Petridis Brace Leads St. John’s Past Xavier

St. John's, Niko Petridis
Niko Petridis scored twice for St. John's. Photo: St. John's University

Senior Niko Petridis had two goals and an assist to lead No. 9 St. John’s past No. 19 Xavier 3-1 in Big East men’s soccer action Friday night at Belson Stadium.

With the win, the Red Storm improved to 7-0-0 (1-0-0 Big East) on the season. Xavier falls to 3-2-1 (0-1-0 Big East). 

For the first time this season, St. John’s found itself trailing in a match. The Musketeers grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Karsen Henderlong was able to beat Red Storm keeper Jan Hoffelner. Xavier would maintain its one-goal advantage into halftime despite being outshot 9-3 through the first 45 minutes.

“The Xavier keeper made some great saves in the first half and we knew that if we kept plugging away things would hopefully go our way,” said Dr. Dave Masur, St. John’s head coach. “You have to make things go your way, you have to earn it and keep your head up and keep working.” 

Early in the second half, St. John’s kept the pressure on Xavier. In the 57th-minute senior Brandon Duarte would bring the Red Storm level as he headed home a well-placed corner kick from Petridis. Durate became the 10th different St. John’s player to score this season.

The Johnnies would take the lead 12 minutes later thanks to the efforts of Petridis. After causing a turnover near midfield, he dribbled to the top of the box and his right-footed strike found the lower-left corner to give the home side a 2-1 lead.

With three minutes remaining in regulation, Petridis sealed the victory. After winning a 50/50 ball in the Red Storm defensive half, he created a breakaway opportunity and beat Xavier keeper Matthew Rosenberg to the appreciation of the 1,635 in attendance.

“The fans were unbelievable tonight,” said Petridis. “Right from the start we could hear them and they deserve it. We’re trying to give them everything we can and we hope that they can continue to come throughout the year to support us.”

The task for St. John’s does not get easier. Up next is defending national champion No. 25 Maryland. Kickoff at Ludwig Field in College Park is set for 7 p.m. 

“Our team is going to have to continue to learn how to play when we’re down, to face adversity and to have character,” Masur said. “Today was a good example of that and it was nice to see us come out on top.”

St. John’s Game Notes
  • The 1,635 in attendance was the largest home crowd in nearly five years.
  • Over his past four games, Petridis has 4 goals and 3 assists. 
  • The Red Storm outshot Xavier 21-5 (13-1 on goal).
  • Tani Oluwaseyi led St. John’s with five shots.