We’re breaking down each and every NCAA D1 team one by one to get prepped for the rapidly approaching season. Welcome back to the Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Previews! We move another spot down the list and the St. John’s Red Storm, located in Queens, NY, are up for Preview!
In 2012, St. John’s went 8-7 under Jason Miller, which was the Red Storm’s FIRST winning season since the school brought the program back in the early 2000s, and it marked a major turn around for the newer program. An 8-7 win over Notre Dame was a great cap to this season, and close losses to Drexel, Villanova, and Syracuse show just how close St. John’s was to being a Top 20 team last year.
2013 sees St. John’s play their Big East schedule again, and they also play Yale, Hofstra, Holy Cross, and Stony Brook, like they did last year. The Red Storm also faces Siena, Robert Morris, and Marquette. A quick look at the schedule shows seven winnable games, and 7 tough contests. So will St. John’s move up, or down, the D1 ladder?
Anytime a team has an especially good season, the next year can be tough. Will the guys come back more focused? Will they be content with past success? Will certain players jump ship for brighter pastures? For St. John’s, they have to be hoping the answers to those questions are: Yes, No, and only a couple.
Jeff Lowman returns in goal, and he’ll need to have a big season not only between the pipes, but also as a team leader, if St. John’s wants to stay on the right path. A program on the rise often relies on a solid keeper to lead the way, and Lowman can deliver in that regard. He’s helped by Joe Addona down low, and Dillon Ayers at LSM, both returning. Ayers is a beast with the pole, and makes the Red Storm better with his nose for GBs, tough play and ability to push transition.
Offensively, St. John’s will again benefit from having Kieran McArdle back at attack. McArdle was SJU’s best offensive player a year ago, and is truly dynamic. He gives the Red Storm that “it” factor on O. Kevin Cernuto played with McArdle well last year, and SJU has a couple of other guys who could fit into that third spot nicely, like Colin Keegan, or the Canadian Stefan Diachenko. SJU only has five pure attackmen on their roster, so they are fortunate all of them can really play.
So where is St. John’s loaded up with numbers if it’s not at the attack? Their midfield is HUGE, and they have 19 short stick middies on the roster, along with two LSMs. As I have said before, finding athletic middies is a key in 2013, and I really like St. John’s in this regard. While the Red Storms doesn’t overwhelm you with size in their midfielders, they do have some guys with speed, and with the rules, this will come in handy. Look for players like Brandon Ayers (Dillon’s twin), Connor Mullen, and Alex Lagodich to step up and run between the lines all day long.
While St. John’s made big strides last year, 2013 will be just as tough. The Red Storm won’t sneak up on anyone this year, and some of those lower ranked teams are now looking at their match up with SJU as a big winnable game. With an attack that can score, a good returning defense, and number of well-conditioned midfielders, St. John’s is looking solid. An 8-6 season, or better, is not out of the question for this team if they come to work every day.
Click HERE to see Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview posts for Air Force, Albany,Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius, Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Denver, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, Fairfield, Hartford, Harvard, High Point, Hobart, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Jacksonville, Johns Hopkins, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Marquette, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mercer, Michigan, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy, UNC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UPenn, Penn State, Princeton, Providence, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Rutgers, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s, and Siena!