No. 11 Syracuse Triumphs Over St. John's to Snap Skid

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KENNESAW, Ga. (March 9, 2014) – Partnering up under the unofficial slogan “Grow The Game,” the St. John's lacrosse team and familiar nemesis Syracuse put on a top-20 Empire State showdown in Kennesaw, Ga., as part of the inaugural Cobb County Lacrosse Classic presented by LB3 Lacrosse on Saturday afternoon, but the day would ultimately prove bittersweet for the Queens contingent as the No. 19/20 Red Storm was dealt a 14-8 defeat by the No. 11/9 Orange in front of 5,703 captivated fans at Kennesaw State University's Fifth Third Bank Stadium. St. John's drops to 2-3 on the season while Syracuse moves to 3-2.

The Red Storm dug itself an early hole – falling behind 8-3 after one quarter and being held to one goal in the middle half of the contest – before ending the game on a 3-0 scoring run ultimately cut short by the game's final whistle. In a contest that saw three 30-second penalties called for excessive faceoff violations, junior Mario Carrera had arguably his best outing of the season at the “X,” going 15 for 23 and finishing with a team-high five groundballs and one caused turnover. Senior attackman Kieran McArdle paced the St. John's offense with a hat trick and two assists, and in the Red Storm goal freshman Joseph Danaher, the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Week, had a solid outing with seven saves.

St. John's was a perfect 18 for 18 on the clear and outshot its former conference foe, 40-35, but Orange goalie Dominic Lamolinar made 12 saves in 45 minutes of action – 11 before halftime – and the Red Storm did not help itself by going 1 for 6 in extra-man opportunities, albeit five of those being of 30-second variation.

“We're at the point where we're having a hard time putting it together,” said St. John's head coach Jason Miller. “It seems like it's a different thing that pops up every game and prevents us from playing our best. We were pretty good in the faceoff game today and pretty good in the goal, but I thought we were short defensively. We didn't get the stops we needed to win the game. We'll go back to work and try to get it right for next Saturday.”

It appeared that the Red Storm had recovered from its slow first-quarter start when, after seeing the Orange go up 2-0, seniors Ryan Fitzgerald and Kevin Cernuto struck 3:30 apart to even the game at 2-all. Syracuse responded by scoring the next two before McArdle bullied his way to the front of the goal to find the back of the net and cut the Orange lead to 4-3. Syracuse would make the game's decisive run in the final 3:16 of the opening quarter, scoring four more times including twice against the Red Storm's man-down defense to take an 8-3 lead with 15 minutes of the contest gone.

After being held scoreless in the second quarter, St. John's got a small consolation when senior Colin Keegan scored the goal of the game to cut Syracuse's lead to 12-4 with 9:37 on the clock in the third stanza, collecting a threaded pass by McArdle before finishing over his shoulder from a tight angle. Keegan and Cernuto each finished the afternoon with two goals for the Red Storm, while Fitzgerald finished with three points on a goal and two assists.

St. John's won all seven faceoffs contested in the fourth quarter and used its advantage in possession to score the game's last three goals, with Cernuto, Keegan and McArdle all finding the back of the net in the final 4:19. McArdle completed his hat trick with 2:05 remaining to get the Red Storm within sight at 14-6 but that would prove to be the end of the scoring.

Sophomore midfielder Ricky Cotton forced a team-high two turnovers to go with two groundballs for the Red Storm while junior LSM Chris Fisher added three groundballs and one caused turnover.

Syracuse got a game-high eight points from Kevin Rice on four goals and four assists.

Up next, St. John's returns to Queens to open its Big East Conference slate on Saturday, March 15 when Georgetown enters DaSilva Memorial Field for a 1:00 p.m. contest.

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