St. John’s lacrosse enters the season as a hungry bunch as they finished 9-4 but failed to qualify for the Big East tournament last season. The No. 19/18 Red Storm began the 2014 campaign with expectations of a Big East tourney appearance as well as a qualification into the NCAA tournament.
“I’m more interested in getting the wins we need to get to get us into the Big East tournament and if we can find a way to win some games to put ourselves in a position to put us in an NCAA tournament, you know,” head coach Jason Miller said. “Those are lofty expectations; it’s going to be really hard for us to do that. But at the same time, we’d all be pretty disappointed if it didn’t happen.”
If they do have a successful year in 2014, you can bet senior attackman Kieran McArdle will be one of the biggest reasons why they end up where they finish. He was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy last season as he led the Big East and was second in the nation in points, grabbing the Big East Attack Player of the Year award.
“I work hard on and off the field, not only during practice but during my own time,” McArdle said. “I share the ball on the field, working hard to make the guys around me better.”
The senior has already gotten off to a hot start this season, scoring 12 points in the team’s first two games, a win against Holy Cross and a close loss to No. 13 Yale. He’s now the second leading scorer in school history and needs three points to achieve the 200 point milestone for his career.
“The biggest impact that he has is the ability to make everyone around him better,” Miller said. “Sometimes, the times that he’s not out there are the times where we realize how important he is to us. The numbers are reflective on making everybody else better. So he’s got that ability through not only his performance but his work ethic to really make everyone around him better.”
McArdle tries to set an example for the other players through his work ethic and style of play. After leading the country in assists last season, he already has seven through the first two games.
“Doing all things right, just working hard in practice, going hard in certain drills and just set a good example for them,” McArdle said. To win, the team needs to “Just stay focused all season, work hard in practice and make it translate onto the field.”
“We try to stay true to who we are. First and foremost, we want to be a blue-collar group, a hard working group, a scrappy group,” Miller said. “The only way to be able to achieve our goals is to go out there and work hard every single day and get better every day.”
McArdle has set higher expectations for himself and the team this season. He says he expects to again be a Tewaaraton finalist as well as be a First-Team All-American. He wants to end his career with a Big East championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. After college, he will be going pro as he was drafted 5th overall to Major League Lacrosse by the Florida Launch.