St. John's and Hofstra Play to Scoreless Draw on Tuesday Evening|
Sept. 5, 2017
QUEENS, N.Y. - Despite 110 minutes of scoreless action, Tuesday night's men's soccer match between St. John's and Hofstra was far from a dull affair, as the two squads combined for 35 shots and 13 saves in a thrilling contest at Belson Stadium.
Andrew Withers anchored the Red Storm effort against the Pride (1-2-1), tying a season-high with five saves to pick up his second shutout of the year and drop his goals against average to 0.47 on the young campaign.
For the game, St. John's (1-2-1) outshot Hofstra, who was picked to finish second in the CAA Preseason Coaches Poll, by a 21-14 margin and earned 11 corner kicks to the Pride's seven. Harry Cooksley placed three of his four shots on target, while Alistair Johnston and Matt Forster each added four tries.
After being outshot 8-1 in the first half, the Red Storm regrouped at the intermission and exploded for 17 shots and six corner kicks in the second stanza. Six of the Red Storm's second-half chances were on target.
"We didn't have a good first half," commented Head Coach Dr. Dave Masur on his team's effort in the early going. "We needed to have more energy, had to read things better, but we hung in. I thought Withers kept us in a little bit, making a couple saves and organizing our back line.
"And then we had a good halftime with good communication and the guys were ready to play another half and were excited about it and I think we came out and made a good statement. Our depth paid off and guys really contributed, which I thought was great."
The Red Storm picked up a series of chances in the early going, as Forster fired off three corner kicks in as many minutes from 18:10 to 20:45, but Hofstra proved able to clear all of the Johnnies' attempts.
Cooksley tallied the Red Storm's best opportunity of the opening stanza in the 30th minute, unleashing a shot from the left side that was deflected by a defender before being turned aside by the Hofstra keeper, Alex Ashton.
Following a less than stellar opening stanza, the Red Storm came out of the locker room with a vengeance. From the 49th-53rd minutes, the Red Storm earned three corners and fired off five shots, all of which posed legitimate scoring chances. The most impressive individual effort came off the foot of Filippo Ricupati, whose acrobatic bicycle kick off a Forster corner appeared to be heading toward the net before being deflected by a Hofstra defender.
The Red Storm continued to press the issue over the remainder of regulation, closing out the second half with a 17-5 shot advantage and 6-1 edge in corners.
After 90 minutes of scoreless action forced overtime, the Red Storm recorded what was arguably its best opportunity of the contest in the 99th minute. With possession of the ball near midfield, Johnston drew the attention of two defenders before playing a near-perfect through ball to a streaking Forster. The sophomore from Bedford, England, appeared to have his defender beat, but a solid challenge from Ashton took away his angle and robbed the Red Storm midfielder of a potential golden goal.
The Johnnies would go on to record two shots in the second overtime period, one of which was a dangerous free kick from Forster that missed just high over the cross bar. Withers also registered a save for the Red Storm in the 106th minute.
St. John's returns to action on Saturday night, playing host to Temple at 7:30 p.m. at Belson Stadium.