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Tigers shutout St. John’s for 0-0 draw

Taylor Sebolao made seven saves as the Tigers shutout Big East power St. John's on Friday.

Taylor Sebolao made seven saves as the Tigers shutout Big East power St. John’s on Friday.

With the re-worked back line still coming together the Towson women’s soccer team had nothing but smiles after they shutout St. John’s in a 0-0 draw on Friday afternoon. The Red Storm dominated possession and showed why they were receiving votes in the NSCAA Coaches’ Poll, but the Tigers failed to crack and Taylor Sebolao came up with seven saves to record her eighth shutout of her career to put her sixth all-time in Towson history in clean sheets.

“We showed what we’re capable of doing when we have out full compliment of players,” Towson head coach Greg Paynter said. “The other two games we had a red card and then a red card suspension so it helps to have everyone today. Defensively we were strong and I think that will build confidence.”

Sebolao made an impressive save early in the game, stopping an attempt by Mariela Jacome off a corner kick by Alexis Urbanski. Towson quickly moved the ball up in transition to set up their first offensive series of the game. Freshman Elizabeth Coletti sent the ball into the box to McKenzie McCaull, but St. John’s goalkeeper Diana Poulin ran out and grabbed the ball as she made the shot.

That was one of only two shots on goal the Tigers were able to test her with as St. John’s maintained possession for much of the game. Towson’s other opportunity came in the 62nd minute when McCaull got her head on a cross, but Poulin showed her quick reaction time with the save.

Towson only registered three shots in the entire game as St. John’s held a 26-3 advantage in strikes and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. But Towson’s re-shuffling defense was able to pack things in and hold them away and when the Red Storm was able to get loose for a good attempt, Sebolao came up huge with numerous big saves.

“I think we’re feeling pretty good. We didn’t get a goal but we got a good result,” Sebolao said. “This first weekend was a little tough, we had some things not go our way, so to bounce back against a really good St. John’s team is going to lead to good things in the future.”

After Towson’s first shot the Red Storm had a few more good opportunities to score. Midway through the first half Shea Connors and Madeline McCracken both got the necessary space needed to take shots, but Sebolao was there for both saves. Later in the half Samie Scaffidi and McCracken again had attempts at the goal but they went wide and high, respectively.

Towson was out-shot 9-1 in the first half before the Red Storm peppered them with 14 shots in the second half. St. John’s got four shots and two corner kicks in the first 10 minutes of the second half but were unable to beat the packed Tiger defense. Towson also blocked six St. John’s shots in the game. In the 68th minute the Tigers got a little fortune when Alexa Dolgos’ shot hit the top corner of the goal.

Despite the tremendous defensive effort that he congratulated, Paynter could not ignore his team’s offensive struggles in the game.

“We need to get more movement up top, more off the ball movement,” he said. “We’re pretty predictable right now and it’s easy for the defenses to combat us. We need to make sure we are unbalancing the defenses and pressure them more.”

Starting the season against Georgetown, East Carolina and St. John’s was going to make producing goals a difficult task for the Tigers early on, but with a road trip next week that includes games against more level competition George Mason, Saint Joseph’s and Temple the Tigers should see an increase in scoring.

Desmond Boyle and Corey Johns both contributed to this article.

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