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Poor defense hinders Stony Brook men’s lacrosse in second-straight loss

Attackmen Jonathan Huber (left) and Will Danowski (right) during a practice on Monday, Feb. 6. Huber scored his first goal as a member of the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team on Saturday against Penn State. MAYA DUCLAY/THE STATESMAN

After getting beaten up on defense, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team has begun its 2023 season on a losing streak.

Coming off an opening-day loss, the Seawolves (0-2) traveled to Pennsylvania to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday. Though Stony Brook jumped out to an early lead, its defense was not strong enough to hold back Penn State’s ferocious attack.

Stony Brook started off strong, taking a 3-0 lead with goals from midfielders Will Button, Sean Carlo and attackman Dylan Pallonetti.

However, Penn State was not fazed and strung off four unanswered goals to take its first lead of the day. Near the end of the first quarter, midfielder Noah Armitage tied the game with an unassisted goal.

Penn State re-took the lead with back-to-back goals from midfielder Mac Costin and attackman Jack Traynor. After going up 6-4 with eight seconds left in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions never looked back at Stony Brook.

For every goal the Seawolves scored, the Nittany Lions answered — and then some. Stony Brook only pulled off consecutive scores one more time throughout the rest of the game, as the defense could not figure out how to slow down Penn State. 

“Another tough opponent that did a good job of taking advantage of our mistakes,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We need to continue to work towards playing more consistent lacrosse all over the field day in and day out, game in and game out.”

After consecutive goals by midfielder Matt Anderson and Armitage cut Stony Brook’s deficit to two, Penn State responded with back-to-back scores to take a four-goal lead into halftime.

A similar pattern continued into the third quarter. After Button scored his second goal of the day, the Seawolves allowed consecutive goals, widening their deficit to six. Armitage cut into that hole by scoring his fourth goal of the afternoon, but Penn State attackman Jake Morin answered with a goal of his own. 

Trailing 15-9 entering the fourth quarter, Stony Brook had no defensive answer to help it pull off a come-from-behind victory. The team only scored three times in the fourth quarter, putting the final nail in its coffin.

Stony Brook had two players post a hat trick. Armitage led the team with four goals while Button scored a career-high three times.

During the fourth quarter, attackman Jonathan Huber scored the first goal of his Stony Brook tenure. Pallonetti extended his scoring streak by tallying two more goals. 

Faceoff specialist Renz Conlon led the team with nine ground balls. Goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan was second on the team with four ground balls.

MacLachlan had a tougher game this time around, saving only eight of the 22 shots on goal that came his way. During the fourth quarter, he was pulled in favor of backup goalkeeper Nick Squicciarini, who allowed three goals in four chances.

Stony Brook did much better on faceoffs than it did last week, going 18-for-33.

The Seawolves will hope to get their first victory of the season this Friday in their home opener. There, they will battle the Air Force Falcons at 2 p.m. Air Force is currently 2-1 after beating Colgate 11-10 on Sunday.

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