SJU soccer rebounds with two Big East victories

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The two victories, a 1-0 overtime win over the Eagles Friday night and 2-0 over the Friars Sunday afternoon, secured a home game in the Big East tournament quarterfinals for the Red Storm and means the squad can finish no worse than second in the topsy-turvy conference, which features three teams in the national top-25.

"It's good that we're hosting a quarterfinal match but it doesn't really matter where you play," St. John's head coach Dave Masur said. "You have to make sure that you do well."

Against Providence (3-11-1, 3-7-1 Big East) on Senior Day, it was Anthony Theorides, who was playing in his final game ever at DaSilva Field, that got St. John's (11-3-2, 8-2-1) going early.

The senior forward from Astoria had two great chances early, including a shot from 16-yards out that went wide of the near post. In the 28th minute, off a lead pass from sophomore midfielder Dave O'Donnell, Theorides got the ball inside the box and slotted it past low inside the far post to give the Red Storm a rare early lead, 1-0, in the 28th minute.

"I'm always trying to do my best, but today it was another reason - it was the last game. We're playing for the seniors," Theorides said. "I think it was a good reason to play our best."

Theorides' goal, his first of the year, came on the heels of several quality scoring chances for the No. 7 ranked Red Storm, including a Jeff Matteo penalty kick 10 minutes earlier. Marlon Rojas was taken down in the box and Matteo stepped to the spot, but Providence keeper Danny Glynn dove to his right and got a hand on it to make the save.

In the 21st minute, Glynn made another sprawling save off Rich Bradley header before Theorides, who had been struggling up front this year, finally found the back of the net.

"It wasn't bad," Theorides said of his final home game. "It was a nice three years and the last game of the season, a goal for me, I can't ask for more than that."

The Red Storm, which had not scored two goals in a game since Sept. 27 in a 2-1 overtime win at Adelphi and had not scored two goals in home game since the opener at DaSilva Field on Sept. 6, also a 2-1 overtime win over Seton Hall, got an insurance goal with 15 seconds left in the game.

Bradley passed to Shalrie Joseph, who had a clear breakaway for 50 yards, beat Glynn low inside the near post from 15-yards out for his team-leading ninth goal of the year.

The defense, led by seniors Omar Chavez and Adam Maurer, notched its eighth shutout of the year and seventh in 10 conference games. Senior keeper Jeff Stoklosa made two saves for his sixth shutout of the season. He was named co-Goalkeeper of the Week in the Big East, sharing the award with Bryheem Hancock of UConn.

"It was a really great game today and the defense has been slipping a little bit, but we're getting everyone to wake up and step up for the big games coming up in the Big East [tournament]," said Chavez, who was named Big East Defender of the Week for the third time this year.

With the Big East regular season behind them, the Red Storm head down to Tampa, Fla. to face Butler University and Florida International University in the BellSouth Classic this weekend to close out the regular season.

St. John's 1, Boston College 0. Red Storm freshman Angel Rodriguez scored on a Gorgui Mbaye cross nine minutes into overtime to give St. John's a 1-0 win over the Eagles Friday. BC dropped to 6-6-1, 5-3-1.

Notes: While the Red Storm is assured of hosting a Big East tournament game, the site of the game has yet to be determined. Because DaSilva Field has artificial turf, the Red Storm must play its game at a natural grass facility. Mitchell Field in Uniondale, Adelphi's Stiles Field and the St. John's Eastern Long Island campus in Oakdale are being considered for the game, which will most likely be played on Nov. 4.

If second-place UConn (11-2-2, 6-1-2) wins its final two conference games, over Villanova and Rutgers, the Huskies will win the Big East regular season crown.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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