The Syracuse Orange will host St. John's on Saturday at 4 PM. After four straight losses to begin the season, the St. John's Red Storm finally got its first win over a weak Siena Saints. St. John's currently holds a 1-5 record and ranks 48th in RPI amongst 70 programs listed in division I. The Johnnies have never beaten Syracuse in lacrosse, and while this is not a good team, it did play #4 Yale well on Tuesday nigh but fell 13-8.
St. John's Quick Facts
St. John's All-Time Record Vs. SU: 0-8
St. John's Streak Vs. SU: L8
St. John's Last Win Vs. SU: N/A
St. John's 2015 Record: 3-11; Did Not Make BIG EAST Tournament
St. John's 2016 Record: 1-5; Win versus Siena; Losses versus Rutgers, Jacksonville, Stony Brook, Saint Joseph's, and Yale
2016 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll: #5 out of six
2016 BIG EAST Preseason All-Conference Players: Eric DeJohn (A)
2016 RPI: #48
There are two returning starters from the Red Storm's 3-11 season a year ago. Eric DeJohn hails from Syracuse and played his high school ball at JD. He actually committed to SU and redshirted at Syracuse for his freshman year before transferring to St. John's. He was the leadings scorer on last year's Red Storm team and once again leads his squad in points with 22 and also leads in assists with 13. The other returner is fellow sophomore Jason DeBenedictis, the current team leader in goals with 17. He has a very nice .711 shots on goal percentage. The third starter on St. John's is Declan Swartwood, a freshman from Bemardsville, NJ. Swartwood has five goals and six assists in his freshman year.
James Bonanno is the top returner on the midfield squad. He is a good dodger and as a team captain this year, Bonanno has five goals and four assists. Joining him on the top line is Brian Gaffney and his five goals and four assists. Gaffney scored the game winner against Siena with 1.9 seconds remaining in the contest. Scott Scannell will most likely be the third starter on the first line midfield.
Syracuse is winning 69.6% of its faceoffs. I can't imagine that St. John's, with its combined .460 faceoff winning percentage will give SU any problems on Saturday. For the second year in a row, Justin Corpolongo is the main FOGO for St. John's. He's won 57 of 117 faceoffs this season. Redshirt junior Jack Lally is second up at the faceoff X but only took one matchup against Yale.
The close defense will feature multi-year starters Jack McClellan and Kyle Skramko. This is defensive squad that is nearly last in division I in caused turnovers per game. The St. John's groundball game isn't anything to write home about either with the Red Storm snagging 28 groundballs per game. The defense is giving up 13.2 goals per game, again leaving them near the bottom of all teams in the NCAA.
After starting four games in net in 2015, Joseph Danaher began this season as the starter. But after giving up 10 goals and making just one save in just under 19 minutes in the season opener against Rutgers, he was pulled in favor of red shirt freshman Michael O'Keeffe. O'Keeffe then started versus Jacksonville, making nine saves and allowing eight goals in the loss. O'Keeffe started the next game against Stony Brook and gave up 14 goals and made 10 saves before Danaher came in for the final 7:41 of the game. From that point on, the two goalies began splitting time. In the most recent game versus Yale, Danaher got the starting nod and allowed only one goal in the first half while O'Keeffe came in for the second half and gave up 12 goals. I have to imagine that Danaher will get the start again verse ‘Cuse.
Syracuse will host the St. John's Red Storm on Saturday at 4 PM. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and can be heard on TK99. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for game updates.