Sept. 23, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. - For much of the second half Villanova (4-5-2, 0-3 Big East) showcased a spirited offense that several times came within inches of finding an equalizing goal but St. John's (6-3-1, 2-1 Big East) weathered the attack and added an insurance goal in the 75th minute to seal a 2-0 victory at Belson Stadium on Friday night.
Two good-looking shots by the Wildcats midway through the second half were turned away only moments before the Red Storm tallied their second goal of the evening. Redshirt freshman midfielder Stephanie Myers (Downingtown, Pa.) fired a shot on the net in the 67th minute and sophomore defender Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.) delivered a strong shot on a free kick in the 73rd minute that was tipped over the crossbar at the last second.
Villanova owned a 12-8 edge in shots for the game, including a dominant 10-3 margin in the second period. Nine different players managed at least one attempt at the net for the Wildcats, with Houck, senior forward Katie Ryan (Wayne, N.J.) and freshman defender Victoria Gersh (Silver Spring, Md.) each having two shots.
In the first half St. John's had opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Jen Gibbons scored on a cross forward from Caitlyn McLaughlin at the game's 23:37 mark. There were only two shots on goal in the entire opening period, with those coming on the goal scored by Gibbons as well as on a save made by sophomore goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.).
Villanova had just two shots prior to the intermission before picking up its energy level in the attacking third early in the second half. Senior midfielder Megan Verdeur (Levittown, Pa.) had the Wildcats first shot of the second period in the 59th minute but from that point on Villanova took seven of the next eight shots in the game leading up to the Red Storm goal at 74:48 which put the game all but out of reach.
Kranich made two saves on the evening as St. John's placed four of its eight shots on target.
The second goal scored by the Red Storm came from Runa Stefansdottir on a shot tucked into the top left corner of the net from 25 yards out. Stefansdottir and Gibbons combined for five of the eight shots taken by St. John's, including both goals.
This weekend's road trip continues for the Wildcats with a 1 p.m. game at Syracuse on Sunday afternoon.
NOTES: Junior forward Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.) had Villanova's best look of the first half, a shot from nearly 30 yards out in the 39th minute that went just over the crossbar ... The Wildcats were playing at Belson Stadium for the first time since 2005 due to the rotating conference schedule ... Villanova won the last meeting against St. John's, 3-0, at the West Campus Soccer Complex in 2008.