Brandon Duarte became the fourth Red Storm player to be named Big East defensive player of the week this season. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)
QUEENS, N.Y. — Several recognitions rolled in for the St. John’s University men Monday morning, as the Red Storm checked in at No. 2 in the first RPI of the season and saw two of its student-athletes honored by the Big East.
The Johnnies, ranked 10th in last week’s United Soccer Coaches poll, trailed only undefeated Virginia in the first official RPI standings released by the NCAA Monday. The Red Storm’s 11-1 start is the best by a St. John’s squad since 1993, when the team won 13 of its first 14 games and opened the campaign with a 21-game unbeaten streak. The Red Storm is 4-0-0 the Big East for the first time since 2003 after defeating Villanova, 4-0, at Belson Stadium Saturday. Entering the contest, Villanova had surrendered three goals in 11 games.
Brandon Duarte became the fourth St. John’s player in just seven opportunities this season to be named the Big East defensive player of the week. Duarte, normally one of the team’s top midfielders, slid down to the backline this past week and helped the Red Storm record a pair of shutout victories against Temple and Villanova. On Saturday against one of the nation’s top defenses, Duarte helped the Red Storm outshoot the Wildcats by a 17-6 margin, including a 9-3 edge in shots on goal. The senior from Toronto also assisted on the Johnnies’ third goal of the ,match sending a cross into the box for Einar Lye, who headed it home for his first of two goals on the evening.
Luke Hansen, Matt Chandler and Rafael Bustamante also have been named the conference defensive player of the week this year.
Tani Oluwaseyi, last Monday’s Big East offensive player of the week, found a spot on the conference weekly honor roll after recording a goal and two assists in the Johnnies’ two wins. He scored the game-winner against Temple University Tuesday before assisting on the Red Storm’s second and fourth goals of the match against Villanova University.
Oluwaseyi has seven goals, the highest total by a St. John’s player since the College Cup season of 2008. Of those seven, four have been game-winners, good enough for seventh in the nation in that category. The sophomores seven goals and 17 points lead the Big East near the midway mark of conference play.
Through games played on Sunday, St. John’s ranks in the top 10 nationally in goals against average (0.40- fourth), shutout percentage (0.67- third) and total goals (28- eighth).
The Johnnies travel to Omaha, Neb., for a Saturday 8 p.m. showdown with Creighton University.