2015 has not been kind to the St. John's Red Storm. After kicking off the season falling to Rutgers by two, St. John's picked up its only win of the season against Stony Brook. Since then, the Red Storm has losses to Jacksonville, Siena, and Yale. The loss to the Yale Bulldogs came on Tuesday. While the Red Storm were able to take it to overtime on a last second goal, it took just seconds in the extra period for Yale to end the game. Remember, Syracuse beat Siena 21-7, so this should give you an idea of the level that St John's is at this year. SU is 8-0 all-time versus the Red Storm and has scored 20+ points three times while only scoring fewer than 12 goals against them once. Oddly enough, these two teams have only played in the Carrier Dome twice but have had games played in Queens, NY (3), Villanova, PA, Chester, PA, and Kennesaw, GA. Last season the Orange beat SJU 14-8. In that matchup SU had a season high 13 caused turnovers and Matt Harris' four caused turnovers put him tied at seventh for CTs in a game on the SU all-time list.
Saturday's game will be played as part of the Cobb County Lacrosse Classic. The event is being put by LB3, an organization founded by former Syracuse Orange player Liam Banks. Former Orange players Karen Healy, John Galloway and John Zulberti, who was also an assistant coach at SU, are also involved in LB3. This will be the second time in two years that Syracuse and St. John's will faceoff in the classic, but this year Duke and Denver will play along with a women's game featuring Northwestern and Virginia.
Don't expect to be able to watch this one as there will be no video coverage. The only way to follow is to listen on 99.5 FM WTKW.
Last season the Red Storm finished 7-7 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. St. John's graduated a strong senior class but is left with a very young team. Junior Eric DeJohn leads the Red Storm attack and has 14 goals and nine assists through five games. DeJohn played his high school ball at Jamesville Dewitt and actually redshirted his freshman year at Syracuse before transferring to St. John's. DeJohn plays from behind the net and likes to dodge from X, against Yale he put up five goals and one assist. Senior co-captain Stefan Diachenko has 10 goals but just two assists. Both DeJohn and Diachenko previously played on the midfield but moved to attack this year, their natural positions. The third attackman is freshman Jason DeBenedictis from Holbrook, NY. DeBenedictis has tallied seven goals and six assists so far. Sophomore Jackson O'Leary may also see some time at attack. The Westfield, NJ native has two goals on the year.
James Bonanno redshirted at Rutgers before transferring to St. John's. The junior leads all midfielders with seven goals and adds three assists to his totals. Defensive midfielder Nick Sherry has one goal on eight shots and three assists. Long stick midfielder Chris Fisher Jr. has a goal and 15 groundballs this year. Fisher is the core of the defensive midfield. As a freshman Justin Corpolongo has come in and made an immediate impact with two goals and 11 groundballs. He is also the go to faceoff guy for St. John's with a 41-83 record. Against Stony Brook Corpolongo went 10-19 at the faceoff circle. Jack Lally also has a few appearances at the faceoff X. Lally went 8-14 against Siena but after Corpolongo went 4-18 against Jacksonville, Lally came in and managed just 1-5. Whether it's Zach Vehar or Ben Williams, Syracuse should not have any problems in the faceoff game this week.
Senior co-captain Mark DiFrangia anchors the defense. As a second team all-conference selection in 2014 he caused 1.86 turnovers per game. DiFrangia will be sided with two sophomores in Kyle Skramko and Jack McClellan. Skramko picked up 15 groundballs and caused four turnovers last year. McClellan had one start last year. If you thought the Virginia Cavaliers were outmatched defensively against Syracuse, just wait until Saturday.
In net, Joseph Denaher started all 14 games last year and has four starts under his belt this year. After giving up eight goals and making just three saves against Jacksonville, Denaher was pulled in favor of junior Harry Burke who made nine saves and gave up four goals in 27:26 of time in the overtime loss. Against Siena, the two goalies split time with Danaher making one save and allowing six goals and Burke giving up two goals while making seven saves. However, Burke played the whole game Tuesday against Yale picking up seven saves and allowing 11 goals. Expect Burke to get the start against Syracuse.
The Syracuse Orange will take on the St. John's Red Storm in Georgia at 1 pm on Saturday. The game can be heard on 99.5 FM WTKW.