No.10 Penn too much to handle

The St. John’s men’s lacrosse team ended their regular-season on a sour note with a loss to No. 10 University of Pennsylvania 17-10 Friday night.  The Red Storm had their hands full from start to finish, dropping their fourth loss in their final five games of the season.

St. John’s (7-7, 3-3) saw why Pennsylvania is ranked No. 10 in the nation with their relentless shooting and their dominant faceoff percentage.  The Quakers (9-3) outshot the Red Storm 49-33 and won 23-of-31 faceoffs.

“We were on our heels all night,” St. John’s head coach Jason Miller said.  “We struggled all night at the faceoff ‘X,’ on loose balls and in the goal.”

St. John’s was led by their senior attacker Kieran McArdle, who scored a game-high five goals and one assist.  McArdle’s five goals on Friday set a new a record for most goals scored in a single season with a total of 40.  The Ronkonkoma native broke his own single-season goal record since the program’s reinstatement in 2005, which he set last season with 36 goals.  McArdle’s one assist gave the title of program’s all-time leading scorer with a total of 80 points on the season (40 goals and 40 assists).

Senior midfielder Ryan Fitzgerald tied a career-high with three goals while senior attacker Kevin Cernuto tied a season-high with three assists.  Junior defenseman Mark DiFrangia led the Red Storm’s defense with a career-high four turnovers while coming away with a team-high five groundballs.  The Red Storm put out two goalies in the season-finale, where freshman Joseph Danaher and sophomore Harry Burke finished the game with four and seven saves, respectively.

“I thought our effort was great and I don’t believe our guys ever stopped fighting,” Miller said.

UPenn opened the game up with a 4-1 advantage, but with a goal from Fitzgerald, St. John’s brought it back to 4-2 heading into the second quarter.  The Quakers turned it up a notch, scoring three consecutive goals before taking a 10-4 advantage into halftime.  UPenn didn’t give the Red Storm much of a chance for a comeback, only giving up consecutive goals once.

The Quakers had an all-around team effort on the offensive side, where they saw 11 different players score at least one point. They were led by sophomore Nick Doktor, who finished the game with three goals and three assists.

Not only did the Red Storm drop their season-finale, but their hopes of making the 2014 Big East Championship are lost.  St. John’s finished with a 3-3 Big East record for the second consecutive season and needed a Rutgers loss to Georgetown on Saturday to clinch a spot into this year’s tournament.  The Red Storm could only sit and watch as Rutgers beat Georgetown Saturday afternoon 12-8, ending their season and their hopes for a Big East tournament spot.

With an outside chance of receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, it appears that St. John’s lacrosse is done for the season.  Better luck next year, Red Storm.