St. John's did its part, but didn't get the help it needed to clinch a berth in the inaugural Big East lacrosse tournament.
The Red Storm earned an 8-4 win over visiting Providence Saturday at DaSilva Field. But Georgetown's 10-8 win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome prevented the Johnn- ies from securing a spot in the four-team tournament, which will determine the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
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St. John's finished the Big East portion of its schedule 3-3. Syracuse is 3-2 and Georgetown 2-3. A Georgetown loss to Rutgers on Friday night or a Syracuse win over Notre Dame the following day would get St. John's in because the Storm holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Georgetown.
But if all three finish 3-3, the tiebreaker will be goal differential against conference opponents because, head-to-head, each team is 1-1 against the other two.
"We're Teflon to everything," said attack Kieran McArdle, a Connetquot alum who led St. John's with three goals and two assists. "Anything that's thrown our way, we're always ready for it."
Playing in its first home game since March 10, a span of seven games, St. John's (7-5, 3-3) never trailed against last-place Providence (1-12, 0-5), much to the delight of the senior day crowd of 583. The Johnnies are 3-1 at home; they lost to Syracuse by one goal.
"We were joking around before the game, saying, 'What's a home game?' " said goalie Jeff Lowman, who made eight saves. "It was a great feeling to wake up and do the routine for home games. It wasn't, wake up extra early and hit the bus. It was a nice, relaxing feel."
Lowman was so relaxed in the first half that Providence nearly lulled him to sleep in the second.
The Providence strategy was to kill the clock. The Friars had only three first-half shots and had a possession of more than nine minutes in the second quarter. They were content to simply pass the ball around the perimeter, even after drawing numerous stall warnings. Jordan Rothman also did a good job limiting Providence's possessions, as the St. John's faceoff man won 11 of 15 draws.
Since Lowman wasn't facing many shots, he tried to keep himself busy by hopping up and down every few minutes. "I had to keep myself and the defense going, just saying 'Hey, stay on your toes. The next one's coming,' " he said.
St. John's built a three-goal lead at the half behind goals by Kevin Cernuto, Terence Leach (St. Dominic) on the man-up and Ryan Fitzgerald, but the damage could have been worse considering its 11-3 advantage in shots.
Providence goals by Sean Wright and Niall Cahill made it a 3-2 game with 4:09 left in the third, but St. John's scored the next five goals, including three straight by McArdle in a 4:37 stretch in the fourth that made it 8-2 with 8:13 to play.
McArdle leads the Red Storm with 22 goals and 24 assists and his 46 points are fourth in the country among sophomores.