Aug 31, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - Senior Jimmy Mulligan netted the game-winning goal in the 77th minute to lift No. 19 St. John's to a season-opening 2-1 win against NJIT in front of 1,041 fans at Belson Stadium. Sean Sepe scored his first-career goal to help lead St. John's (1-0-0), while Rafael Diaz made five saves in goal. Franco Gamero tallied a goal and Alexander Czempik made eight saves to pace NJIT (0-1-0).
St. John's finished the game with a 20-7 edge in shots and added a 10-0 advantage in corner kicks.
"This was a hard-fought victory against a very organized NJIT squad," said head coach Dr. Dave Masur. "It was a bit unfortunate that we weren't able to finish our chances in the first half because I thought we moved the ball well and created a lot of opportunities, but we showed a lot of resilience in the second half to respond to their goal and get the win."
St. John's didn't waste any time finding a scoring chance in the first half of play, a half that featured a 12-2 shot advantage for the Red Storm. In just the 2nd minute Brandon Savino tested Czempik with a shot on target, but was denied.
After Diaz saved an NJIT effort in the 3rd minute, St. John's went back on the attack. Mulligan had shots saved by Czempick in the 9th and 10th minutes before the keeper made a save on a Daniel Herrera attempt n the 11th minute.
A Red Storm corner kick in the 31st minute set up a shot for Mulligan, but Czempik tipped it over the crossbar and the ensuing corner kick set up an Adrian L'Esperance shot that was blocked by the defense.
St. John's then got on the board in the 33rd minute on a goal by Sepe. Danny Bedoya started the play in the midfield with a pass to Jamie Thomas on the right sideline. Thomas beat a defender before slotting the ball through the box to Sepe, who used his left foot to calmly tuck an 8-yard shot inside the near post.
After a shot by Bedoya was saved in the 35th minute, Diaz made the stop on a Jason Chippy attempt in the 45th minute and the Red Storm took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
NJIT, however, would get the equalizer in the 61st minute. As the Highlanders neared midfield with possession, a Red Storm tackle created a loose ball. Philipp Hannemann gained possession and quickly played a deep forward pass into the offensive third. Gamero collected the ball as Diaz came out of net to defend the 1-v-1 opportunity, but the Highlander forward was able to knot the score at 1-1.
St. John's looked to respond in the 66th minute, but Czempik came out of net to deflect a Sepe effort and keep the game tied. The Red Storm seemed to have the go-ahead goal in the 68th minute as Tim Parker flicked a header toward the far post, but it was cleared off the line by an NJIT defender.
The Red Storm, however, was able to get the go-ahead goal in the 77th minute. A L'Esperance throw-in from the left sideline found Herrera, who took a touch before leaving the ball off for Mulligan just outside the box. Mulligan let the ball come to him before uncorking a blast that curved towards the right post for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
St. John's returns to action on Sept. 2 with a 7 p.m. game on the road against No. 20 Virginia.