Tani Oluwaseyi led St. John’s with 11 goals. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)

For the first time in years, the St. John’s University men rose to the heights it enjoyed from 1996-2008. The Johnnies not only booked spot in the NCAA Division I men’s playoffs, it earned a first-round bye  and reached the Round of 16.

The Red Storm (14-5-1) advanced to its 21st NCAA Tournament in program history and earned a national seed for the ninth time. After receiving a first-round bye, the 16th-seeded Red Storm downed Syracuse University, 2-1, to advance to the Round of 16 for the 12th time and the first since 2008.

On Nov. 30, the Johnnies saw their tournament run come to an end, losing to No. 1 University of Virginia, 3-0, at Klockner Stadium.

The Red Storm rose to No. 4 spot in the nation as it won its opening five Big East games for the first time since 2003. That side featured a Big East regular season championship and a national runner-up finish.

In a battle of top 10 teams on Oct. 23, St. John’s dropped a 3-0 decision to eventual Division I champion Georgetown University at Belson Stadium. A sell-out crowd of 2,305 witnessed the encounter, the second largest crowd in Belson history.

Tani Oluwaseyi, who scored a team-high 11 goals, was named to the United Soccer Coaches Atlantic Region first team while Brandon Duarte, Einar Lye and Jan Hoffelner earned spots on the third team.

In Big East honors, head coach Dr. David Masur and his staff were selected as coaching staff of the year, Oluwaseyi was named the conference offensive player of the year and Jan Hoffelner shared goalkeeper of the year honors with Georgetown University’s Giannis Nikopolidis.

Two other men’s teams booked spots in the D-I tournament — NJIT, for the first time it has been a Division I program, and Iona College. Both teams were eliminated in the opening round. The Highlanders lost at Providence College, 2-0, while the Gaels allowed three-second half goals, losing at the University of Maryland, 4-0.

Monday: No. 8 in the countdown