November 6, 2011
FINAL FOUR BOUND
St. John's men win, 2-0, reach Big East semifinals at Red Bull Arena
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Walter Hines became the eighth player to score a game-winning goal this season as St. John’s defeated No. 23 West Virginia, 2-0, to advance to the Big East semifinals for the third time in the past four seasons on Sunday.
|Walter Hines struck for the winning goal for St. John's in its 2-0 Big East quarterfinal win at West Virginia.
Photo courtesy of the St. John's SID
Jack Bennett assisted on the game-winner for the fourth time, while Andres Vargas added an insurance goal to lead St. John’s (12-6-2), which improved to 5-3-1 against ranked teams. Goalkeeper Alex Naples made two saves to record his second career shutout as well as his second straight post-season win. Keeper Pat Eavenson made four saves for West Virginia (10-7-1).
St. John’s will face Villanova, the No. 5 seed in the Red Division, in the semifinals at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Friday. The order of semifinal games has not yet been announced, but the game will air on CBS Sports Network and have either a 5 or 7:30 p.m. start time.
“This was a tightly-contested tournament game against a well-coach West Virginia squad with a lot of great athletes,” St. John's coach Dr. Dave Masur aid. “It was a tough environment and I thought we kept our focus, limited their opportunities and got great contributions off the bench.”
St. John’s had the first scoring chance in the fourth minute as a corner kick set up an Adrian L’Esperance header, but Eavenson made the save.
The Red Storm followed with the next chance, but Eavenson saved a shot from Jimmy Mulligan in the sixth minute.
The Mountaineers took their first shot in the 14th minute, but Naples made the save on a Travis Pittman effort. A corner kick set up the next chance for West Virginia in the 16th minute, but Pittman missed wide.
Following two off-target shots by West Virginia in the 30th and 31st minutes, St. John’s countered with an off-target effort in the 37th minute as Mulligan missed high.
Naples saved a Pittman header in the 40th minute before an Ido Ligety shot was stopped by Eavenson in the 45th minute.
St. John’s took advantage of its first scoring opportunity of the second half to take a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute. A Mountaineer foul set up a free kick just outside the right corner of the penalty area. Bennett curled a kick towards the far post. Hines slipped past the defense and chipped a shot over the keeper.
West Virginia tried the equalizer in the 72nd minute, but a shot by Andy Bevin from the right side rolled through the box and went wide of the left post.
After Tim Parker missed wide in the 78th minute, L’Esperance had a shot saved by Eavenson a minute later.
West Virginia took two off-target shots in the 87th and 88th minutes before St. John’s added an insurance goal in the 90th minute. After L’Esperance dumped the ball into the offensive third, Vargas beat Eavenson in a foot race to the loose ball and slotted home a goal from just outside the 18-yard box to make it a 2-0 game.