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St. John’s Bedoya lifts up team after red card against UConn

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Danny Bedoya was determined to make his first home start a memorable one.

“I told myself I had to try to get a goal or an assist,” the St. John’s freshman striker said.

With a victory over Cincinnati well in hand and time winding down Saturday night at Belson Stadium, the former Francis Lewis star said he could have lived without completing his goal. His actions spoke otherwise.

Bedoya, seeing an opportunity, turned on the jets and sprinted down a pass back to Bearcats keeper Taylor Hafling. He beat him to the ball, knocked it free and then headed it home for the game’s final goal in the 86th minute of a 3-0 win. It was Bedoya’s second score this season.

“I thought my tip over the goalie was going to go far, but it went up and came down and I was there to head it in,” he said.

It was his ability to create moments like that, which earned him the start. Bedoya, who helped lead Francis Lewis to two PSAL Class A soccer title games, has played in 11 of the Red Storm’s 12 contests and had one previous start. He is part of a talented group of young St. John’s strikers that includes fellow freshmen Sean Sepe and Jelani Williams.

“He was able to give us special moments in games coming off the bench,” St. John’s Coach Dave Masur said. “That’s a big lift for our team.”

Bedoya has lifted himself up from the low moment of his short career so far. He earned a red card in the 31st minute against rival UConn. It left St. John’s (8-1-4, 2-1-1) to play down a man in an eventual 3-0 loss, its only defeat of the season.

“I did get past it, but at times I do think about it,” Bedoya said.

The game was the lone blemish on what has been a superb season for the No. 12/16 ranked Red Storm. St. John’s is second place in the Big East’s Red division, two points behind Louisville. The Red Storm, which features one of the nation’s top defenses led by Tim Parker and goalie Rafael Diaz, visit the Cardinals in their next game Saturday.

Bedoya is just happy to be contributing to his team’s stellar effort and sees that role only expanding after her second start of the season.

“It’s been a good season for me,” Bedoya said. “I didn’t know if I was going to start or come off the bench a lot. I think I’ve done pretty well so far.”

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