Third Quarter Run Leads St. John's Past Providence
from Press Release
PROVIDENCE, R.I – Defying wet and blustery weather conditions as well as a motivated Providence team hungry for its first home win of the campaign, the St. John's lacrosse team rode an inspired team effort to a 14-7 road victory in BIG EAST play from the Ray Treacy Track Complex on Saturday evening. The Red Storm has now won four games in a row and improves to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play this season, while the Friars drop to 3-7 and 0-2 against BIG EAST competition.
St. John's raced out to a 3-0 lead after holding Providence scoreless in the opening quarter and closed the third stanza on a 5-0 run to establish a commanding 11-5 advantage. The Red Storm forced a season-high 16 turnovers on Saturday and scored on 3-of-5 of its man-up opportunities on its way to its second-consecutive road triumph.
"I thought it was a pretty gritty win tonight," said St. John's head coach Jason Miller. "We really needed to fight this one out. Gabs [Providence Head Coach Chris Gabrielli] has got his guys to playing pretty hard. I'm proud our guys were up for the fight."
In yet another record-breaking performance, senior attackman Kieran McArdle notched a game-high seven points on three goals and four assists while passing University Hall of Famer Mike Bolger to become the program's all-time career assist leader. McArdle, who earlier this season became St. John's all-time career points and goals leader, has tallied 124 assists in his time with the Red Storm, two more than Bolger.
McArdle recorded career assist number 123 to claim the program mark with 2:28 remaining in the third quarter, feeding classmate Colin Keegan to put St. John's up 10-5. Keegan and fellow senior Kevin Cernuto notched five points apiece as the Red Storm's starting attacking trio combined for 17 points and 29 shots. Keegan found the back of the net a season-high four times and added one assist while Cernuto recorded his fourth hat trick of the season to go with two assists.
Defensively, freshman goalie Joseph Danaherhad the best outing of his young career in making a season-high 17 saves, a number from point-blank range and seven in the fourth quarter with St. John's protecting a lead. At close defense, junior Mark DiFrangiawas the point man for the Red Storm's efforts, collecting four groundballs while causing a season-high four turnovers, one of 10 players to cause at least one turnover for St. John's. The Red Storm held Providence scoreless in the first quarter and after seeing the hosts' leading goal scorer in 6-foot-4 senior attackman Andrew Barton net a second-quarter hat trick for the Friars, St. John's held Barton without a goal for the rest of the contest.
"Joe was super tonight," said Miller. "He made some really big stops in close. The clearing game got away from him late in the game, but the conditions were pretty tough out there, so I'll give him a free pass on that. I also thought Mark did a good job on Barton tonight. He's a handful on the corner. Mark played well, and our midfielders did a good job containing Sean Wright and Joseph Fitzpatrick."
Senior midfielder Keith Switzer scored the lone goal of the first quarter on an unassisted effort before McArdle and Keegan each found the back of the net in the first 1:26 of the second quarter to see the Red Storm race out to a 3-0 lead. After the Friars got on the board for the first time with 9:53 remaining in the second quarter, St. John's took advantage of a man-up situation to add to its lead as senior midfielder Ryan Fitzgerald scored on a trademark long range effort to put the Red Storm up 4-1.
Halftime was reached with St. John's leading 5-3, and, following Keegan's second goal of the game to make it 6-3, Providence scored the contest's next two goals to pull within one at 5-6. The game's decisive run would follow, as the Red Storm would end the third quarter on a 5-0 run to take command of the fiery conference clash. McArdle was at his very best during the St. John's run, netting two unassisted goals while assisting on two more scores, one from Keegan and another from junior attackman Stefan Diachenko. Cernuto capped the visitors'' scoring spree with a solo effort of his own with seven seconds on the third quarter clock and after leading 11-5 through 45 minutes played the Red Storm won the final quarter, 3-2, to secure its fourth-straight victory.
St. John's finished with a 41-37 edge in shots and 39-29 advantage in groundballs. Junior Mario Carrera went 12-of-25 at the faceoff "X" for the Red Storm while tallying a season-high 11 groundballs. Senior defenseman Joe Addona caused three turnovers and collected three groundballs while Cernuto tallied four groundballs and sophomore Ricky Cotton added a caused turnover and three groundballs. In his first career start, freshman close defenseman Jack McClellan finished with two groundballs and one caused turnover.
Up next, St. John's stays in conference play and travels to Rutgers on Wednesday, April 2, with opening faceoff from Piscataway, N.J., scheduled for 7 p.m.
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