St. John's Rides Hot Start to Big East Win
from press release
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – St. John’s
opened the game with four straight goals and never trailed the
Providence Friars en route to a 9-6 conference victory at Friar
Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex on Saturday afternoon.
St. John’s (4-6, 2-1) won its third consecutive game and second straight in conference play, while Providence (3-7, 0-2) dropped its second contest in a row.
The Red Storm was led by the efforts of freshman Colin Keegan, who scored a hat trick in just his second career start. Keegan contributed three points in the Red Storm’s opening string of four goals. Fellow freshman Kieran McArdle tallied four points on two goals and two assists. Sophomore Jeff Lowman was stout in goal, allowing a season-low six goals and making 14 saves.
After a defensive struggle for the majority of the first quarter with both teams defenses wreaking havoc with challenged shots, senior Ryan Herits broke the deadlock with a dodge on the right side, scoring his sixth goal of the season at the 2:46 mark.
Just two minutes later, freshman Keith Switzer reset the Red Storm offense at the top of the box and passed to classmate Keegan who hit the net for his first goal of the game.
Keegan continued his scoring in the second quarter, hitting a cutting McArdle who scored at the 8:46 mark. Just over a minute later, McArdle reversed it by passing to Keegan over the defense and the freshman put in the shot from the edge of the crease.
The Friars responded with a three-goal run to end the half, with the team’s first goal coming at 6:32 off the stick of Steve Lydon. Providence ended the half with a nifty goal from Sean Wright who received a pass from a double-teamed Andrew Barton with just five seconds left before intermission.
The Red Storm defense weathered the Providence attack in the third quarter, killing off a two-person Friar advantage after back-to-back penalties at the 12:13 mark. Lowman made a number of saves from close quarters, notching a total of five stops in the period.
St. John’s capitalized on a man-up chance of its own at the 10:33 mark when McArdle dished a no-look pass to a cutting Switzer to extend the lead to 5-3.
After a Providence goal at the 3:58 mark, St. John’s responded when sophomore Jarrett Carr spun and fired home his first goal of the season to make it 6-4. Just 30 seconds later, St. John’s turned a failed Friar clear into an unsettled situation and Dillon Ayers hit Keegan on the run to set up the freshman for his third goal of the game.
Providence ended the quarter with yet another last-second goal, hitting the net off a dodge with just three seconds left on the clock.
A tense fourth quarter went back and forth with each team missing scoring opportunities until freshman Ryan Fitzgerald gave the Red Storm a little breathing room at the 5:11 mark. Running off a pick and roll at the top of the box, Fitzgerald found space and scored his seventh goal of the season to extend the lead to 8-5.
The Friars cut it to 8-6 at the 2:47 mark, but a McArdle empty netter ended the Friars hopes and created the final margin of 9-6.
The Red Storm defense caused turnovers on five of 20 clears as defensive midfielder Matt Hurst and Brandon Ayers each picked up four ground balls. Senior defenseman Mike Sherry also collected four ground balls. Sophomore Jordan Rothman won 7-11 face-offs in the second half to keep the Red Storm with possession late in the game.
St. John’s will continue the conference road trip next weekend with a primetime game at No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
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