Tani Oluwaseyi lead Big East goal-scorers with 10 goals. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)
QUEENS, N.Y. – In need of three points to secure a top-two seed in the Big East tournament, the No. 8 St. John’s University men recorded a 4-2 win over DePaul University at Belson Stadium Saturday night.
The Red Storm, ranked third in this week’s edition of the RPI, improved to 13-2-1 and 6-1-1 in the Big East. St. John’s could tie Georgetown (14-1-1, 7-0-1) for a share of the regular season title, but the Hoyas would earn the tournament’s top seed by virtue of their Oct. 23 win at Belson Stadium.
The Red Storm will host its semifinal game against a yet-to-be determined foes at Belson Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.
Tani Oluwaseyi increased his league-leading goal total to 10, becoming the first St. John’s player to reach double digit goals since Simone Salinno tallied 14 times in 2003. Oluwaseyi also assisted on the Red Storm’s final goal to raise his point total to 24.
Brandon Duarte headed home the team’s second goal right after halftime while Einar Lye provided the game-winner on a penalty kick in the 55th minute. Rosen netted his first career goal in the 67th minute, becoming the 14th member of the Red Storm to score this season.
Jared Juleau recorded assists on the Red Storm’s first and second goals of the evening. Skage Simonsen also registered his team-leading sixth assist. Five of Simonsen’s six assists have been on goals scored by Oluwaseyi.
Goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner recorded the win, lowering his goals-against average to 0.47 with 45 scoreless minutes in the first half and improving to 7-1-0.
St. John’s outshot DePaul, 22-5, including a 14-4 advantage in chances on goal. The Johnnies also earned 17 corner kicks compared to the Blue Demons’ one.
“DePaul’s a really good team, they’ve played everybody tight,” Dr. Dave Masur said. “They’ve have a very high RPI and every game they’ve had has been a one-goal game, so we thought we were going to be in a real battle and we were. We had great ball movement and I thought we were selfless. We just have to keep pursuing and everybody’s got to work in practice, stay with it and keep our heads up and keep pushing for us to become a better team.”
The Red Storm recorded four goals for the third time in conference play and three or more goals for the fourth time in eight Big EAst games. St. John’s has 35 goals in 16 games, the program’s highest total since the College Cup team of 2008 scored 39 times in 25 games.
The Red Storm broke through in the 35th minute. The sequence began with a Juleau throw-in from the left sideline that found the feet of Simonsen. The sophomore sent a pass toward the six-yard box for Oluwaseyi, who played the ball down with his chest, evaded a defender and blasted a left-footed shot under the crossbar.
Following the intermission, the Red Storm wasted no time building its lead. The Johnnies earned a corner kick just a minute into the action, allowing Juleau to send a left-footed in-swinger to the far post for Duarte. The senior headed it with authority into the back of the net, bumping the St. John’s advantage to two goals.
A long shot for DePaul Jake Fuderer found its way into the cage in the 53rd minute, bringing the Blue Demons within 2-1.
The Red Storm responded immediately, as Juleau drew a foul in the box and was rewarded with a penalty kick in the 55th minute.Lye converted, sending keeper Drew Nuelle diving in the wrong direction for 3-1 lead.
Just over 10 minutes later, Oluwaseyi and Rosen teamed up. Oluwaseyi took a pass from Juleau on the left side and rocketed one on net, where it hit off the head of Nuelle before deflecting off the crossbar and finding Rosen. Rosen collected the rebound and stuffed it home.
DePaul scored again in the 79th minute.
The Red Storm will close out the regular seaso, traveling to Providence Wednesday at 7 p.m.