Bellero's Golden Goal Lifts St. John's Past Creighton, 1-0, in Double|
Sept. 28, 2017
QUEENS, N.Y. - Returning to the friendly confines of Belson Stadium after opening BIG EAST play on the road, the St. John’s women’s soccer team picked up its first league win of the season Thursday night when junior Christina Bellero found the back of the net in the 105th minute as the Red Storm defeated Creighton, 1-0, in double overtime.
With the game knotted at zero in the second overtime period, freshman Maia Cabrera sent a brilliant through ball from midfield to an open Bellero, who beat McKenzie Meola for the golden goal. The tally was Bellero’s team-leading fifth of the season.
“Creighton is a fantastic team and they’re way better than their record,” Head Coach Ian Stone said after the win. “It was one of those game where you’re kind of gambling as it when on because we played a little bit of a different system. We’ve been a little more defensive in the past and we were gambling, ‘Ok, can we get this goal?’ because their offense was pretty good too. Obviously it took a while but we got there.”
St. John’s (5-5-1, 1-1-0 BIG EAST) held a 20-16 advantage in shots and a slim 4-3 lead in corner kicks earned. Senior Shea Connors led the offensive attack with six shots, two of which were on target. Bellero attempted four shots, while Cabrera sent three tries towards the net.
The Red Storm’s defensive and midfield unit provided a solid effort on the night. Sophomore Christine McBeath, seniors Jesse Schaefer, Mikhaila Martinov and Allie Moar, along with junior Alexa Dolgos all recorded 105 minutes of play. Freshman keeper Jordan Kamp made a season-high eight saves to pick up the win.
St. John’s controlled the pace throughout most of the contest, but Creighton (2-8-1, 0-2-0 BIG EAST) looked to grab an early lead with a corner in the third minute. Later, Darby Hugunin sent a knuckling shot on goal that Kamp punched over the bar with her right hand.
In the 40th minute, the Bluejays had their best scoring chance of the first half. Taryn Jakubowski sent a looping shot from the left side to the right top corner that Kamp knocked away. Hannah Miller was there to clean up the rebound, but the rookie keeper from Allentown, Pa., stood tall to keep it scoreless.
In the 42nd minute, Kamp was called upon to make another save before Connors sent a shot wide in the 44th minute to send the game scoreless into the break. After one half, shots were even at seven-all. Kamp made five saves in the opening stanza, while Meola made a pair of stops to keep the Johnnies off the board.
Neither side broke through in the second half, but the Red Storm had a chance late. In the 87th minute, Madeleine Watson got in behind the defense and was taken down just outside the box. Creighton’s Haylee Blach was shown a red card and the visitors would be forced to play a player down for the remainder of the match. Redshirt freshman Zsani Kajan stepped up to take the set piece from 20 yards out, but her shot missed high.
With no score on the board after 90 minutes of play, the two sides headed to overtime. Creighton had the first opportunity in the first extra session as Kate Johnson sent a shot wide in the 92nd minute. Watson then followed with a shot that Meola stopped in the 93rd frame. Then, with time winding down in the first overtime period, Hugunin sent a shot wide, sending the match to a second extra period.
The teams traded shots in the 101st and 103rd minutes before Martinov sent a shot on goal that Meola turned aside later in the 103rd minute. Then, after some play in the midfield, Cabrera saw Bellero making a run in the middle of the pitch. The freshman from Rego Park placed a perfect one-hop pass to Bellero who got in behind the defense and beat the keeper for the game-winner.
St. John’s returns to the pitch on Sunday, Oct. 1 when it hosts Marquette. First kick is scheduled for 1 p.m. on the BIG EAST Digital Network.