Zsani Kajan is expected to help lead the Red Storm attack again. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s)

QUEENS, N.Y. – For the second consecutive time, St. John’s University graduate student Zsani Kajan has been tabbed as the Big East preseason offensive player of the year, as voted on by the league’s coaches.

Kajan and Jessica Garziano, who led the Red Storm in scoring a season ago, also earned spots on the preseason All-Big East team.

A three-time all-conference selection and 2019 conference offensive player of the year, Kajan became the second Johnnie in program history to receive the preseason recognition in back-to-back campaigns. The Budapest, Hungary native joineed St. John’s all-time leading scorer Rachel Daly, who earned the accolade in 2014 and 2015.

Kajan, named to the All-Big East second team for the 2021 spring season, tallied four goals in 11 games. She led the Red Storm offensively during conference action, scoring team-high three goals to tie for fourth in the Big East.

The 5-7 forward also recorded two assists to finish second on the team in points with 10. With four goals during the regular season, Kajan raised her career total up to 28 and curresits fifth on the program’s all-time scoring list.

She is the Big East’s active leader in conference points (33) and goals (15) entering the 2021 fall campaign.

Pacing the Red Storm offensively last season, Garziano pieced together a spectacular sophomore year. In 12 appearances, the Melville, N.Y., native tallied seven goals and two for a team-high 16 points. She ranked third in conference scoring.

Garziano saw her best offensive output come against Sacred Heart UniversityFeb. 25, as she recorded the first hat-trick of her collegiate career.

The preseason All-Big East team was announced in conjunction with the annual preseason coaches’ poll, which saw defending champion Georgetown selected as the favorite (100 points). Butler (88) followed in the conference standings, while UConn (74), Providence (65) and Creighton (64) rounded out the top five teams in the league. St. John’s was selected sixth with 47 points, followed by Xavier (45), Marquette (43), DePaul (41), Villanova (27) and Seton Hall (11).

St. John’s will begin its fall season when it welcomes NJIT to Belson Stadium Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.


BIG EAST Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll

1.      Georgetown          100 (10)

2.      Butler                     88

3.      UConn                    74

4.      Providence            65 (1)

5.      Creighton               64

6.      St. John’s               47

7.      Xavier                     45

8.      Marquette             43

9.      DePaul                    41

10.   Villanova                27

11.   Seton Hall              11

(first-place votes)

BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Zsani Kajan, St. John’s, Grad., F

BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Kelly Ann Livingstone, Georgetown, Grad., D

BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year

Stephanie Rodriguez, Butler, Grad., GK

Preseason All-BIG EAST Team

Stephanie Rodriguez, Butler, Grad., GK

Anja Savich, Butler, Sr., F*

Katie Soderstrom, Butler, Sr., F*

Jessica Mazo, UConn, Jr., M

Aida Kardovic, Creighton, So., M

Kelly Ann Livingstone, Georgetown, Grad., D

Daisy Cleverly, Georgetown, Grad., M

Julia Leas, Georgetown, Jr., M

Meg Hughes, Providence, So., F

Jessica Garziano, St. John’s, Jr., M

Zsani Kajan, St. John’s, Grad., F

*unanimous selection

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.