When Hofstra's lacrosse team scored the first three goals against St. John's yesterday, it seemed like business as usual in a series that has been dominated by the seventh-ranked Pride. But this was a different St. John's team.
"Most of the games we've been in we've been down, so we're been a little used to it," St. John's attack Kevin Cernuto said. "We're very confident with our defense and our goaltender and our offense. We knew we could pull it out."
Cernuto's three goals, two in the fourth quarter, played a big part as St. John's prevailed, 7-6, for its first victory over Hofstra (5-2) since lacrosse resumed on the Jamaica campus in 2005. Hofstra leads the all-time series 12-3.
Hofstra's 4-2 halftime lead was wiped out as Alex Lagodich and Cernuto scored the only goals in the third quarter. Sam Llinares put Hofstra back in the lead 45 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Cernuto tied the score at 5 with 8:44 left. Llinares scored again, but St. John's midfielder Connor Mullen again tied it, this time on Kieran McArdle's fourth assist. Cernuto's game-winner caromed in off the top of the post with four minutes to play.
St. John's (5-2) had finally beaten Hofstra. "It's been a long time coming," St. John's coach Jason Miller said. "It feels pretty good. They're so good, I can't tell you how impressed I am with Hofstra and the job they do there. It's a really big target for us to be chasing the last seven years. To finally get over the hump feels great."
The stakes were considerably higher than an area rivalry. "It's a top 10 win," Miller said. "It's a resume builder for us. I think we're making a legitimate case for a top 20 [ranking]. I think it's really hard pressed not to put us in there now."