Sept. 26, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. – Sophomore Rachel Daly stepped up once again for the St. John’s women’s soccer team on Thursday, scoring a pair of goals to lead the Red Storm (7-1-1, 1-0-0 BIG EAST) to a 2-0 victory over Xavier (7-2-1, 0-1-0 BIG EAST) to open BIG EAST Conference action.
The biggest opportunity of the game came in the 31st minute as Daly took a pass just outside the box and attacked through three defenders towards the Xavier goal, luring the defense in where she worked a foul just in front of the Musketeer’s goalkeeper to set up an important penalty kick opportunity.
Without hesitation, Daly stepped up to the mark and eyed the Xavier goal, ripping a shot hard under the top of the crossbar to put St. John’s on the board with a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve been working on them all week. I feel like I’m so much more confident when I get put in front of a goal and see a PK that I just had no doubt in my mind that I could finish it,” said Daly.
Opportunities were not foreign to the Red Storm in the first 30 minutes however as junior Caitlyn McLaughlin
worked the Xavier midfielders hard early on, helping St. John’s to a 10-1 shot advantage leading up to the opening goal.
The St. John’s defense held strong behind junior Georgia Kearney-Perry and senior Sarah Ashmore as well, limiting the Musketeers to only a pair of shots throughout the entire first half.
Down a goal coming out of the locker room at the half, Xavier looked to attack quickly as Mariah Whitaker ripped a shot from the top of the 18 that would deflect off her own teammate, forcing St. John’s goalkeeper Diana Poulin to dive to her left and make the save.
With momentum building, the Red Storm offense began to attack once again, outshooting the Musketeers 5-0 over the next 10 minutes.
About halfway through the second half, senior Rachel Hoffman took advantage of a missed clearing attempt by a Xavier defender, saving the ball along the end line and sent it into the box to find an attacking Daly flying down the lane to send it home with her left foot to put St. John’s ahead 2-0.
From that point on, St. John’s would continue to execute both offensively and defensively as they went on to take a 2-0 victory over Xavier and kick off BIG EAST Conference action with a victory.
Poulin picked up her fourth shutout of the season in the win, recording three saves to improve to 7-1-1 on the season while Daly’s pair of goals puts her back atop the NCAA in total goals for the season with 13.
“The season starts all over again. Everyone before this game is 0-0-0,” said head coach Ian Stone about opening BIG EAST Conference action. “We wanted to try and defend our turf on Belson Stadium to be able to get that win, and I thought the game plan went through pretty well tonight.”
With the win, the Red Storm improves to 7-1-1 on the season and open BIG EAST Conference action at 1-0-0. St. John’s will return to action on Sunday when it hosts Creighton live on ESPN 3 with kickoff set for 1 p.m.
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