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St. John’s University Men’s Soccer Looks To Strike First As Tough Slate Kicks Off

The St. John’s University men’s soccer season opens on Thursday when they visit Clemson to start a 17-game schedule, 10 of which will be played on-campus at Belson Stadium.
In the spring, St. John’s finished the non-traditional season with a 5-5-0 record. Four losses were to either Georgetown or Seton Hall, top 10 nationally ranked teams. The Red Storm went undefeated in preseason, but were picked to finish sixth in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
“There are seven Big East teams that are legitimate NCAA tournament teams; it’s the strongest the league has ever been,” says Dr. Dave Masur, the Red Storm’s coach since 1991. “In 2019 the Big East was the second-ranked conference behind the ACC, we’re on par to close that gap this year and we hope we can lead that off by getting a result against Clemson.”
Two-time All-Big East First Team member Tani Oluwaseyi, who scored five goals – including four game-winners – this spring, will miss the entire season as he recovers from knee surgery. Masur says his club was picked to finish sixth in the league likely because of Oluwaseyi’s absence. “I hope it motivates the team,” Masur says. “We’re probably one or two spots down because it was known that Tani was out.”
St. John’s, which reached the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 in 2019, gets back three of its top four scorers. Junior forward Wesley Leggett collected three goals this past spring while Einar Lye and Jared Juleau each scored twice. Lye and captain Brandon Knapp were named to the All-Big East Third Team. “I think we’ve been more dangerous on the attacking side,” Masur says. “Hopefully they can collectively fill Tani’s shoes.”
Goalie Luka Gavran, who compiled a 0.72 goals against average and an .846 save percentage in 10 appearances last season returns in goal.
Players with Queens ties include graduate D Rafael Busamante (Corona), sophomore F Constantinos Nicolaou (Little Neck) and freshman GK Emanuel Smalios (Whitestone). Senior D Anthony Herbert is from Brooklyn.
On Sept. 6th, the Atlantic-10 champion Fordham Rams will visit Queens. Head Coach Carlo Acquista, a member of the Red Storm’s 1996 national championship squad, led the Rams to a 7-1-2 record this spring, their one loss coming in overtime of the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Marshall, the eventual national champs.
On Oct.16, the Red Storm will host Big East champions Seton Hall, to whom the Johnnies suffered a pair of one-goal defeats last season. The Pirates eventually reached the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament.
“Because of our stadium, our history, the band, the cheerleaders, the interest that we get, everyone is excited to play us,” says Masur. “We never get a down game from anybody who shows up at Belson.”
After Clemson, the Johnnies return to Belson Stadium for five home games between Aug. 30 and Sept. 13 before starting Big East play on Sept. 18 at Xavier. SJU-TV will produce the first three home matches for ESPN3. Fans can catch the Red Storm against UAlbany (Aug. 30), Marist (Sept. 4), and Fordham (Sept. 6) on ESPN’s website and app. The final seven home matches of the season will air on FloSports, which streams the BIG EAST Digital Network.

Former Christ the King star Jose Alvarado signs with Pelicans

Five years ago, Jose Alvarado was named CHSAA Player of the Year, turning heads at Christ the King High School in Middle Village. Now the Brooklyn native is on his way to a NBA career, recently signing a two-way contract with the Pelicans.
“When I first met him I thought he was a win at all cost player, the ones I love,” said Christ the King head coach Joe Arbitello. “I knew he would be successful at whatever he chose to do. It’s not a surprise to me he’s in the NBA.”
Alvarado was a four-star recruit out of high school, landing at Georgia Tech under head coach Josh Pastner. In his first year he averaged 12 points, the fourth most by a GT freshman.
By his senior year, Alvarado was averaging 15.2 points and 2.8 steals, a tough player on both sides of the ball. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year as Georgia Tech finished 4th in the conference before making a run for the ACC championship.
“Jose is a hard worker, a real hard-nosed individual,” said Pastner. “Coaches love guys like him. He does all the little things to help you win games, fights for every 50/50 ball. That’s what made him Defensive Player of the Year and back-to-back steals leader, the first in the ACC since Chris Paul.”
Up five in the final seconds of the championship game, Alvarado sealed the title with a steal and assist.
“This is why I work my butt off,” said an emotional Alvarado after the game. “A lot of people doubted me. I wasn’t supposed to be in the ACC, but coach took a chance on me,”
Not many players in his situation end up in the NBA, but on draft night, Alvarado knew he had a chance.
“I worked out for 17 different teams and honestly I didn’t know who was going to pick me,” said Alvarado. “I knew the chances of getting drafted were pretty low, but as the process went I started to feel that this might happen, I might get my name called. When I got the phone call it was a dream come true, like a number one pick for me.”
While he didn’t end up picked in the top 60, Alvarado was a part of the Pelicans’ draft day plans. They kept a keen eye on him as they dealt their final pick of the draft, later picking up the Yellow Jackets star.
New Orleans was one of the most comfortable pre-draft workouts for Alvarado, who kept busy in the months leading up to the draft.
“It felt really good,” he said. “They welcomed me with open arms and good energy. It was a good fit, not forced or anything, one of my best workouts easily.”
In the NBA Summer League, Jose took the floor looking to prove he belonged on the roster. In his five games, he did exactly that, leading the team in steals, blocks, and rebounds per game while finishing second in points and assists.
Alvarado’s energy was contagious and he remained confident as ever on the ball. While he has plenty of growth to do, he got valuable experience to learn the speed of the game.
With his NBA career on the horizon, Alvarado still looks back to his time hooping in his hometown.
“New York is always gonna be my home, when I go to Christ the King, they’re always gonna be my family. They show so much love because they were there with me. My story’s different from a lot of others because not a lot of guys like me get a chance to make it. Where I’m from, that’s never happened.”
Alvarado’s stats may not pop off of the box score, but his effort, dedication, and heart certainly stand out on the court. He knows his role and he does it well. Whether starting, coming off the bench, or training with the team, the Pelicans are lucky to have Alvarado on board.
“I’m 6-foot on a good day, don’t have the craziest length, I can’t jump up and jam, don’t have the best jump shot, but I give my heart out and I’ll give it my all every time,” he said. “I play like I’m 7-foot and I play like I’m jumping out of the gym.”

Daniel Aherne

Daniel Aherne passed away on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at the age of 85. Originally from County Cork, Ireland. Beloved Husband of Bridget Aherne. Loving Father of Sheila Bluni, John Aherne, Brian Aherne and Mary Lynch. Cherished Grandfather of Autumn, Gavin, Tara, Daniel, Saoirse, Brendan, Dylan and James. Dear Brother of Margaret Aherne. Mass of Christian Burial offered at Transfiguration Church on Saturday, August 21, 2021 at 10 AM. Interment followed at St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 7227 Grand Avenue, Maspeth NY 11378.

Thomas P. Huller

Thomas P. Huller passed away on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at the age of 91. Beloved Husband of the late Geraldine Huller, loving cousin and dear friend. United States Army Veteran and retired NYPD Lieutenant. Mass of Christian Burial offered at Our Lady of Hope Church on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:45 AM. Interment followed at St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth NY 11378.

Ann Marie Matusiak

Ann Marie Matusiak passed away Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at the age of 81. Beloved Wife of the late Russell A. Matusiak. Loving Mother of Russell C. Matusiak and Mariann Miller. Cherished Grandmother of Larry, Nani, Jenna, Kyle, Christopher, Shawn and Matthew and Great-Grandmother of Harley Quinn. Mass of Christian Burial offered at St. Adalbert’s Church on Monday, August 23, 2021 at 10 AM. Interment followed at Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth NY 11378.

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