Questions and Answers with Florida's Kieran McArdle
After a career that saw him finish as the St. John's all-time leader in points, assists and goals as well as leading the Big East in each of those categories (on a per-game basis) as a senior, Kieran McArdle has continued his dominant play as a rookie with the Florida Launch. He has at least a goal and two points in all ten games he has played, including a monster five goal, five assist performance last week against Boston, a game that kept the Launch's playoff hopes alive and tied him with Kevin Huntley for the rookie record for goals (30) with two games remaining.
We caught up with the Ronkonkoma, N.Y. native for a few questions as the league continues its drive towards the Steinfeld Cup.
Congratulations on tying Kevin Huntley's record (30 MLL goals by a rookie) - what has the transition from collegiate play to the pro game been like?
It has been a tremendous experience, and something I had always wanted to do since I was younger. The biggest difference is that there's only one practice a week, so you aren't planning for a team the whole stretch leading up to a game - but it's fun to just go out there and play.
You had a goal and an assist in your first game with Florida and have had at least a goal and two points in all ten you've played. How would you explain your early success?
The guys on my team have been a great help. From stuff on the field, to stuff off the field in making the adjusement, they have all been there for me.
Have you had what I've heard referred to as a "Welcome to the MLL" moment yet?
Nothing too bad, actually. But definitely a few checks have happened after I throw the ball that remind me I'm not in college any more.
You played plenty of great teams while at St. John's - what's the biggest difference between the NCAA level and the professionals, from your experience so far?
With the shot clock in place, the game is much faster, and so is every possession. So, the speed of the game is what took me a little while to adjust to.
If we were to go back in time and tell high school-age Kieran McArdle he'd be playing on the same attack line as Casey Powell, what would his reaction be?
I wouldn't believe it. At [his] age, I don't know how he does it, but he is still the best in the game. I learn from him every day and he's been a great mentor for me, and hopefully will continue going forward.
How tough was the recent slide on your team, and what did it mean to get back on track this week with a big win over Boston to pull within one of Ohio for that last playoff slot?
Coming into the pros, we won the first three games I played in and everything was going well. Then we lost five in a row and things really started to fall apart. It was tough. But I feel like we are getting hot at the right time of the season and hope that we can make a playoff push. I think [if we make it], we could make some noise in the post-season.
There's still work to be done for Florida - what is your plan for the next two weeks to maximize your chances at making it to the top four and the post-season?
Play together as a team, move the ball and make the extra pass. Take the best shot, not the first shot, and the outcome should speak for itself.
Since all the kids ask, what's your stick setup?
I use the Warrior 'Burn' head and a Diamond shaft.
Any parting tips for young players who would like to find themselves in your shoes down the road?
Work hard day in and day out, keep the stick in your hand every where you go and just enjoy the game.
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