The St. John’s University men will open the Big East portion of its schedule on Friday night at Belson Stadium against Georgetown University on FS1.

The 40th meeting between the longtime conference rivals will kick off at 8:30 p.m.

The Hoyas and the Red Storm were picked to finish second and third, respectively, in the Preseason Big East coaches’ poll. Both sides advanced in last year’s NCAA Division I Tournament, as the Red Storm fell to top-seeded Oregon State in the second round and the Hoyas made their second College Cup in the last three seasons.

St. John’s enters the contest on the heels of a 1-0 loss to host Columbia University. The Red Storm dominated possession for a majority of the match. Shots were tied at 5-5 marking the first time this season that the Red Storm did not out shoot its opponent. In a 1-0 loss to then-No. 18 FIU on Aug. 29, the Johnnies outshot the Panthers, 15-3. On Sept. 6 in Bloomington, St. John’s outchanced the Hoosiers, 11-9.

Through games played on Monday, the Johnnies are one of only 54 teams in Division I men’s college soccer with a goals against average below 1.00. Only three of those squads carry a losing record and the Red Storm is the only team of those schools with four losses.

Zenden Hart made his fourth start of the season on Monday night, stopping three of the four shots he faced. The freshman and former Australian youth international boasts a 0.75 goals-against average and a .786 save percentage. wo other Johnnies have seen time between the pipes this season, as Ryan Foley played the season opener at Monmouth and Emmanuel Smalios logged the tie against Loyola Maryland last Friday night. Prior to this season, three different keepers last saw the field for St. John’s in 2011, a year that culminated with the program’s ninth Big East Tournament Championship.

Hart and Smalios are two of the nine true freshmen that have started at least one match for the Red Storm through the first third of its schedule. The Johnnies lost seven starters from last year’s 11-win team, including Third Team All-American Luka Gavran and First Team All-Big East selection Lucas Bartlett, both of whom were taken in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft alongside teammate Tani Oluwaseyi.

Like the Johnnies, the Hoyas possess more quality than their record might indicate. Georgetown has a 1-2-2 record following a 2-1 loss to No. 14 Maryland on Saturday at Shaw Field. The Hoyas’ other loss came against then-No. 7 Pitt in their season opener. One of their two draws also came against a nationally ranked opponent, then-No. 20 Denver on Sept. 5.

Also like St. John’s, the Hoyas’ lone win of the season came on Sept. 2 and featured five goals for the victorious side, as Georgetown defeated Temple University, 5-2, in Washington.

Both of the Hoyas’ leading scorers are freshmen, as Jack Panayotou and Jacob Murrell have netted two goals apiece.

Sophomore Luca Ulrich and graduate student Ethan Koehler have split time in goal for Georgetown, registering GAAs of 1.50 and 1.67 ,respectively. The goalkeeping tandem plays behind Daniel Wu, the preseason defensive player of the year.

St. John’s and Georgetown will meet for the 40th time in the history of the two programs with the Johnnies carrying a 23-13-3 advantage.

The Red Storm will look to snap a four-game skid against the Hoyas dating back to 2019. Last season at Shaw Field, the Johnnies were 38 seconds away from a 1-1 draw before Aidan Rocha scored to give Georgetown the extratime win.

St. John’s claimed back-to-back 1-0 victories over the Hoyas in 2017 and 2018, the first of which marked the 400th victory of Dr. David Masur’s coaching career.