St. John’s Lacrosse Upset Bid Falls Short, 9-8, to No. 6/8 Syracuse

Senior Nick Heller led the team with three points.
March 11, 2017

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QUEENS, N.Y. – As the seconds in regulation wound down to zeroes, Scott Scannell fired a shot that missed about six inches above the cage as the St. John’s lacrosse (1-5, 0-0 BIG EAST) upset bid over No. 6/8 Syracuse (4-1, 1-0 ACC) came up short, 9-8, despite a resilient performance from the Johnnies. Held at DaSilva Memorial Field, on the St. John’s University Queens campus, the former BIG EAST rivals clashed on a frigid Saturday afternoon.

St. John’s caused two crucial Syracuse turnovers in the last two minutes of the game as Head Coach Jason Miller and his squad employed a successful 10-man ride. Starting freshman defender Pat Smyth caused the first of these turnovers with 2:20 left in the contest. The Red Storm cashed in on the turnover on a low-swinging shot by Jackson O’Leary (assist by Scannell) with 54 seconds left to play.

Syracuse won the ensuing faceoff as the Red Storm went back to the 10-man ride and Daniel Costa forced the Orange’s Paolo Ciferri to throw an errant pass out of bounds. St. John’s cleared successfully on a full-field heave before the last-second Scannell shot.

“Pretty good effort today. We got a great contribution from Paul Tornatore at the faceoff ‘X’ today, which was great to see,” said Miller. “I think we’re getting there. Obviously no one is happy about losing, but we’ve improved each time out over the last three games and we dug down pretty deep today. I think we can build on it. Keep reducing our mistakes, keep improving.”

Nick Heller and Scannell led the Red Storm attack as the pair of seniors combined for six points on the afternoon. Heller scored twice and added one assist while Scannell assisted on two goals and scored one himself. Starting attackmen Colin Duffy and Joe Madsen also tallied a pair of goals in the game.

Playing the entirety of the contest between the pipes, goalkeeper Costa saved 11-of-20 shots on goal for an impressive .550 save percentage.

Paul Tornatore took the majority of the faceoffs for the Red Storm, as he won 6-of-13 (.460) at the ‘X’.

The Red Storm defense gave one of its best performances of the year, holding the nation’s eighth-best scoring offense to just nine goals, which is St. John’s second-lowest goals-against performance this season and the Orange’s worst goal output in 2017. Dante Addona caused two turnovers as part seven Red Storm caused turnovers on the day.

St. John’s outshot the Orange, 37-32, in the contest, however scored on just one of four extra-man chances. Syracuse won the groundballs battle, 33-31, and both teams turned the ball over 15 times.

It took both teams more than five minutes to get on the board before Syracuse opened the game with a goal from Brad Voigt at the 9:16 mark. The Orange scored four more times in the opening frame to open up a 5-0 lead. J. Madsen, fresh off a game-winning goal at Siena, got the Johnnies on the board with a jumping shot that scored high at the 1:35 mark.

The Johnnies took control of the momentum in the second quarter as St. John’s outscored Syracuse 3-1 in the frame on 17 shots to the Orange’s four. At 12:48 in the second, Heller swung a pass from behind the net to Scannell, who ripped a shot low and scored.

Syracuse added a goal at the 9:05 mark to push its lead back to four but the Red Storm responded. With about eight minutes to go in the first half, Syracuse’s Nate Solomon got called on a non-releasable body check penalty for two minutes. St. John’s maintained possession for the entirety of the man-up chance and cashed in as the penalty clock hit zero. Corey Haynes found Heller, who scored low, and cut the Orange lead to 6-3.

St. John’s added one more in the first half on the stick of Duffy. The sophomore attackman scored low-high on an assist from Scannell.

Both teams each added one goal in the third quarter as the Johnnies trailed, 7-5 entering the final frame. Costa played arguably his best quarter in goal this season as the junior netminder saved 5-of-6 shots on net with impressive save after impressive save.

In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Duffy scored his second-straight to cut the lead to its lowest point of the game, 7-6, with 13:34 left to play. TJ Marron assisted on this goal as he found Duffy after a dodge in front of the cage.

The Orange responded with back-to-back goals at the 6:46 and 5:23 marks by Brad Voigt and Brendan Bomberry, respectively, as Syracuse opened up a 9-6 lead.

St. John’s scored the final two goals of the contest off the sticks of Heller and O’Leary, however the upset bid over No. 6/8 Syracuse fell short.

Coach Miller and his squad return to action next Saturday, March 18, as St. John’s battles with Drexel in Queens at 1 p.m.

Keep up with Red Storm lacrosse all season long at and on Twitter by following @StJohnsLax and using the hashtag “#SJULAX.”




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