Skage Simonsen started the Red Storm on their rout. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)
QUEENS, N.Y. – Entering Saturday night’s match at Belson Stadium, the Villanova University men had surrendered only three goals in 1,021 minutes this season.
No. 10 St. John’s University needed 79 minutes to more than double that total, as the Red Storm remained perfect in Big East play with 4-0 win over the Wildcats.
The Johnnies improved to 4-0-0 in the conference for the first time since 2003, a season that saw the Red Storm reach the national title game. St. John’s climbed to 11-1-0, marking the first time the Johnnies have won 11 of their opening 12 decisions since 1993, a season that began with a 21-game unbeaten streak.
The Red Storm’s fourth consecutive win to start conference play maintained the Johnnies’ two-point lead over Georgetown University in the Big East.
“We’re happy to get a Big East win,” said Red Storm head coach Dr. David Masur, who recorded his 419th career victory. “It’s great for the guys and great for a lot of different people to get in the game and really make contributions.”
Einar Lye registered his second multi-goal outing of the season for St. John’s, adding insurance scores in the 65th and 79th minutes to help put away the game. The sophomore from Undheim, Norway, also scored twice against Iona Sept. 10.
Skage Simonsen netted the game-winner, heading home a corner kick in the 35th minute to give St. John’s a lead it did not relinquish.
Jared Juleau registered his first collegiate goal, finishing a back-and-forth sequence with Tani Oluwaseyi in the 53rd minute. The assist was one of two on the evening for Oluwaseyi. Brandon Knapp, Brandon Duarte and Luke Hansen also logged assists.
Goalkeepers Luka Gavran and Jan Hoffelner combined to record the team’s eighth shutout of the season. Gavran, who played the final 45 minutes, made two of the team’s three saves. The third belonged to a field player, as Duarte turned aside a shot on the goal line in the second half to help preserve the clean sheet.
St. John’s dominated the possession game, outshooting the Wildcats, 17-6, including a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Red Storm also earned seven corner kicks while allowing none.
The Red Storm struck for its first goal in the 35th minute. Knapp sent an out-swinging corner kick to the near side of the six-yard box for Simonsen, who headed it across his body and into the far side of the cage beyond the reach of goalkeeper Carson Williams.
“Fantastic first goal from Skage, that really opened the game and made them press forward and that’s what we want to do,” Masur said. “We’re hopeful to get a set piece goal and hopeful to get a head ball in the six and we did, so that’s a big bonus for us.”
St. John’s continued to apply pressure in the early going of the second half, raising its lead to 2-0 following a nice goal-scoring sequence between Oluwaseyi and Juleau. Lye kicked off the play with a pass down the left side for Oluwaseyi. Oluwaseyi played it toward the middle for Juleau, who played it back wide to Oluwaseyi. Oluwaseyi drew the attention of several defenders before sending it back to Juleau as the freshman buried it in the 53rd minute.
Juleau became the 13th Red Storm to score a goal this season.
Lye then headed home his third and fourth goals of the year in the 65th and 79th minutes to seal the decision. The first involved a series of skillful passes, as Hansen played a ball down the right side for Duarte, who crossed it into the box for a waiting Lye. The second goal resulted from brute force, as Oluwaseyi rocketed a shot off the hand of Williams to a waiting Lye, who banged it home and increased the Red Storm to 4-0.
St. John’s visits Creighton University Saturday at 8 p.m.