NEW YORK - The Columbia men's soccer team will visit No. 13
St. John's Tuesday night in the final out-of-conference contest for the Lions
this season. The game will start at Belson Stadium
at 7:30 p.m.
Columbia heads into Tuesday's contest after tying Long
Island-Brooklyn, 1-1, on the road Saturday night. The Blackbirds jumped out to
an early 1-0 lead on Columbia, but Andrew Celsus provided the equalizer in the
The second half of games this season has been when Columbia
has done all its scoring. The Lions have scored all five their goals in the
2012 season after the halftime intermission.
Columbia's defense and goalkeeping has kept it in contests
throughout the season. Freshman Kyle Jackson ranks in the top-five in the Ivy
League in four crucial categories. Jackson has the second-highest save
percentage at .864, with his 19 saves putting him in a tie for third with
Yale's Bobby Thalman. Jackson's 0.71 goals-against average places his fourth
amongst his peers in the Ancient Eight, while his 3.8 saves per game mark is
good for fifth. Fellow keeper Michael Attal also ranks in the top-10 in
goals-against, save percentage and saves per game.
The Columbia offense will need to step up Tuesday, facing one
of the best goalies in the nation in St. John's Rafael Diaz. Prior to St.
John's 3-0 loss to No.2 Connecticut, Diaz ranked in the top-10 nationally in
Kofi Agayapong has paced the Lions' offense this season,
recording eight shots, one goal and assist. Agayapong and Nick Scott each have
three points this season, while Brandan O'Hearn, Andrew Celsus and Quentin
Grigsby each have two points.
The Columbia defense will be called upon again to stop a
strong offensive team in the Red Storm. The backline for Columbia has held
opponents to just six tallies this season, but face a Red Storm team that has
registered 14 goals. Leading the way for St. John's is Jack Bennett with three
goals, as well as providing helpers on three more. Andres Vargas and Nick
Matthews each have two goals and two assists on the year.
Tuesday's meeting between Columbia and St. John's will be
the first meeting between the New York schools in 23 years. The Lions and Red
Storm met seven times from 1981-1989, with Columbia coming out ahead in all
seven contests. In total, Columbia has recorded 22 goals, while St. John's has
scored just once in those seven meetings.