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For the 21st time in program history, the St. John's men's soccer team is heading to the NCAA Tournament. The Red Storm, who received the no. 16 national seed, will kick off its quest for a fifth College Cup appearance and second national championship on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 5 p.m. when it hosts either Syracuse or Rhode Island in the second round at Belson Stadium.
Monday marked the ninth time in program history and the first time since 2011 that St. John's has earned a national seed. That year, the Red Storm secured a no. 9 overall ranking after claiming its league-record ninth BIG EAST Tournament title.
The Red Storm returns to the NCAA field of 48 for the first time since 2013. That year, the Johnnies defeated Delaware in the opening round of action to secure its 26th victory all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
"I think the team is thrilled, really excited," said Dr. David Masur, who has now made the NCAA Tournament 21 times in 29 opportunities as the head coach at St. John's. "We were traditionally for numerous years an NCAA team every year, so being able to get back to the NCAAs has a very, very sweet feeling to it, but it's not about getting back. It's about winning. We don't want to just get back, we want to win."
St. John's earned its NCAA berth and national seed on the heels of a stellar regular season in 2019. The Johnnies enter the tournament with a record of 13-4-1, the team's highest overall win total since 2011 and the program's best regular season victory count since the College Cup campaign of 2008. All four of the Red Storm's losses this season came to teams that will be hosting an NCAA Tournament game later this week. The Red Storm's 6-2-1 effort in BIG EAST play was good enough for second place in the final conference standings, trailing only a Georgetown squad that received the no. 3 national seed on Monday.
St. John's and Georgetown were two of four BIG EAST teams alongside Butler and Providence to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament field, good enough for the second highest total in league history after realignment. All four BIG EAST squads will host at least one game.
"We're still a fairly young team, but we've had a great year and we've got to really roll up our sleeves and be ready to compete really hard and really well and be in our sharpest form on Sunday," said Masur.
On Sunday evening, Belson Stadium will play host to an NCAA Tournament game on the men's side for the 16th time since its opening in 2002. The Johnnies are 10-4-1 in those previous 15 matchups.
Since the program's first NCAA Tournament in 1992, the Johnnies have advanced in 13 of their 20 appearances, including 13 of their last 16. In its history, the Red Storm has won a national title (1996), made four College Cups (1996, 2001, 2003, 2008), advanced to two national title games (1996, 2003) and made it to the round of 16 or further 11 times. From 1996-2005, the Red Storm made the round of 16 in 10 consecutive tries.
Syracuse and URI will meet on Thursday night at SU Soccer Stadium for the right to take on the Johnnies at Belson Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Red Storm's potential third round opponent is top-seeded Virginia, who will meet the winner of Thursday's game between James Madison and Campbell.