SEASON PREVIEW: Breaking Down The 2015 St. John's Men's Soccer Roster

St. John's returns a total of 15 players, including nine letterwinners.
Aug. 21, 2015

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    QUEENS, N.Y. - Led by head coach Dr. Dave Masur, the seventh-winningest active Division I head men's soccer coach by both winning percentage (.700) and wins (382), the St. John's men's soccer team once again has high expectations.

    Expectations, however, are always high in Queens for a program that has one National Championship, four College Cup appearances, 20 NCAA Tournament berths, six BIG EAST regular season crowns and nine BIG EAST Tournament titles.

    St. John's was selected to finish sixth in the preseason poll of the 10-team BIG EAST Conference, a league that sent four teams to the 2014 NCAA Tournament and saw three reach at least the Quarterfinals. The Red Storm returns a total of 15 players from last season's roster, including nine letterwinners.

    "We do have some veterans on the roster, but this is a young group overall," said Masur, who is in his 25th season at the helm. "The newcomers are working hard and we expect them to learn and grow and contribute throughout the season."

    Goalkeepers
    "Our program has developed a great tradition of quality goalkeepers and we want to continue to build on that foundation," Masur said. "We look to our keepers to read the field, communicate and really command the backline."

    A season after starting all 18 games for the Red Storm, redshirt senior Jordan Stagmiller returns as the starting keeper. Stagmiller recorded two shutouts and posted a 1.26 goals against average to go with a .753 save percentage.

    Redshirt freshmen Francisco Rojas and Andrew Withers both return after sitting out last season, while true freshman Michael Bernardi rounds out the depth at the position. An all-state honoree as a senior at Mahopac, Bernardi earned Conference I League A MVP honors as a senior and was a three-time all-league selection.

     

     

    Defense
    "Led by a few seasoned veterans, we have plenty of options and flexibility on the backline," Masur added. "There are a number of players that could play more of a role in the defensive midfield."

    Senior Gabriel Camara has appeared in 51 games, including 39 starts, in three seasons. The defender scored a career-high two goals last season and has totaled four goals in his career. One of just four players to start all 18 games last season, junior Jean Leveille has started 31-straight matches dating back to his freshman season.

    Junior Simon Tchoukriel appeared in 17 games, including 16 starts, last season in his first year with the Red Storm. The Lyon, France, native scored one goal. An All-Star in high school before joining PA Classics of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, redshirt freshman Andrew Mannon is poised to make his collegiate-debut after sitting out last season.

    A graduate student transfer from Cornell, Devin Morgan earned second team All-Ivy League honors as a senior. Morgan appeared in 40 games, including 25 starts, in three seasons with the Big Red and tallied four goals to go with one assist.

    Filip Kula joins the program after appearing in 28 games, including 19 starts, in two seasons at Monroe College. The defender registered eight goals, two game-winners, and four assists for the Mustangs.

    Junior transfer and French native Antoine Le Gall played club soccer for Stade Rennais FC, while Norwegian freshman Marcus Lindqvist played his club soccer for Stabaek Fotball Akademi. Hailing from Jackson, N.J., freshman Colin Panarra played for Match Fit Academy in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

    Midfield
    "The midfield features some versatile players that can really open up the game for us," said Masur. "We want to use our passing game to move quickly and open the field to hopefully ignite more attacking opportunities."

    Senior Luis Esteves made his Division I debut last season and scored two goals in eight games, seven starts. The NAIA transfer netted both of his goals, just 2:28 apart, against Butler in his Red Storm debut.

    Redshirt junior Josh Dillon made his collegiate-debut last season for the Red Storm, while redshirt junior and Herkimer C.C. transfer James Wilson will look to make his Division I debut after sitting out last season.

    Redshirt sophomore Eric Mirkov, who recorded a school-record 29 assists in three seasons at nearby St. Francis Prep, adds depth to the position.

    The Footballer of the Year as a high school senior, sophomore Adrian Welch saw action in five games last season. Redshirt freshman Andrea Previati made three appearances, including two starts, as part of a rookie season that was limited by injury.

    A two-time All-Somerset County and two-time All-Skyland Conference selection, redshirt freshman Ben Roth is ready to make his collegiate-debut after spending a season in the system.

    Teammates with the Brooklyn Italians, freshmen Ahmad Elfaham and Benny Lafortune helped the club squad win three-straight NYCSL championships. Elfaham went to high school at Fort Hamilton, while Lafortune attended Erasmus Hall.

    A freshman out of Venezuela, Alessandro Cicinelli served as a team captain for club squads Metropolitanos FC and Fratelsa Sport FC. Freshman Yusuke Kobayashi, meanwhile, was a three-time Kanto Plain All-Star and a two-time team MVP at St. Mary's International School.

    An all-conference and Academic All-County selection as a senior out of Amityville Memorial, freshman Mauricio Rivas also served as a two-time team captain. Hailing from Spain, Marti Tapia attended Universitat de Barcelona and played club soccer for UE Sant Andreu and UE Cornella.

    Forwards
    "We have an exciting group of players up top and expect some good competition," Masur added.

    Limited by injury to just four appearances as a freshman, junior Dela Agbotse played in nine games and made five starts last season. The forward scored his first-career goal in a draw against Hofstra.

    A second team Winter All-American as a senior at Montverde Academy, freshman Lucas Fagotti helped the Eagles post a perfect 21-0-0 record and finish with a No. 1 national ranking.

    Freshman Mike Prosuk, who stands at 6-5, earned NSCAA All-East Region, first team Central I Sectional All-State and first team Union County Conference All-Star accolades as a senior at Westfield.

    Hailing from Milan, Italy, freshman Filippo Ricupati captained his Lombardia Juniores squad to the 2015 Torneo delle Regioni championship title.

    Schedule
    Matchups against seven teams that participated in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, including five national seeds, and a total of 11 games against teams that posted at least 10 wins a season ago, are among the highlights of an 18-game regular season schedule.

    The Red Storm opens the regular season at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic with games against preseason No. 14 Indiana (Aug. 28) and preseason No. 13 Maryland (Aug. 30).

    St. John's opens at home against Princeton (Sept. 4) and will also have home games at Belson Stadium against Hofstra (Sept. 6), Denver (Sept. 12), Siena (Sept. 15), Wisconsin (Sept. 19), Quinnipiac (Sept. 22), Marquette (Sept. 26), Central Connecticut (Sept. 29), preseason No. 19 Xavier (Oct. 14), preseason No. 3 Georgetown (Oct. 24) and Villanova (Oct. 28).

    In addition to the opening weekend trip to Indiana, the Red Storm has road games against Seton Hall (Oct. 3), preseason No. 6 Creighton (Oct. 10), Butler (Oct. 17), DePaul (Oct. 31) and preseason No. 7 Providence (Nov. 5).

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