QUEENS, N.Y. -- The Fairleigh Dickinson men’s soccer team advances to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament after upsetting No. 18 St. John’s, 1-0, Thursday night at Belson Stadum. With the victory, the Knights improve to 10-5-6 on the season, while the Red Storm ends their year with a record of 10-5-4.
Senior Antony Moore’s goal in the 36th minute gave the Knights a 1-0 lead. Freshman Jan Aubert’s shot was blocked by a St. John’s defender and the ball found Moore, who found the back of the net in the upper left corner from 15 yards out for his second goal of the season.
For most of the second half, the Knights’ defense and junior goalkeeper Jacob Lissek had to buckle down against St. John’s offensive flurry. The defense blocked numerous shots, while Lissek had to make a pair of diving saves on great opportunities by the Red Storm from close range.
Through the first 27 minutes, each team had two shots with both goalkeepers making one save, while the others were blocked by the defense. In the 31st minute, St. John’s had a golden opportunity to score, but Jimmy Mulligan’s shot was fired into the right side of the goal.
Five minutes later, Moore put the Knights up 1-0. Less than two minutes after the goal, the Red Storm attacked the FDU zone, and Lissek came up big with save diving to his left off a rocket shot from Jack Bennett, deflecting the ball out of harm’s way.
Over the first 45 minutes, each team had four shots. The Knights had the lone corner kick of the half.
After FDU had the first opportunity to score in the second half, St. John’s kicked up its offensive pressure. The Knights’ defense blocked a pair of shots in the box in the 55th and 56th minutes to stop the Red Storm attack.
With 27 minutes remaining, Lissek came up huge again as he dove to his left for a save, which resulted in a corner kick.
Two minutes later, sophomore Anders Vest-Hansen had a free kick from approximately 25 yards out but the shot was saved.
From the beginning of the 72nd minute to the end of the 75th minute, the FDU defense rose to the occasion with a pair of blocked shots from close range to prevent goals, while forcing a pair of shots to go high over the goal.
After FDU weathered the storm, Vest-Hansen had another look, but his shot was once again saved in the 83rd minute.
One last time, the Knights’ defense stepped up to preserve the victory. With five minutes to go, a shot by Daniel Herrera was blocked, and the rebound found Nick Matthews, who shot was turned away by another diving stop by Lissek.
The Red Storm had one last corner kick at the end of the 88th minute, but FDU cleared the ball out of the zone and hung on for the 1-0 victory.
St. John’s outshot the Knights in the second half, 9-4, for a 13-8 advantage in the match. The Red Storm also had five second-half corner kicks and finished with a 5-3 advantage.
Lissek made four saves to preserve his 10th shutout of the season and the 21st of his career to tie the program record. First Team All-BIG EAST goalkeeper Rafael Diaz made three saves for St. John’s.
“I thought we played a great game,” Head Coach Seth Roland said. “To come into St. John’s, which is such a storied program and a well-coached team by Dave Masur with good soccer players, to come in and play the way we did, I am proud of the guys. I thought we outplayed St. John’s and definitely deserved to win.”
“We came out in the first half and definitely took it to them and got a great goal from Antony Moore. In the second half, I thought we competed well, and inevitably a team like St. John’s is going to get some opportunities. Jacob (Lissek), however, was up to the task in goal as usual, and as a team, I thought we defended very well. I am extremely proud of how we played and thought we were the deserving victors.”
FDU has now advanced in the NCAA Tournament 11 times (10-15-1). Tonight’s win is only the sixth victory in the NCAA Tournament in Northeast Conference history. The Knights defeated Boston College, Princeton and Seton Hall during their magical run to the Elite Eight in 2001, while Central Connecticut State beat Harvard and Tulsa in 2007. In 2002, FDU advanced to the Second Round on a penalty kick shootout after tying 1-1 with Holy Cross.
The Knights will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 18 when they travel to St. Louis to take on Saint Louis University, the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. eastern time.