When the ball is in Kieran McArdle's stick, good things happen for St. John's. When the ball is somewhere else, things can get a little unsettled for the Red Storm.
That was the case Saturday during the men's lacrosse portion of the Battle at Bethpage III. McArdle, a junior attack who starred at Connetquot High School, scored three goals and added five assists. But St. John's couldn't get the ball in his hands in the final minute and Georgetown got a fortunate bounce to score with 10.2 seconds left to tie it and then got a clean goal from Dan McKinney 36 seconds into overtime for a dramatic 14-13 victory in a Big East game played before a crowd of more than 2,400 at Bethpage High School.
"Bad luck," McArdle said of Charles McCormick's goal that tied the game. The ball wound up in McCormick's hands after St. John's middie Ryan Fitzgerald lost possession on a double-team in traffic, trying to clear with 48 seconds left. Georgetown defenseman Patrick Murray picked up the ground ball and lofted a no-look desperation pass toward the middle of the field -- right into McCormick's hands.
He fired a rocket that was saved, spectacularly, by Red Storm substitute goalie, freshman Harry Burke. But the rebound caromed directly back to McCormick who buried the shot to force overtime.
"Our goalie made a great save," McArdle said of Burke, who replaced senior starter and school record-holder for career saves Jeff Lowman at halftime after Lowman, recovering from a concussion suffered two weeks ago, didn't feel good enough to continue. "After the first save I was relieved, but they got another chance."
Georgetown's Tyler Knarr won the overtime faceoff and moved it to McKinney, open on the left wing. His uncontested blast beat Burke and Georgetown (5-6) got a much needed victory. St. John's (7-3) had a four-game losing streak snapped.
"It's disappointing when you're up one in the final minute," St. John's coach Jason Miller said. "We got a tough break. The ball gets flipped to a wide-open guy, Harry makes a great save and the ball bounces right back to the shooter."
As for McArdle, whose unassisted gem had given the Red Storm a 13-12 lead midway through the fourth, Miller called him "a legitimate candidate" for the Tewaaraton Trophy awarded to the nation's best player. McArdle has 29 goals and 41 assists for a nation-leading 7.0 points per game. "His numbers speak for themselves. What you saw today was a snapshot of his season -- great off the dodge and great on his feeds."
But even McArdle can't work his magic when he doesn't have the ball.