For the first time in the modern era of St. John’s lacrosse there is a number that precedes their moniker, and that number is 19. After the Red Storm’s thrilling 10-9 victory over then-No. 5 Georgetown on Saturday, St. John’s has cracked the USILA Coaches Poll.
“Our guys deserve to enjoy it,” head coach Jason Miller said of their No. 19 ranking. “They’ve worked hard to see their name up there and it’s great to see people at St. John’s excited about lacrosse, so I don’t want to take that away from them.”
With their 3-0 start to the season, the Johnnies have already surpassed their win total of two from last season.
“We’ve felt for a while (even at 2-11 last year) that we close to being competitive on the national scene,” Miller said. “That was the goal when the University re-instated lacrosse. A win over a program the caliber of a Georgetown certainly validates those feelings.”
The lacrosse was re-instated in 2005, after a ten-year absence.In undoubtedly their biggest win in the program’s history, St. John’s was able to shock the Hoyas in their ECAC-Opener at DaSilva Field.
The last time the Red Storm was off to a 3-0 start was in 1983, the third year of the program. That year, they got off to a 5-0 start.
Eight Johnnies totaled a point in the Red Storm upset and they were led by senior Drew Schanen as he recorded his second straight hat trick.
Trevor Michaelsen added two goals and as assist while Malcolm Miles had a team and career-high four assists.
“This game was huge for us, Georgetown is a great team and very well known,” said Schanen. “So far, this was the biggest game I have played in; but like coach says, it was a big game in a season full of big games.”
The Red Storm took early control of the game as they dominated the first period and took an early 4-0 lead.
Georgetown came out fired up in the second frame with three unanswered goals to pull within one goal, but St. John’s quickly changed that.
Terrence Leach netted two goals and Michaelsen put away his second of the game to end the period on a 3-0 scoring run stretching the Red Storm’s to 7-3 entering the third period. Although, coach Miller wanted to make sure his guys stayed consistent and finished the game out strong.
“Don’t change the way you play and 30 minutes gets us nothing,” Miller said was his message to his team going into the third period.
“We talk about that all the time. Whether we are down or up, regardless of who we are playing or where.”
Each teams traded a goal in the third period, giving St. John’s an 8-4 lead.
The Hoyas scored two quick goals in the fourth to get to within two goals, the closest they would be for the rest of the afternoon. After trading goals to get to 9-7, Garrett Mitchell scored the game-winning goal for the Red Storm.
“It was a big goal, it gave us the momentum back at a time when I was concerned we were running on fumes,” said Miller.
“It definitely gave us some breathing room; but in the game of lacrosse you can score three goals in 10 seconds so it was still nerve-racking,” said Schanen. “But we held strong down the stretch which was great.”
Georgetown mounted a late rally to get to within one goal, but the Red Storm was able to hold onto the lead and finish a victory for the ages.
Now at 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the ECAC, the Red Storm are no longer in the underdog role, they are a nationally ranked team and are expected to achieve great things.
“We cannot dwell on being ranked or what number we are,” said Schanen. “Our biggest goal now is to move forward from here and stay humble.
“Now we have painted a target on our chest with this win and people will be gunning for us, so we just have to keep a level head and still practice as hard as we have been and try to keep outworking our opponents.”