It’s been 11 years since St. John’s won the Big East regular season crown. Picked seventh in the preseason by coaches from around the league, the Red Storm have an opportunity on Wednesday to move four points clear in the conference standings while securing a crucial tiebreak.
To do so, they’ll have to beat Georgetown — the unanimous preseason favorite in the Big East. The Hoyas come to Queens looking to move to the top of the table in a battle of top-10 teams and Nos. 1-2 in the RPI rankings. The top-10 showdown kicks off at 7 p.m. ET from Belson Stadium.
NEW POLL: St. John’s, Georgetown both in Top 10
Follow along below for updates throughout Wednesday’s top-10 meeting.
St. John’s vs Georgetown: Score, updates
Georgetown 2, St. John’s 0 | 36th minute
Ever since the Hoyas took a 2-0 lead, coach Brian Wiese has made a bevy of substitutions to try and slow down a typically-electric Red Storm attack. The move has paid dividends so far as St. John’s is without a shot attempt.
Georgetown 2, St. John’s 0 | 24th minute
Early pressure by the Hoyas has paid off in a big way. Jacob Montes and Dylan Nealis strike less than a minute apart and momentum swings to Georgetown with a two-goal lead halfway through the opening period. Montes buried a free kick from just beyond the 18-yard box, ending a shutout streak of 472 minutes for the Red Storm.
St. John’s 0, Georgetown 0| 20th minute
Hoffelner continues to work hard in the opening minutes. He’s now been tested by Jacob Montes, Dylan Nealis and Sean O’Hearn in the past few trips downfield, keeping the score level on all three occasions. The Hoyas are outshooting St. John’s 5-0 with four corners.
St. John’s 0, Georgetown 0| 5th minute
Achara provides Georgetown its first few attacking chances but comes up empty. Jan Hoffelner reacted particularly well on the first attempt knock the ball away.
Pregame — 6:45 p.m.
Belson Stadium hasn’t hosted two top-10 teams in 11 years, but that streak comes to an end Wednesday. Georgetown and St. John’s vie for pole position in the Big East as the league’s two remaining unbeaten teams. The Red Storm last won a regular season conference title in 2008.
St. John’s vs. Georgetown: Preview
Prior to the 2019 season, reigning Big East champion Georgetown was selected unanimously by coaches around the league to defend its title. The Hoyas have won the conference tournament in back-to-back years. This season, with an 11-1-1 record, the No. 7 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches and unbeaten record in conference play, a three-peat is not out of the question.
But in order to gain home-field advantage throughout the Big East Tournament, Georgetown must first get by St. John’s. Ahead of Wednesday’s top-10 matchup, the Red Storm (12-1) are atop the league standings, something that likely comes as a surprise to many coaches throughout the conference.
St. John’s was picked to finish seventh. Yet here they are in first place with four games to play, ranked No. 4 in the poll and competing for the program’s first Big East regular season title since 2008. Coincidentally, September of that year was the last time Belson Field hosted a top-10 match.
Here’s everything you need to know before Wednesday’s showdown.
St. John’s vs. Georgetown: How to watch
St. John’s and Georgetown will kick off from Belson Stadium at 7 p.m. ET. Here’s how to follow the match.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 23
Where: Belson Stadium | Queens, New York
How to watch: Big East Digital Network
Georgetown’s achievements in the Big East includes four NCAA tournament appearances since 2012 and a trio of conference tournament championships in the past four years. The program’s recent success also coincides with balance being established in its all-time history with St. John’s.
The Hoyas’ 2012 win over the Red Storm was the first of five in the series’ eight most-recent games. Prior to then, St. John’s hadn’t lost to Georgetown since 1999. Overall, St. John’s is 23-9-3 all time against Georgetown with just one loss at home under coach Dave Masur.
|Tale of the Tape||
|Dave Masur, 29th year (367-153-89)||Coach||Brian Wiese, 14th year (162-80-33)|
|Tani Oluwaseyi, 19 (8 goals, 3 assists)||Leading scorer||Derek Dodson, 13 (4 goals, 5 assists)|
Both teams are capable of finding the back of the net. But it’s the unique goalkeeping situations of St. John’s and Georgetown that have the teams vying for pole position in the Big East and is worth following throughout the match.
Red Storm coach Dave Masur employs the strategy of using both of his keepers. In all but one contest of 2019, Jan Hoffelner has started between the posts. The junior plays the first 45 minutes before handing his duties off to Luka Gavran, who is responsible for handling the second half as well as any additional time.
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Georgetown possesses similar goalkeeping depth, though Brian Wiese opts for a different management plan. Underclassmen Giannis Nikopolidis and Tomas Romero split reps, but on a game-to-game basis. Nikopolidis started the team’s last match against Xavier, meaning Romero should be up in the rotation to face St. John’s.
Something to keep in mind is if either team strays from their strategy as it could be an indicator of who plays when the pressure mounts to its highest points. Make no mistake, both coaches have successfully handled this throughout the season as St. John’s and Georgetown come into the match No. 1 and No. 2 in RPI, respectively, in addition to their top-10 ranking.