Three Major Awards Highlight St. John’s All-BIG EAST Honors

Oluwaseyi, Hoffelner and Masur take home major end-of-season awards from the conference.

Men's soccer
November 12, 2019

On the heels of a regular season that featured 13 wins and a top 10 ranking for a majority of the campaign, St. John's men's soccer garnered three major end-of-season BIG EAST Awards and saw six of its players earn spots on all-conference teams on Monday afternoon.
Dr. David Masur led the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year, Tani Oluwaseyi was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and Jan Hoffelner shared BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year honors with Georgetown's Giannis Nikopolidis. 
2019 marks just the third time in program history that St. John's has claimed three major awards in the same season. The first occurred in 1993 following an unbeaten regular season and immediately before the Red Storm's second BIG EAST Tournament title. The other took place in 2008 following a regular season championship and before the Red Storm's run to its fourth College Cup in the span of 12 years.
In addition to Oluwaseyi (First Team) and Hoffelner (Second Team), four other members of the Red Storm earned spots on All-BIG EAST squads. Brandon Duarte and Skage Simonsen were named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team while Brandon Knapp and Einar Lye found places on the All-BIG EAST Third Team.
The Red Storm's six All-BIG EAST honorees are tied for the second-highest total in program history. The 2003 and 1996 College Cup squads and the 1994 BIG EAST Championship team also placed six on All-BIG EAST teams. The program record of eight honorees belongs to the 1993 squad that was undefeated heading into the NCAA Tournament after running away with the regular season and conference titles.
Masur, who led a staff made up of assistant coaches David Janezic and Flo Liu, earns BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time in his nearly three-decade long tenure with the Red Storm. A two-time national coach of the year who has led his teams to four College Cups and one NCAA title, Masur has guided one of the nation's most impressive turnarounds in 2019, as the Red Storm has nearly doubled its win total from a season ago. After being picked to finish seventh in a preseason vote of the league's coaches, Masur has led his team to a 13-3-1 overall record, including a 6-2-1 mark against BIG EAST opponents. 

The Red Storm has spent seven weeks inside the top 10 of the United Soccer Coaches poll and has been ranked in nine out of a possible 12 weeks overall. 

Two of the Red Storm's three regular season losses were to teams ranked inside the top 25 while the other was to a Providence team that currently sits at no. 21 in the RPI. Through games played on Sunday, St. John's, which has ranked no lower than sixth this season in the RPI, is one of just a handful of teams nationwide to rank inside the top 25 in both scoring offense (2.06 goals per game, 23rd) and team goals against average (0.74- 15th).
The first Johnnie since Medufia Kulego during the national championship season of 1996 to be named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, Oluwaseyi has proven to be one of the nation's most electric talents in 2019. One of only two sophomores in St. John's history to win the award alongside career scoring leader Huey Ferguson, Oluwaseyi leads the league and ranks 33rd nationally with 10 goals on the campaign. Of his 10 goals, six came against BIG EAST opponents and five were game-winners.   
The first St. John's player since Simone Salinno during the College Cup campaign of 2003 to score 10 or more goals in a single season, Oluwaseyi also recorded three of his four assists during BIG EAST play. Oluwaseyi logged these sensational numbers despite not cracking the starting XI until the Red Storm's 13th game of the season.
Hoffelner, who started all 17 of the Red Storm's games between the pipes, has split time with teammate Luka Gavran for a majority of the season, forming one of the most fearsome goalkeeping tandems in the nation. Through games played on Sunday, Hoffelner ranks 13th nationally with a 0.63 goals against average and 11th in Division I with a .813 save percentage.  He played a part in nine shutouts on the year, including the Red Storm's lone solo shutout of the campaign against Butler on Sept. 28. A vocal leader in the defensive end of the pitch, the Presbyterian transfer has helped organize a young St. John's backline into one of the nation's best lockdown units.
Simonsen earns a spot on the All-BIG EAST Second Team for the second straight year. After scoring six goals and dishing out four assists during a rookie season in 2018 that saw him earn BIG EAST Freshman of the Year honors, Simonsen has become an even better facilitator in 2019. The Norwegian sophomore tallied six assists, just one off the BIG EAST lead in that category.  Simonsen's connection with Oluwaseyi proved vital to much of the Red Storm's success, as Simonsen assisted on five of Oluwaseyi's 10 goals during the regular season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound midfielder also added two goals to finish fourth on the team with 10 points.   
Duarte, an anchor for the Red Storm on both ends of the pitch, garners his first All-BIG EAST recognition after scoring both of his goals and dishing out two of his three assists during league action. He opened the scoring for St. John's in a 3-1 win against Xavier to open BIG EAST play before helping the Red Storm secure a bye to the BIG EAST semifinals with another head ball goal against DePaul. A second-year transfer from Ancilla College, Duarte has also proven vital in the Red Storm's defensive success in roles as both a midfielder and fullback.
One of two St. John's sophomores to earn a spot on the All-BIG EAST Third Team, Knapp takes home his first All-BIG EAST honor after scoring three goals and assisting on another during the 2019 regular season. Two of his goals came in one game, as he recorded his first career brace against Columbia in September. Knapp's contributions go well beyond the stat sheet, as the sophomore captain has played a pivotal role in organizing and directing the Red Storm's efforts both offensively and defensively. Last week, Knapp was also honored for his excellence in the classroom, claiming a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.
Rounding out the Red Storm's crew of all-conference honorees was Lye, who has earned a place on the All-BIG EAST Third Team following a stellar debut campaign in Queens. During the regular season, Lye tallied five goals and four assists, good enough for second on the team in both goals and points behind Oluwaseyi. Three of his five goals came against BIG EAST opponents, as he recorded his second brace of the season in a 4-0 win against Villanova on Oct. 12 before adding another marker in the Red Storm's final home game of the regular season against DePaul, scoring the game-winner on a penalty kick and helping the Johnnies clinch a bye to the BIG EAST Semifinals.
The second-seeded Red Storm will open postseason play on Wednesday night at Belson Stadium, hosting third-seeded Providence in the BIG EAST Semifinals at 6 p.m. on the BIG EAST Digital Network. The winner of that game will then play the victor of Wednesday's first semifinal matchup between fifth-seeded Butler and top-seeded Georgetown in Washington, D.C. The tournament final will be contested on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 12 p.m. and will air live nationally on FS2.