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Mens’ lacrosse: St. John’s gears for semifinals game today vs. top-seeded Notre Dame in Big East tourney at Villanova

Thursday, 3rd May 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 5/3/12
From Press Release

When St. John’s (7-6, 3-3) takes the field today for its BIG EAST Lacrosse Championship semifinal matchup against No. 2 Notre Dame (11-1, 6-0), the Red Storm lacrosse team will be making history as the first group in program history to play postseason lacrosse.

Faceoff is set for 4:30 p.m. at Villanova Stadium and will be broadcast on ESPNU with Eamon McAnaney on play-by-play and Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra providing color commentary. The second semifinal matchup between Villanova and Syracuse will begin at 7 p.m.

The semifinal matchup will be the second neutral site meeting this year for the two squads as Notre Dame topped St. John’s 13-6 at the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on April 1. The Red Storm took a 4-3 lead into the locker room for intermission but a ten-goal second half outburst by the Irish spurred them on for the win. Ryan Fitzgerald had two first half goals for St. John’s.

The Red Storm has yet to defeat the Fighting Irish in four attempts including the loss earlier this season.

Notre Dame finished off a perfect BIG EAST regular season with an 8-6 victory over Syracuse on April, 28. It was the first victory over the Orange in Irish lacrosse history and tied a program record with ten straight victories. The stout Notre Dame defense held Syracuse scoreless for the first 37:53 of the contest. Junior goalie John Kemp continued his impressive season with 11 saves and made it a perfect 12-for-12 in holding opponents to under ten goals in this season’s games.

LAST TIME OUT

After battling back from down three goals after the first quarter, St. John’s (7-6, 3-3) couldn’t overcome a late Drexel rally (7-7, 4-2) losing 10-9 at Vidas Field in Philadelphia, Pa.

Harry Kutner tied a career-high with four goals coming on just six shots and Fitzgerald recorded a season-high three points on two goals and an assist. Jeff Lowman stopped 12 shots on the game and Dillon Ayers scooped up six groundballs and forced one turnover to pace the defense.

The Red Storm outshot the Dragons 35-32, won the groundball battle 28-25 and was 2-of-4 on man-up opportunities. Drexel benefited from a 13-of-22 day at the faceoff X that helped fuel the late-game run. Robert Church had three goals and three assists for the Dragons after he scored five goals last season against the Red Storm.

RED STORMING THE RANKINGS (As of April 30)

The strong on-field play by the Red Storm now has many members of the team ranked among the nation and conference leaders in a number of statistical categories.

Kieran McArdle (23 goals, 26 assists) is 17th in points per game (3.77) and eighth in assists per game (2.0) nationally. McArdle leads the BIG EAST conference in both points per game and assists per game. The sophomore also recorded the highest individual point total of any BIG EAST player this season with his eight-point performance against Holy Cross on Feb. 18.

D. Ayers is ranked 34th nationally and first in the BIG EAST at 4.38 groundballs per game.

Jordan Rothman ranks 41st in the NCAA and second in the BIG EAST for groundballs per game (4.15). The junior also ranks 27th in the nation for faceoff win percentage (55.2 percent).

Lowman ranks eighth in saves per game (11.46) and 18th in save percentage (55.2 percent) with 149 saves and 121 goals allowed.

REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
McArdle is now among St. John’s all-time leaders in both points and assists. The sophomore’s 88 points places him 12th on the all-time list and third most since program reinstatement in 2005. His 44 career assists also ties him for sixth in program history.

Kutner has totaled 81 career points despite playing only two games during his junior season and is 15th among St. John’s leading scorers.

Lowman has now amassed 434 saves over his three seasons which places him fourth all-time at St. John’s and the leader since reinstatement.

Rothman came into the season as the school’s all-time leading faceoff winner and has increased his total to 445.

McARDLE JOINS THE 40-40 CLUB

During his standout sophomore season, McArdle became just the sixth player in Red Storm lacrosse history to total 40 goals and 40 assists in a career. The sophomore has 44 goals and 44 assists in 27 career games.

SCOUTING THE IRISH

The Fighting Irish have been carried by the strength of their defense all season long as the team’s 5.75 goals against average ranks first in the nation. Kemp is the unit’s rock as he leads the nation in both goals against average (5.70) and save percentage (65.5 percent). The man-down defensive unit also is tops in the NCAA with a 92.9 percent penalty kill rate.

Notre Dame hasn’t found quite the same success on the offensive end but timely and opportunistic goals have been the difference for a team that has won five games by two goals or less. Sean Rogers leads the squad in points with 17 goals and 7 assists. The Irish score only 8.42 goals a game (49th in the nation) and shoot just 25.6 percent (51st in the nation).

Notre Dame has not lost since Feb. 26 when Penn State left South Bend with a 4-3 overtime victory. The past six games have all been BIG EAST contests and the Irish have posted a 4.16 scoring margin in those games. Notre Dame fell four goals behind against both Georgetown and Villanova but was able to rally back in the second half to earn victories in both games.

Keep up with Red Storm lacrosse all season long at RedStormSports.com and on Twitter by following @STJ_Lacrosse.

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