QUEENS, N.Y. — The second-seeded St. John’s University men will kick off postseason play, playing host to third-seeded Providence College in the semifinals of the Big East Men’s Soccer Championship at Belson Stadium Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The game will be broadcast live on the Big East Digital Network. John Fanta, Jamie Watson and Meghan Caffrey are the announcers.
The Red Storm (13-3-1, 6-2-1) will make its second Big East semifinal appearance in three seasons, most recently in 2017, after a convincing 3-1 win at Belson Stadium over Creighton University in the quarterfinal round before falling 2-1 to eventual champion Georgetown University.
The Johnnies will look to advance to their first conference title game since 2011, when they defeated the University of Connecticut for their ninth conference tournament crown. Wednesday will begin the Red Storm’s 28th appearance in the Big East Tournament, 25 under the direction of Dr. David Masur.
St. John’s is 35-17-4 all-time in Big East tournament matches with all 35 under Masur’s guidance (35-14-4).
After closing out the regular season with a road loss at Providence Wednesday night, the Red Storm fell out of the top 10 of the United Soccer Coaches poll for the first time in more than a month. The Johnnies dropped six places to No. 14, the first time since Oct. 1 (12th) that the Johnnies dipped below the 10 spot. he latest edition of the RPI released Monday morning had the Red Storm at No. 6, its lowest position of season. The Red Storm debuted at No. 2 in the RPI Oct. 14 and rose to the top spot a week later. Monday’s rankings mark the Johnnies’ first week outside the top four of the RPI this season.
The Friars, one of the hottest teams in the country, have won five consecutive games and seven of their last eight overall. In those eight matches, the Friars have scored two or more goals seven times and recorded four clean sheets.
Providence (13-5-0, 6-3-0) finished two spots out of this week’s United Soccer Coaches top 25 and moved up to No. 21 in Monday’s release of the RPI following its home win over the Johnnies.
Sophomore midfielder Paulo Lima has scored in each of his last five games for the Friars, including the game-winner against St. John’s. Another Portuguese product, Joao Serrano, is tied with Lima for the team lead in points with four goals and seven assists. A fifth-year senior, Serrano has assists in four of the team’s last five outings.
Goalkeeper Austin Aviza, a fifth-year senior out of Medway, Mass., has played all but 37 minutes. The owner of eight solo shutouts, Aviza has a younger sister, Isabelle, who recently earned a spot on the Big East All-Freshman Team playing for St. John’s women’s head coach Ian Stone.
The Red Storm and the Friars will meet in the tournament for the second consecutive year. The Johnnies will look to turn the tide of recent decisions in the series, as Providence is 7-0-1 against the Red Storm dating back to 2013. Of those wins, five have been by one goal.
St. John’s leads the series, 20-9-4.