McArdle and Cernuto lead Johnnies in opener

St. John’s lacrosse opened up their 2014 campaign with a 15-13 victory over Holy Cross Sunday afternoon.  It was an up and down game for the Red Storm but an offensive explosion in the third quarter was difference maker in this tight matchup.

St. John’s (1-0, 0-0) relied on a trio of hat tricks from three familiar faces to put away the Crusaders (0-1) in their home opener.  The Red Storm was led by senior attacker Kieran McArdle who finished the game with 3 goals and 4 assists.  McArdle was named the Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and he moved to second all time in St. John’s history with 103 assists for his career.

The Red Storm was also led by senior attackers Colin Keegan and Kevin Cernuto who scored 3 goals each. Cernuto also finished with 3 assists while Keegan finished with 1 assist.

This year was the first season since the program’s reinstatement in 2005 that the Red Storm received a national preseason ranking, being ranked No. 19 in the Coaches’ Preseason Poll and No. 17 in the Lacrosse Warrior Media Poll.  St. John’s didn’t start the game playing like a ranked team, trailing 3-0 early and finishing the first quarter down 4-3.

“Our heads were moving faster than our bodies,” St. John’s Head Coach Jason Miller said.  “We made some silly mistakes and every time we did they capitalized.”

After St. John’s tied the score at 5-5 heading into the locker room, the Red Storm came out on fire outscoring the Crusaders 7-1 in the third quarter, taking a 12-6 lead heading into the final quater.

“We bucked down defensively in the third quarter,” said Miller.  “We won faceoff’s and we got the touches that we needed to get and Kevin (Cernuto) and Kieran (McArdle) did what they do.”

Freshman goalie Joe Danaher started his first game in his collegiate career and although it was a rocky start for the rookie he found himself on the winning end finishing the game with 7 saves.

“I’ll give him credit for getting his first win,” said Miller.  “We were able to hang on but we’re going to need him to play better.”

St. John’s will take the road on Saturday Feb. 22 when they take Yale at 1 p.m.