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SJU women’s soccer team earns NCAA tournament appearance

The St. John's University women's soccer team is headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. Photo courtesy Vincent Dusovic/SJU
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Georgia Kearney-Perry and her St. John’s University women’s soccer teammates were noticeably nervous waiting to hear their NCAA tournament fates at Taffner Field House.

The junior defender made certain to sit in the same chair where she had spent the last two seasons at meetings. Another teammate’s spirits were boosted after finding a penny heads-up.

“I’ve been pretty anxious all day,” Kearney-Perry said. “I wasn’t ready for the season to be over.”

The team eventually got to cheer loudly when they were given new life and the program’s first tournament berth since 2009. The Red Storm will travel to face the No. 3-seeded University of Central Florida, the American Athletic Conference champion, 7 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s the ultimate congratulations, the ultimate reward,” Kearney-Perry said.

St. John’s earned it with one of the program’s best seasons. It went 11-5-3 and lost to Marquette in the Big East semifinals last week.

Sophomore Rachel Daly also made history. She became SJU’s all-time single season leader in points (47) and goals (22). Daly did that playing in front of a veteran defense led by Kearney-Perry, Sarah Ashmore and Hailey Hemmer.

Red Storm Coach Ian Stone likes the matchup against UCF. He describes that as a technical team like his own, which struggle more against physical opponents. Stone thinks if it plays well enough, St. John’s will make the Sweet 16.

“You have all those pieces in place,” he said.

The players are just happy their season continues and they add to their accomplishments.

“I think it gives us a second chance to turn things around,” Daly said.

Updated 6:21 pm, November 14, 2013
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