Zsani Kajan connected for the game-winner 25 seconds into extratime. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Redshirt junior Zsani Kajan recorded a hat-trick to power the St. John’s University women to a 4-3 extratime victory in a Big East match at Villanova University Thursday afternoon.
Kajan, who tallied the second hat-trick of her career, became the second player in program history to record multiple three-goal outings. The Budapest, Hungary native joined former St. John’s standout Rachel Daly, who registered three over her Red Storm tenure.
Only 25 seconds into the extra period, Kajan picked off a pass from a defender, sending in an 18-yard shot from 18. This marked the third game-winning goal for Kajan and the eighth of her career.
With just under 30 minutes to play in regulation, and the Johnnies (5-11, 2-5) trailing, 3-1, Kajan and Samantha Masur scored goals to force extratime. St. John’s needed only one shot in that period as Kajan buried it home.
Kajan recorded her third multi-goal performance this season and the sixth of her career. She has found the back of the net a combined 22 times, moving into a tie for sixth place on the all-time scoring list.
Masur’s goal marked the second of her Red Storm career after the redshirt senior scored a game-winner earlier this season against Syracuse University.
Kayla Mesaros picked up her first point of the season, assisting on Kajan’s second tally of the match.
Goalkeeper Naya Lipkens earned the win, her first of conference play. The goalkeeper duo of Lipkens and Meredith Reinhardt turned aside five shots.
Villanova (7-6-3, 3-3-1) drew first blood as Brice McInroy powered a cross to the opposite side of the net in the ninth minute.
The Red Storm broke through five minutes later on a penalty kick by Kajan. The Johnnies’ forward blasted a left-footed shot past the goalkeeper into the corner for a 1-1 deadlock.
Coming out of the break, Villanova scored consecutive goals over a 10-minute span as Chloe O’Neill and McInroy found the range for a 3-1 margin.
In need of a heroic effort to erase the deficit, Kajan struck again for her second goal. She corralled a pass from Mesaros near the top of the 18-yard box before firing a shot to upper left corner of the net to pull the Johnnies within 3-2.
St. John’s recorded the equalizer in the 73rd minute off Masur’s goal. The sequence began off a corner kick as Alex Madden sent a right-footed ball to the far post. Michelle Money got a look on goal that was deflected by the goalkeeper and sent back to Masur. She then drilled one home for a 3-3 tie.
The Red Storm has two regular season games remaining as the squad welcomes Creighton University for a Sunday matinee before closing out the campaign with a contest at No. 14 Georgetown Oct. 31 at 2 p.m.