BY MITCHELL PETIT-FRERE
EDITOR’S NOTE: This sports feature comes to us courtesy of The Torch, the independent student newspaper of St. John’s University.
It was fitting that Ian Stone’s St. John’s women’s soccer team beat Rutgers at Belson Stadium last week. Not just because the victory was their first conference win of the season, but because it was in front of a home crowd filled with alumni.
A number of former Red Storm players watched the Johnnies’ 1-0 victory over their New Jersey rivals from the VIP seats of Belson Stadium on alumnae night, including Amanda and Nicole Pasciolla, who are two of the most decorated players to don the Red Storm shirt.
The Pasciollas were honored at halftime with the unveiling of a banner at Belson Stadium that pays tribute to their academic and athletic success.
The twin sisters garnered a plethora of awards throughout their careers, but their most prominent achievement came during the 2009 season when they led the Red Storm to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
“It boosted it [the program] to a new level,” explained Amanda. “It set a precedent for everyone else that was going to play us that this [team] is serious and you better come to play.”
Even more importantly, the tournament appearance paved way for future recruits to join the St. John’s program.
“We worked very hard to get there [the NCAA Tournament],” said Nicole. “Players coming in realized that this is a serious program.”
However, the Pasciolla twins’ talents were not only limited to the soccer field. They were both CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans as well as role models to the underclassmen who took the reins of the program when they graduated.
Runa Stefansdottir was a freshman during the 2009 season and credited the Pasciollas for setting an example early on in her St. John’s career.
“As I’ve evolved from a freshman to a senior, it’s made me realize how good my role models were [my] freshman year,” said Stefansdottir. “They were not only great role models on the field, but also off the field. The way they prepared and the way they came out every day really made me want to become a great leader.”
Both Amanda and Nicole have since graduated with economics degrees and are now employed in the men’s fashion industry in New York City.
Nevertheless, wherever their career paths take them, the Pasciolla twins will always be grateful to St. John’s for the experiences the institution has provided them along with the honors that have been bestowed upon them.
“It means the world [to me],” said Amanda. “The fact that St. John’s was willing to do this makes me feel great.”
Nicole was quick to add to her sister’s thanks.
“It was absolutely amazing that St. John’s did that for us,” she said. “I miss playing and I miss St. John’s so much.”