(Photo Courtesy of St. John’s Athletics)
Since the arrival of Jason Miller, St. John’s hasn’t moved too far up or down the Big East or national pecking order, but they have made some strides and had some very uplifting moments, such as their upset of Notre Dame in 2013.
In recent years the Red Storm have shown flashes and recorded some good non-conference wins, such as beating High Point in 2018 and 2019. But the one thing they have failed to do since 2016 is win a Big East game. And they have only won a total of two since 2015. While they were essentially blown out by every conference opponent in 2017, they have come very close to recording that conference win over the past two full seasons, losing to Marquette and Providence in overtime in 2018 and 2019.
2020 could have been the year that the Red Storm ended the drought, but the season was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak before conference play even began. In the shortened season, St. John’s went 3-4. One of their losses came by way of a one-goal, 12-11, defeat on the road against a quality Stony Brook squad.
While their record didn’t look too pleasing last season, they did show some significant growth in other areas once again. Offensively, the Red Storm moved up from 43rd in scoring offense (11 goals per game) in 2019 to being ranked 32nd in scoring offense last season, averaging 12.57 goals per game. They also improved from 71st in DI to tied for 28th in DI in penalty kill (man-down defense), having a 66% success rate last season. In addition, St. John’s improved their overall shooting percentage and saw upgrades in multiple areas on both ends of the field.
And while the Red Storm will be looking to build off of the improvements that they showed last season and make a serious push towards securing that first Big East win in four years and get that monkey off of their backs, things will look much different on the field for this squad with some key losses they have.
Offensively, the Red Storm should be pretty solid. They do return two major impact players in Mike and Joe Madsen. The fifth-year returnee and senior were the Red Storm’s first and second leading scorers last season and accounted for a combined 56 points. Having both of them back is huge for this squad and should pay dividends for this offense.
In addition to the Madsen brothers, the Red Storm will see both Junior midfielder Dylan Willis (7G/4A) and junior attackman Jonathan Huber (11G), who should be expected to take on more of the production than they have the past two seasons, return as some of their top threats on that end. Junior midfielder Matt Duncan (1G/4A) will also be coming back and should be a key member of this offense.
Things look a little different on the defensive end, as sophomore Benjamin Bishop (6GB/3CT) is the only starting close defenseman they return. Obviously, Bishop will be expected to take on a heavy amount of responsibility on the back end this season. St. John’s has multiple reserves who saw some action last season and should be capable to stepping up and contributing heavily as starters in 2021.
In cage, junior Brady Agres returns. He has been the Red Storm’s starter for the past two seasons and will be looking to be the anchor that this youthful defense needs in the cage this season.
Sophomore Jonathan Dugenio returns at the faceoff dot following a pretty solid freshman campaign, where he went 112-for-204 (54%). If does in deed replicate his success from last year or improves even more, that would not only help give this young offense more possessions to allow them to grow and become more cohesive, but could also take some of the pressure and assist this defense if they do struggle, especially early on in the season.
*Note: The NCAA has granted an extra year to spring sport athletes. However, a full list of every senior returning is unknown and some teams have not posted their 2021 roster yet. If you know an impact player who is returning but was not mentioned in the above article please comment, DM, or email us. Thanks*