St. John's had one of the most impressive performances of the first weekend of the men's season.
The perennial national power was hit hard by defections during the offseason - New
Zealand international Steven Old
turned pro and signed with Australia's Newcastle Jets, and four other starters with remaining college eligibility transferred
-- and entered the season unranked in the Soccer America Men's Top 25
Only two full-time starters - goalie
and defender Georgios Spanos
- returned and were in the lineup when the Red Storm opened with a 2-0
victory at Michigan on Friday.
Swede Patrik Engstrom
, who started 12 games in 2005 and was shifted from the back line to the midfield to help boost the
St. John's attack, gave the Red Storm the lead against the Wolverines, and junior Jeff Stepan
scored his first career goal in the second half. Two days later,
the Red Storm won again in Michigan, beating Mid-Continent favorite Oakland, 1-0. Former U.S. U-17 winger Ryan Soroka
scored on the diving header in the first
If St. John's can continue to get early leads, it will be tough with 6-foot-7 Landers manning the goal and Spanos patrolling the backline.
ST. JOHN'S 2006 TOMORROW: Soccer America's Men's Player of the Week and Team of the Week.
- CLASS BREAKDOWN: 5 freshmen, 3 seniors, 2 juniors, 1 sophomores (starters vs. Michigan, 8/25).
- GEOGRAPHIC MAKEUP: New York (2), Pennsylvania (2), Sweden (2), California (1), Georgia (1), Massachusetts (1), New Jersey (1), Texas (1).