March 19, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John’s (5-2, 1-1) dug deep after No. 7/6 Hofstra (5-2, 1-0) built a 3-0 first quarter lead and pulled off the 7-6 upset, as the Red Storm claimed the first victory over its local rival since program reinstatement in 2005.
The Red Storm came in 0-3 against the Pride since lacrosse returned to Queens in 2005 and had never beaten Hofstra at DaSilva Memorial Field in the six previous matchups.
“We’ve had to chase Hofstra in every aspect of what we do for seven years,” said head coach Jason Miller. “It feels great to finally get over the hump against them. We need to enjoy it for a few hours, and then get back to work to prepare for a very good Robert Morris team this weekend.”
The victory is the Red Storm’s fourth over ranked opponents in the last two seasons and second of 2013. The last ranked victory was a 10-9 triumph over No. 17 Yale on Feb. 23, 2013. St. John’s also improves to 3-1 at DaSilva Memorial Field in 2013.
After scoring 20 goals against Rutgers over the weekend, the Red Storm showed the ability to play multiple styles as it battled the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense in Hofstra. Goalie Jeff Lowman set the tone with 19 saves, a career-high, with 10 coming in the second half. The senior stopped a pair of shots on Hofstra’s last two possessions to preserve the lead. Dillon Ayers energized the defense with nine groundballs on the day as he fought the Pride offense every step of the way. Dillon Ayers also held Hofstra sniper Adrian Sorichetti to just one assist after the lefty recorded ten points in last year’s meeting.
Kevin Cernuto paced the offense with three gritty unassisted goals, all coming in the second half, including the game-winner with four minutes to play. Kieran McArdle finished with four assists but it was the midfield unit that stepped up and accounted for four total goals in the win.
A switch to Mario Carrera at the faceoff X helped swing the faceoff game in the second half as the sophomore went 6-of-9 on draws. St. John’s picked up 20 groundballs in the final 30 minutes and won the groundball stat 27-22.
It didn’t appear as if St. John’s would change the script in the New York rivalry early on as Hofstra scored the game’s first three goals. Drew Coholan drew first blood at 13:28 in the first quarter followed by Torin Varn’s 18th of the season at 11:06. Mike Malave scored for the Pride with 9:11 left in the first quarter and St. John’s offense sputtered the rest of the period to end the first 3-0.
Ryan Fitzgerald finally broke through for the Red Storm in a man-up situation as McArdle found him in front of net for a quick strike into the back of the net. Aaron Jones scored for the Pride at 11:09 in the second quarter off a rebound opportunity to put Hofstra up 4-1. McArdle found Keith Switzer free in front of net for the junior’s third goal of the season with 9:08 remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 4-2. Both defenses controlled the pace for the rest of the half to send the Red Storm to the locker room down by two scores.
St. John’s took on the role of the aggressor in the second half as Alex Lagodich connected in traffic from up top off a bounce pass from McArdle to make the score 4-3 with 12:17 left in the third. Cernuto got on the board with 8:44 remaining in the third quarter as he bullied his way in front of the crease to find a lane.
Hofstra opened the fourth quarter on the man-up and Sam Linares scored with just three second remaining on the penalty off a pass from Sorinchetti. Minutes later; the referees converged to discuss a push call on a diving effort from Cernuto and emerged with hands raised to signal a St. John’s goal. Cernuto’s second goal of the game tied the score 5-5 with 8:44 left. Linares responded once again unassisted with 5:34 remaining in the contest.
After Hofstra appeared to have grabbed the momentum, Connor Mullen ripped a lefty rocket past the stick of goalie Chris Selva into the top corner after Carrera won the ensuing faceoff. St. John’s gained another possession and Cerntuo once again worked his way in front of cage from the X position and hit the corner of the net on a righty effort with four minutes left. The Red Storm stood strong for the final minutes as Lowman maintained a strong last line of defense to keep the Pride from pulling even.
The Red Storm travels for a neutral site matchup against Robert Morris at Malvern Prep H.S. at noon on Sat., March 23.
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