March 15, 2014

St. John's Hits Stride in Big East Win Over Georgetown

from Press Release

QUEENS, N.Y. – Seven different players scored a goal and the Red Storm defense enjoyed its best outing of the season in a big bounce-back performance as the St. John's lacrosse team earned a 15-7 home victory over Georgetown in its conference opener from DaSilva Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon. The Red Storm, receiving votes in both national polls, evens its record to 3-3 (1-0 BIG EAST) on the year, while the Hoyas dropped to 3-4 (0-1 BIG EAST).

The previous two meetings between the programs had gone into overtime but an extra session was never in the cards on Saturday. St. John's outscored its opponent in every quarter and finished plus-10 in shots, leading 7-3 at halftime and 13-6 through three periods of play. The Red Storm has started 3-0 at home for the first time since the 2009 campaign.

Saturday marked St. John's second home triumph over Georgetown in seven meetings in Queens and the first since Feb. 28, 2009. The Red Storm also held an opponent to seven goals or less for the first time since a 7-6 home win over No. 7/6 Hofstra on March 19 of last season.

"It's the first time this season that I felt like we looked the way we should look," said Red Storm head coach Jason Miller. "We played well offensively. We shared the ball well, we made the extra pass and when we got shooting opportunities we shot the ball hard. Defensively, I thought we did a good job of executing the game plan today. Our slide recovery and bump game was really good, we made saves and we won faceoffs. From my standpoint, it's the first complete game that we've played for sixty minutes. It's hard to pick one standout individual performance. I thought it was a really strong team performance."

Senior Kieran McArdle enjoyed a six-point day with four assists and two goals, classmate Kevin Cernuto scored a team-high four goals and Colin Keegan added a hat trick to lead an efficient St. John's offense, which found the back of the net on 33.3 percent of its shots. Sophomore James Bonanno notched a career high with three points on two goals and one assist and junior Stefan Diachenko added two scores of his own on just three shots.

Defensively, freshman goalie Joseph Danaher tied a season high with 14 saves – making four in each of the first, third and fourth quarters – while the Red Storm forced Georgetown into 13 turnovers and held the Hoyas to 20.0 percent shooting percentage. Senior defenseman Drew Viscusi corralled a team-high four groundballs while junior Mark DiFrangia caused two turnovers from his close defense position.

At the "X," junior Mario Carrera followed up his best performance of the season against Syracuse with another strong outing, winning 11 faceoffs against Georgetown's Tyler Knarr, the country's ninth most efficient faceoff man entering the weekend.

"I thought Mario really battled hard today against a kid that is pretty good and unique," said Miller. "I was also really played with our defensive effort, especially with our close defenseman. DiFrangia, Visusi and Joe Addona did a really good job of covering their three guys."

St. John's came flying out of the gates in its BIG EAST opener, striking first 3:47 into the contest through Keegan before doubling its advantage on an unassisted effort by Cernuto. The Red Storm went up 3-0 with 4:57 to play in the first quarter when McArdle zipped his second assist of the game to Diachenko, who made no mistake from in close.

After the Hoyas pulled two goals back in the final minutes of the first quarter, St. John's netted four unanswered to open the second period and build a 7-2 lead. McArdle started the run by freeing himself with a nifty dodge before following a couple of fakes with a low shot under the Georgetown goalie. Bonanno then fed Diachenko for his second of the game, and, following a long-ranged goal from Keegan, the sophomore scored his first of the afternoon off of a solo dodge that started near midfield.

The Red Storm scored first in the second half through defensive midfielder Nick Sherry's second career goal – both coming in the current campaign – sparking a two-goal spurt by the Hoyas that saw the visitors pull within three at 8-5. St. John's would have the correct response, however, scoring five-straight times in a span of 5:56 to all but seal the victory. Another Keegan goal from distance kick started the run, before the two-man game of Cernuto and McArdle took care of the rest. The Red Storm's dynamic attacking duo combined for the contest's next four goals, Cernuto scoring a four-minute hat trick with McArdle tallying a goal and two assists in the same time span.

McArdle took his season points tally to 29 on Saturday and 213 for his career, leaving him six points shy of tying St. John's Hall of Famer Mike Bolger for the program record.

The Red Storm defense ensured a seven-goal advantage entering the final quarter of play would be more than enough, holding Georgetown to a single score in the final 15 minutes, which came with five seconds remaining on the clock.

St. John's finished with a 45-35 advantage in shots and edged the groundball battle, 21-20, while completing 20-of-21 clears and committing just six turnovers. Senior Connor Mullen recorded his first goal of the season in Saturday's fourth quarter and also finished with one assist and one groundball.

The Hoyas got 12 saves from goalie Jake Haley and five points on four goals and one assist from Peter Conley.

The Red Storm faces a short turnaround before hosting local rival No. 18 Hofstra at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18 back at DaSilva Memorial Field. The non-conference clash with the Pride will air live on ESPN3.

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