Sept. 23, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - The men's soccer match between No. 2 UConn and No. 12 St. John's at Morrone Stadium on Saturday night beginning at 7:30 is SOLD OUT. There are still student tickets available at the Goal Patrol meeting with a valid UConn student ID. Tickets are subject to availability. The Goal Patrol will meet at Memorial Stadium located behind Gampel Pavilion at 6 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to wear white to Morrone Stadium to help WHITE OUT Morrone. The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a free white UConn soccer T-Shirt. Saturday's game is sponsored by People's United Bank and ProHealth Physicians.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early due to the increased traffic associated with the projected sell-out crowd. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. start time.
UConn (7-0-0) comes into the game ranked No. 2 in all the major polls while St. John's stands at 5-1-1 and No. 12 in the national rankings. Both programs are in top form to start the season. UConn has recorded four-straight shutouts while St. John's has kept the opponent scoreless in six-straight games since a 3-0 loss at No. 1 Maryland to open the season.
Saturday's contest is the BIG EAST opener for both schools and will feature the two dominant programs in the Northeast. The heated rivalry dates back to 1981 with UConn trouncing St. John's, 7-0, in the first meeting and by a combined score of 13-0 in the first four meetings. Overall, St. John's holds a slight edge in the all-time series record, 13-12-5. Last season, the two programs tied, 0-0, at St. John's.
Connecticut head coach Ray Reid describes the annual match-up as a "big time contest that is played with the passion and intensity of an NCAA Tourney quarterfinals game."
Ranked as the sixth best rivalry in the nation according to Collegesoccernews.com, the two programs are known not only for attracting incredible crowds, but also for their national championships, legendary coaches and dominance of the BIG EAST statistic books in almost every category. The Huskies and Red Storm are the only two BIG EAST programs to win the national title. St. John's won it all in 1996. The Huskies, led by current assistant coach Mike Mordocco and assistant director of soccer administration Chris Gbandi, claimed the NCAA Championship in 2000.
Coming into the season, Ray Reid had recorded 346 career victories and ranked second all-time in winning percentage (.769) while St. John's head coach Dr. Dave Masur had tallied 343 wins and placed fourth all-time in winning percentage (.721).
Since the creation of the BIG EAST Conference for men's soccer in 1982, St. John's boasts 30 wins in BIG EAST tournament play while the Huskies rank second with 28. In comparison, Seton Hall (13), Notre Dame (12) and Rutgers (11), the programs with the next-best records, have combined for 36 victories.
Even more telling of the dominance of the two programs, UConn (7) and St. John's (8) own 15 of the BIG EAST Tournament titles while the rest of the league has combined for 14 in 29 years of conference action.
Since Reid's tenure began in 1997, Connecticut and St. John's have both captured four BIG EAST Tournament titles with the programs facing each other four times along the way, including a 2002 thriller when UConn advanced to the tournament final after defeating St. John's in penalty kicks. Mordocco buried the game-winning penalty kick in that contest for Connecticut.
In head-to-head contests under Reid, UConn has a record of 8-6-4 against St. John's. In that same timeframe, Connecticut has captured 18 tournament victories while St. John's has won 15. Overall, the Huskies trail St. John's in all-time BIG EAST Tournament titles by only one and tournament wins by just two.
Saturday's contest looks to be another epic battle in the long and storied rivalry. Don't miss out on the action and atmosphere at Morrone Stadium.