafi, who blasted one off goalkeeper Cedrik Stern and into the net.
The Johnnies increased the lead to three in the 62nd minute, as Oluwaseyi intercepted a pass near midfield and dribbled a few yards before sending a long left-footed chance toward the cage. His shot deflected off the keeper and into back of the net.
Oluwaseyi added another goal for good measure in the closing minutes. Simonsen began the sequence on the opposite side of midfield before threading a ball through traffic toward Oluwaseyi. The sophomore dribbled to space before beating the keeper 1 v 1.
The Red Storm will return home to Belson Stadium for its non-conference finale against Temple University Tuesday at 7 p.m.