April 21, 2012

McArdle Leads St. John's Over Providence

from press release

The most successful senior class in St. John's (7-5, 3-3) lacrosse history since program reinstatement claimed victory in its final home game, 8-4, over Big East foe Providence (1-12, 0-5).

The win locked up the program's first season with at least a .500 record since it returned in 2005. The Red Storm also secured its first winning home record (3-1) since the team finished 3-2 under head coach Jason Miller at DaSilva Memorial Field in 2007.

Unfortunately St. John's ticket to the BIG EAST Tournament wasn't punched as Georgetown won 10-8 at the Carrier Dome to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Red Storm now needs either a Rutgers win over Georgetown or a Syracuse victory over Notre Dame or else the tiebreaker comes down to goal differential.

Kieran McArdle continued to build on his already impressive season with his fifth five-point day of 2012. The sophomore attackman flourished with three goals and two assists including a personal three-score run in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach. McArdle now has sole possession of the team lead in goals with 22 on the season. Classmate Kevin Cernuto finished with two goals and has accounted for 21 goals on the year. Jeff Lowman recorded eight saves on just 12 shots on goal and LSM Dillon Ayers picked up three groundballs and caused two turnovers to pace the defense.

The Red Storm struck first as Cernuto beat Providence goalie Tyler Himes, who was making his first start of the season, on an unassisted shot coming from the left side of the cage. The Friars then took possession and took the life out of the stadium with a five minute stall on offense. The time kept running while the teams remained at a standstill until St. John's regained the ball and induced a man-up situation with 7:01 remaining in the first quarter. Like they have nine other times this season, the Red Storm looked to senior Terence Leach as he took a pass from McArdle in front of net and deposited it past Himes.

Ryan Fitzgerald scored on a deep attempt early in the second quarter to put St. John's up 3-0 and the score would stay there as Providence refused to attack the goal. The Friars finished the first half with just three shot attempts, two stopped by Lowman and one high of the net. It was the first time St. John's recorded a shutout in a half since 2005.

Providence ended its first-half lullaby when Sean Wright connected early in the third quarter to close the gap to 3-1. With the newfound confidence, the Friars offense picked up and Niall Cahill converted off a feed from Andrew Barton and suddenly the Johnnies were only up 3-2 after dominating much of the first half action.

Colin Keegan ended the run when McArdle found him alone in front of cage for a quick score. Cernuto followed up with his second unassisted effort of the game to extend the lead to 5-2 heading into the final period.

When the fourth quarter faceoff broke it immediately became McArdle's game as he strung together a series of three unassisted goals that put the game ultimately out of reach. With each goal more impressive than the next, McArdle increased his career point total to 85 after he became just the sixth player in St. John's history to join the 40 goal-40 assist club last weekend against Villanova. A pair of goals by Providence late in the fourth closed the gap to 8-4 but the Red Storm wouldn't let the deficit shrink any further as the Johnnies closed out the Senior Day victory.

The Red Storm improves to 12-0 all-time and 7-0 at home against Providence. Coach Miller is now 3-0 against the Friars.

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