For the second consecutive week St. John’s lacrosse team’s upset bid was thwarted in the second half, this time by the No. 11/11 Villanova Wildcats.
Freshman Keith Switzer led the Red Storm with four goals but was out-dueled by Jack Rice of Villanova, who had three goals to lead the Wildcats in their 11-9 comeback win at a rainy DaSilva Memorial Field on April 23.
“They’re gonna be hurting for sure, you know,” said head coach Jason Miller. “It’s very similar to last week from the standpoint that we were right there and we had every chance to win against a ridiculously good team.”
The Red Storm took an early 7-4 lead over the Wildcats at the end of the first half. But Villanova came out of the break aggressive and started their comeback with a quick goal from C.J. Small, which started a 3-0 run which tied the game with 9:43 left in the third quarter.
“Any time you play a team as good as Villanova you got to expect them to come back,” said Miller. “You don’t get as good as they are by only playing 30 minutes.”
The Red Storm rallied behind Switzer and Kieran McArdle to rebound and take a 9-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
But Rice, Matt Bell and Michael Vigilante capped a 4-0 Villanova run in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats took their first lead of the game with four minutes left to play. A couple of Red Storm turnovers sealed the comeback for the Wildcats.
“We didn’t find a way to get it done and this one stings a little bit more,” said Miller “We’re gonna have to get them off the deck and rally and get ready to go for a really good Drexel team.”
Goalie Jeff Lowman had another great came for the Storm as he had 16 saves. In the third quarter he made a huge save on a Villanova breakaway that momentarily slowed the Wildcats’ momentum.
McArdle had a goal and four assists while Colin Keegan had two goals. Ryan Fitzgerald and Charlie Holenstein each scored a goal.St. John’s went 5-for-6 on extra-man opportunities, capitalizing on Villanova’s penalties.
The Red Storm (4-8, 2-3) play their final home game of the season against Drexel on Saturday, April 30 at 1pm.
Editor’s Note: The Red Storm were defeated by Drexel, 14-7, to wrap up its home schedule. St. John’s regular season concludes on May 7 against Syracuse.