Lacrosse Rolls Over Holy Cross in Season Opener

Sophomores Kevin Cernuto, Kieran McArdle and Colin Keegan all scored hat tricks for the Red Storm as the Johnnies crushed Holy Cross 17-7 on 17-of-23 shooting at DaSilva Memorial Field on Feb. 18.

Cernuto, who had four goals in last year’s opener also against the Crusaders, picked up right where he left off when he scored the Johnnies first goal within the game’s first 52 seconds. The attacker snuck around the goal, drove pass a defender and launched a submarine ball that slipped between Crusader goaltender Will Cummings’ legs.

That first goal set the tempo for the Red Storm (1-0) as nine players contributed with at least one goal and the Johnnies won their fourth consecutive season opener.

“It’s a good start for good things to come,” said Cernuto. “We’re tired of losing close games and we’re really going to stick it to the Big East this year.”

The 17 goals scored was the most in a game under six-year head coach Jason Miller.

The Johnnies dominated offensively, scoring early and often, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead by the end of the first quarter. The offensive barrage in the first half continued in the second quarter as the Johnnies found the net seven more times, increasing the lead to 12-2 by the end of the half.

McArdle, who netted three goals and four assists, led the scoring drive and picked up his hat trick in middle of the second quarter when he scored three goals within a three-and-a-half minute span.

“All of us are unselfish players,” McArdle said. “We like to move the ball and get the best shots and today we showed that,” The Red Storm defense held off Holy Cross and controlled possession, as sophomore Jordan Rothman won 17-of-27 face-offs and added seven ground balls.

The Johnnies strong defensive effort was led by starting goalie, junior Jeff Lowman, who had 15 saves on 21 shots.

The only time the Johnnies seemed to be in trouble was in the early in the fourth quarter. In the first 51 seconds of the quarter, the Crusaders scored twice in an effort to make a comeback. But then Johnnies quickly responded when McArdle assisted Keegan for a goal with under 14 minutes in the game to play.

Miller said he wasn’t pleased with his players at times when they lost focus and allowed Holy Cross to momentarily get back into the game, but explained his team’s improvement from last year.

“I think we have guys that could play fast. That’s part of it and we shot the ball well,” said Miller about his team. He added, “When we had opportunities we really got hot shooting the ball in the first half, and that makes a difference.”