McArdle Nets OT Winner as Red Storm Beats Villanova

QUEENS, N.Y. (April 19, 2014) With the chips down and its back firmly against the wall, the St. John's lacrosse senior Class of 2014 did what it has done over and over again during its four years wearing the Red Storm uniform: overcome adversity and defy the odds.

Senior Kieran McArdle scored the game-winning goal 2:23 into the first overtime period to hand St. John's a crucial 11-10 extra-time victory over Villanova in Saturday's Big East regular-season finale and on Senior Day at DaSilva Memorial Field, sending off the most successful class in the Red Storm lacrosse era in thrilling fashion.

St. John's snaps a three-game skid and improves to 7-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play in the process, keeping its Big East Tournament hopes alive pending results from around the league next weekend. Villanova moves to 5-7 overall and 3-2 in the Big East.

The Red Storm honored its 13 seniors McArdle, Ryan Fitzgerald, Joe Addona, Donal Flaherty, Andrew Boyer, Drew Viscusi, Keith Switzer, Colin Keegan, Connor Mullen, John Bello, Kevin Cernuto, Joseph Della Fera and Larry McLaughlin in a ceremony prior to Saturday's contest.

St. John's Class of 2014 has led the Red Storm to unprecedented success in the last four years, posting the most wins since lacrosse returned to Queens in 2005 thanks to a 9-4 record last season and advancing to the program's first-ever Big East Championship in 2012. Seven of St. John's seniors have appeared in 45-or-more games during their Red Storm careers, with Fitzgerald, McArdle and Addona making the most appearances of the group with 55.

On Saturday, all 11 of St. John's goals were scored by seniors. McArdle and Cernuto the top two goal scorers in University history each finished with a hat trick, while Keegan and Fitzgerald added two goals apiece and Mullen chipped in with one score. The Red Storm outshot the Wildcats, 45-28, and won the groundball battle, 38-31, behind six groundballs by Addona and three apiece from Viscusi, Fitzgerald, Keegan and Cernuto.

St. John's senior class had never beaten Villanova during their time in Queens, as the Red Storm entered Saturday's contest 6-9 in the all-time series and winless in the last seven meetings between the two programs.

"Coming into this game with a 6-6 record and staring Villanova in the face was a tall order, but like they have for four years they found a way to will it to happen," said St. John's head coach Jason Miller of his senior class.

"I really think at the end of the day that is what their legacy will be. They've never shied away from hard. They've never shied away adversity. They've attacked it at every turn and the wins have taken care of themselves. They've set a great example for us on the field and a great example for us off the field. They've accomplished things that this team has never accomplished before. I couldn't ask any more from those guys."

The Red Storm did not trail in Saturday's first half. Keegan opened the scoring exactly two minutes into the contest from a McArdle assist, before the latter and Cernuto each scored unassisted goals late in the first quarter to see St. John's lead 3-1 through 15 minutes played.

Villanova was able to tie the game at 4-all midway through the second quarter before McArdle fed Keegan a second time and junior Stefan Diachenko assisted on a long-ranged Fitzgerald effort to send the Red Storm to the locker room leading 6-4. Diachenko, who finished with a career-high three assists, then assisted on the first two goals of the second half the first to Mullen, the second to complete Cernuto's hat trick as St. John's sprinted out of halftime to an 8-4 lead with 9:27 remaining in the third quarter.

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