St. John’s soccer players keeping busy this summer

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St. John’s sophomore midfielder Chris Wingert has certainly had a productive summer. Last year’s Big East All-Rookie selection scored the lone goal leading the F.C. Delco Black team to the U-19 title at the Snickers United States Youth National Championships last weekend in Indianapolis.

Wingert helped F.C. Delco Black, based in West Chester, Pa., win the Pennsylvania championship. F.C. Delco Black then captured the Region I Championship, which stretches from Maine to Virginia.

After posting a 2-0-1 mark during the round robin portion of the National Championships, Wingert’s shot from 35 yards out 10 minutes into the game provided the difference as F.C. Delco won the title, 1-0 July 29.

“I caught the keeper out of position,” Wingert said. “The ball ended up knuckling a bit and he couldn’t keep up with it.”

For Wingert, it was his first national championship in his last competition at the U-19 level.

“I’ve been trying to go to nationals since I was about 14-years-old. I have never been part of a regional championship either,” said Wingert, who started 20 of 21 games last year for the Red Storm and finished tied for sixth on the team in scoring with six assists. “We had a very strong team and won both. It’s a great feeling and I’m hoping to carry it over this year at St. John’s.”

Wingert wasn’t the only member of the St. John’s soccer team who was busy this summer. Senior midfielder Jeff Matteo, a preseason All-Big East selection, joined former Red Storm defensive standouts Omar Chavez and Danny Parkin in the starting lineup for the Westchester Flames of the Premier Development League in the United Soccer Leagues.

Matteo scored the first goal of the game as the Flames defeated the Miami Strike Force in the Eastern Conference semifinals last weekend in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Westchester went on to defeat the host Cocoa Expos to advance to the PDL National Semifinals in Des Moines, Iowa. last weekend.

Also making their mark on the PDL were St. John’s midfielders Shalrie Joseph, Pat Lonergan and Angel Rodriguez as well as sophomore keeper Billy Gaudette and incoming freshman midfielder Alessandro Acquista for the Brooklyn Knights, who also competed in the PDL.

Along with former Holy Cross standout Shaun Higgins, a junior at Hofstra, they helped lead the Knights — who competed exclusively as an U-23 team — to their most successful campaign in the team’s three-year history as they finished 13-7-1 and advanced to the PDL Eastern Conference semifinals, where they fell to the Cocoa Expos, 3-2.

Other former St. John’s standouts who played in the USL during the summer were midfielders Ben Hickey and Jesse Van Saun; defender David Price who played for the New York Freedoms in the PDL as well as the all-time leading scorer in St. John’s history, Huey Ferguson, who doubled as a player and the director of soccer operations for the South Jersey Barons of the D3 Pro League.

Several members of the St. John’s baseball team have also been active, playing well in their respective summer leagues.

Leading the Red Storm contingent are senior outfielder Billy Graiser and senior third baseman Jason Kane, who start for the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Both players were selected to play in the league’s all-star game.

Graiser is ranked fourth in the league with a .337 batting average through 39 games with 20 runs scored. He also has 26 stolen bases and 28 RBIs. Kane is fifth in the league in batting, tied for the lead in RBIs and is third in hits.

Other Red Storm players in the NECBL are junior pitcher Geno Orsogna with the Keene (N.H.) Swamp Rats, sophomore outfielder Anthony DeRosa with the Concord (N.H.) Quarry Dogs, sophomore pitcher Jeff Ford, with the Riverpoint (R.I.) Royals, junior second baseman Chad Cambra and senior pitcher Brian Dorsey, who are both playing for the Middletown (Conn.) Giants.

Junior hurler Tom Klemm is playing for the Harwich Mariners in the prestigious Cape Cod League, considered the top summer league in the country.

Several other players have been playing in the Atlantic Coast Baseball League. Seniors Charlie Bilezikjian, Jason Fischette and Marc Goldberg are playing for the Metro Cadets while senior Vinny Mannese is pitching for the Newburgh Generals and senior second baseman J.P. Cirigliano, a Flushing native and former St. Francis Prep standout, is playing for the Long Island Collegians.

In other St. John’s baseball news, incoming freshman Jim Wladyka was recently named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine. He finished his high school career at Rutherford in New Jersey with a 25-5 record, including 18-2 the last two years. He went 8-1 during his senior season with two saves and a 0.68 earned run average.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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