Nov. 26, 2003
JAMAICA, N.Y. - St. John's and Connecticut are more than just rivals. When the Red Storm and Huskies meet - in any sport - the tensions are high and the teams know that there really isn't much needed to motivate one another.
The 22nd meeting between the teams was one of the most unique in history for each team. There are always implications when the teams meet, be it a BIG EAST Regular Season title or a BIG EAST Tournament Championship. On Wednesday night at Belson Stadium, the Red Storm and Huskies played for the right to survive in the NCAA Tournament, the first-ever meeting between teams in the Big Dance.
After 90 minutes of scoreless play, followed by another 20 minutes of scoreless overtime, the Red Storm headed to penalty kicks for the second time in the last three games.
Graduate student goalkeeper Guy Hertz (Ramat-Hasharon, Israel), who did not play the first 110 minutes, came on in goal for sixth-seeded St. John's in the penalty kicks phase and made two saves, and senior forward Simone Salinno (Lucera, Italy) converted the final kick as the Red Storm beat Connecticut, 4-2 in penalty kicks.
In penalty kicks, St. John's senior Chris Wingert (Babylon, N.Y.) converted the first shot, and UConn's William Osorio tied the game with a shot past Hertz. After junior Chris Corcoran (Marshfield, Mass.) hit the post on the second shot, Hertz made a pair of saves on shots from Moshe Shalchon and Steve Sealy and opened the door for St. John's. Sophomore Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph (Gothenburg, Sweden) hit his to the lower near post, giving St. John's a 3-1 lead. Cesar Cuellar connected on the Huskies' fourth shot, but Salinno hit a hard shot to the lower far post, giving the Red Storm a thrilling win.
"Everyone has a role on a team," St. John's Head Coach Dave Masur said. "Guy (Hertz) is fantastic on reading the game. He made two great saves; one brilliant save and one great save. He actually won the game for us."
St. John's had controlled play through most of the first half, out shooting the Huskies, 8-2. In the second half, however, the Huskies had a pair of shots on goal that nearly gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, but a solid defensive effort from the Red Storm maintained the tie.
St. John's outshot Connecticut (9-8-4), 18-10, and had 11 shots on goal to the Huskies' two. The Red Storm had 11 corner kicks to the Huskies' four.
St. John's (14-5-3) plays the winner of the match between 11th-seeded UC-Santa Barbara and California. The game will be played at Belson Stadium on Sunday at noon.
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