QUEENS, N.Y. – The St. John’s University men will begin a daunting two-game road stretch Wednesday when it travels to No. 13 Providence for a 3 p.m. meeting at Anderson Stadium.
The contest will be streamed live on Friars.com.
St. John’s has played each of its last three games shorthanded, as nearly a dozen players were held out of the first three Big East matches due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols.
Several other key St. contributors outside of that quarantined group missed Saturday’s 1-0 extratime loss to Villanova University, including reigning Big East offensive player of the year Tani Oluwaseyi, Rafael Bustamante and Matt Forster.
St. John’s did not say who might be available vs. Providence.
Providence and No. 3 Georgetown, against whom the Red Storm will square off Saturday, enter the week with conference records of 2-0-1 after playing to a scoreless draw at Anderson Stadium Saturday. The Johnnies (3-2-0, 1-2-0) will need positive results to close the early gap in the standings, as only the top two teams from each regionalized division will qualify for next month’s conference championship. Last year, St. John’s and Providence advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament Round of 16 while the Hoyas claimed the program’s first national championship.
Providence has yet to allow a goal in four games, as goalkeeper Rimi Olatunji has stopped all 16 shots he has faced. The Brampton, Ontario product is enjoying a successful start to the campaign despite 2021 being his first season as the Friars’ full-time keeper. Prior to this spring, Olatnuji had played a combined 36 minutes in two lopsided 2019 wins.
Still, opponents have outshot Providence, 39-32. In its Saturday draw, Georgetown recorded 11 shots to the Friars’ six, but only two of the Hoyas’ chances were on target.
The Friars are led by freshman Gevork Diarbian, a Rhode Island native and New England Revolution Academy product who has three goals on four shots. Diarbian scored the game-winner in extratime against Villanova oMarch 3 and added a goal apiece in wins over the University of Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island.
Junior Paulo Lima was the only member of the Friars voted to the preseason All-Big East team. The Lisbon, Portugal native scored eight goals in 2019, including two in as many games against the Red Storm.
St. John’s holds a 20-10-4 all-time record against the Friars dating back to 1987, but Providence has controlled the series since the formation of the new Big East conference in 2013, going 8-0-1 in its last nine games against the Red Storm.
Before that, the Johnnies were unbeaten in 23 consecutive matches against the Friars between 1989 and 2009, including a 15-game winning streak from 1989 to 2004.