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McArdle Launch'ed into Major League Lax record books

Kieran McArdle rewrote the St. John's lacrosse history books this spring; and just a few weeks after his rookie season in the MLL wrapped the Red Storm standout is reflecting on yet another season of records.

Mike Ehrmann

Kieran McArdle isn't much for sitting still.

The 2014 St. John's grad, who almost single-handedly rewrote the Red Storm men's lacrosse record books this past spring, hasn't had much time for reminiscing or even catching his breath the past few months.

But after a whirlwind spring and his first season as a professional lax player with the Florida Launch, one that earned him Major League Lacrosse rookie of the year honors, McArdle finally has a few moments of downtime and, despite his pre-inclination to avoid it, he has to admit that sitting still also has some benefits.

"[I relaxed] a little bit over these past couple of days," McArdle said of the chance to finally reflect. "But not really. It was pretty crazy going straight from your college season to the pros. I think I got one weekend off and I was heading out to Florida on that. It was a little crazy. But I can finally rest for a little while."

McArdle was drafted fifth overall by the Launch in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft and the Ronkonkoma, NY native was quick to make his presence known on the professional circuit.

Although the Launch failed to make the postseason this year, McArdle finished the regular season sitting ninth in league scoring with 49 total points, including 34 goals. Both of those numbers were also enough to set the record for scoring and goals for a rookie.

"Just looking back on it now, it was just an awesome experience," he said. "From the guys on my team to the coaching staff to being down in Florida, breaking records. It was just everything I could ever have dreamed of it being. It was just awesome."

There wasn't ever really a 'welcome-to-the-pros' moment for McArdle this season, but there was a definite shift from college to MLL and, once again, it all came down to scheduling.

Unlike colleges, or even high schools, MLL teams practice just one day a week in preparation for the Saturday matchup and after a career of breaking down game film and analyzing an opposing team's defensive scheme, the switch was both jarring and slightly freeing for McArdle from a goal-scoring perspective.

"I liked it because you kind of just go out and play," he said. "Everyone is at the professional level, so you all have the skill set. You've just got to go out there and play every Saturday. It's a lot of fun."

Of course, McArdle's record-breaking season with the Launch wasn't entirely unexpected.

In his four seasons with the Red Storm, the attackman helped not only transform the St. John's program but managed to cement his name in the record books as well.

By the end of his senior season, McArdle had been named a two-time Big East Attackman of the Year, the first time a St. John's player had been awarded such an honor. He finished the 2014 regular season as the Big East leader in points per game (5.71), assists per game (2.86) and goals per game (2.86) and ranked among the top-ten in the NCAA in all three categories as well.

"It was the best four years of my life," McArdle said. "I have best friends coming out of that program. I hold a lot of records and it was just an awesome all-around experience that I wouldn't trade for anything."

But while the numbers he left behind were nothing short of impressive, McArdle knew that playing at St. John's wouldn't always be easy and that it would be up to him and his teammates to help put the program back on the turf and the map.

After his freshman season, the Storm had posted a 4-10 record with just one win at home and it would have been easy for McArdle to turn his back, looking for a program that could offer him more exposure or a greater chance to win.

The thought never even passed through his mind.

By his junior season, St. John's posted a 9-4 record and defeated then-top ranked Notre Dame, the first time in program history that the team had defeated a top-ranked squad.

"I know people always asked me 'why wouldn't you transfer?' or something like that and it's just not something that I wanted to do," he said. "I started something there and I wanted to finish off what I started. Transferring was never really an option. It was just a team bond, awesome chemistry. The guys on the team and the coaching staff really made a great experience for me."

McArdle will be heading back to the classroom in a few weeks, working on his masters degree in physical education at Hofstra. Classes begin on September 2nd.

But while his immediate schedule is certainly filled, McArdle's future is still shaped around lacrosse. The St. John's grad has the next year and even the next five years of his life planned and, in the end, it all comes down to the same thing; playing.

"I would like to still be playing, definitely," he said. "I'm going to try and, hopefully, I get drafted into the indoor league, the NLL. So I'll be doing that in the winter, hopefully. In five years, I hope to have a teaching job at a high school and I'll be a coach for the high school as well. And I still want to be playing."