The offense for the St. John’s men’s soccer team came alive Monday night as the Red Storm defeated Columbia 5-1 at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.
With the win, the No. 19 Red Storm improve to 6-0-0 on the season and surpass the 1995 team for the best start in program history. That year, St. John’s finished the season with a 16-5-1 record and won its fourth straight Big East title.
Against the Lions, sophomore Brandon Knapp had a brace, scoring the first and fifth goals for the Red Storm. Senior Niko Petridis and sophomore Tiago Teixeira each had a goal and an assist and Sanoussi Sangary had a goal.
St. John’s outshot Columbia 21-3, including a 15-1 edge in the second half. Luka Gavran recorded the win, improving to 4-0-0 on the season. Jan Hoffelner turned in a scoreless first half and made the Red Storm’s lone save of the night.
Following a scoreless first half, Knapp would break the scoreless tie in the 55th minute. The sequence began when Petridis played a ball in from the right side to Knapp on the near post. The sophomore corralled it and sent a shot on goal that was turned aside by Columbia keeper Michael Collodi. The rebound fell to Knapp, who buried the second chance and gave St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
In the 69th minute, Petridis intercepted a pass near midfield and streaked down the right side past several Columbia defenders. The senior then sent a right-footed shot to the far post, bouncing it off the bar and into the goal for a 2-0 lead.
He started the Red Storm’s third scoring sequence just three minutes later, playing another ball in from the right side, this time finding Teixeira in front and extending the Johnnies’ lead to three.
Columbia cut into the Red Storm lead in the 83rd minute, as Danny Laranetto scored the Lions’ lone goal of the night.
Sangary’s tally in the 88th minute would move the lead back to three. Knapp would close out the scoring by converting a set-piece in the 90th minute.