St. John’s Women Open Home Slate With Win

St. John's
Lucy Whipp and Christina Bellero celebrate Bellero's goal. Photo: St. John's

The St. John’s Women’s Soccer Team opened the home portion of its schedule with a 2-1 win over Marist at Belson Stadium.

Meeting for the first time since 2005, the two teams started quickly but overall the first 45 proved to be largely a quiet first half of play. However, with the clock ticking down toward the half, Claudia Cagnina (Lindenhurst) sent a shot on goal that was saved and Mariela Jacome was there to clean up the rebound. However, Jacome’s shot found the back of the net after the horn signaling the end of the first half.

In the second half, St. John’s came out looking to get on the board early. In the 49th minute, Connors sent a sliding attempt just wide before Jacome had a shot blocked in the 54th minute. In the 59th minute, the Johnnies were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Maia Cabrera (Rego Park) sent a scorcher of a shot just inches over the bar.

On the ensuing goal kick, the Johnnies forced a turnover and Lucy Whipp found Christina Bellero (Melville) on the left side. Bellero then sent a shot inside the far post, giving the Red Storm a 1-0 advantage. The goal was Bellero’s team-leading second of the new season.

In the 68th minute, Bellero sent a looping shot to the far post that was saved, but Jacome was there to follow, finding the back of the net for her first tally of the season and giving St. John’s a 2-0 lead.

Marist earned a free kick in the 86th minute that was within striking range. Alexa Svesson sent a ball into the box that found the head of Nicole Sasso for the goal, making it a 2-1 game with less than 5 minutes left in the second half.

“In the second half, I thought we did a better job of not only playing a little more positively in terms of forward passes but also trying to press them and stop them from playing out, which I think made a huge difference,” said Ian Stone, St. John’s head coach. “But they’re a good team. They fought right to the end. We’re obviously disappointed with conceding a goal at the end, which we have to get better with.

Bellero finished with a game-high six shots, five of which were on target.

“[Bellero] was fantastic. That was the best game I have ever seen her play and I told her that,” Stone said of the junior. “She’s almost impossible to defend when she’s in that mood because it’s not just speed. It’s skill, agility and cutting past defenders. We just had to keep giving the ball to her because she was on fire tonight.”