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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse comeback thwarted by Brown

Midfielder Matt Anderson driving towards the cage against Sacred Heart on Sunday, Feb. 26. Anderson scored two points in the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team’s loss to Brown. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

A bad start and an equally poor finish dropped the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team back under .500.

The Seawolves (2-3) wrapped up their three-game homestand on Saturday against the Brown Bears. Crucial scoring runs by Brown in the first and fourth quarters helped give Stony Brook a 17-12 loss.

Brown’s efficiency on offense provided it with breathing room early, as back-to-back goals by attackman Ben Locke gave it a 4-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. Long stick midfielder Christian Lowd got Stony Brook on the board with his first goal of the year, but Brown responded with four unanswered goals. The final three goals of that streak came at the start of the second quarter, putting Stony Brook in an 8-1 hole with eight minutes left in the first half.

Brown’s offense was able to break through by utilizing long possessions that tired out the Seawolves’ defense. 

“They did a good job of wearing us down,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “They scored three goals at least under five seconds in the shot clock. We thought they were going to be really aggressive early [in the shot clock]. We have to finish the whole possession and that’s still our challenge.”

Stony Brook responded with two consecutive man-up goals from attackmen Jonathan Huber and Dylan Pallonetti. Midfielder Will Button ended the half with a bang, bouncing in an incredible goal from a sideways angle while falling to the ground. Not only did the Seawolves score two man-up goals in the second quarter, but they held Brown scoreless in four man-up opportunities.

The half ended on a somber note after faceoff specialist Renz Conlon suffered an apparent upper-body injury, sidelining him for the rest of the game. Stony Brook went into the locker room trailing 8-4. 

Attackman Blake Behlen opened the second half with a goal, scoring on a behind-the-back shot for the first goal of the third quarter. Brown promptly responded with midfielder Aidan McLane’s third goal of the afternoon. Faceoff specialist Robbie Smith returned the favor eight seconds later, winning the faceoff and outrunning the defense to score the first goal of his NCAA career. 

Midfielder Matt Anderson continued the theatrics just under four minutes later when he unleashed a rocket from the 35-yard line for a goal. With the momentum on his side, Pallonetti scored two consecutive goals to tie the game at nine apiece. 

The tie lasted a mere seven seconds, as Brown faceoff specialist Matthew Gunty raced right down field for his first goal of the season. With just 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Brown midfielder Jack Kelly scored to give his team an 11-9 lead heading into the final frame.

The Bears took advantage of the missing presence of Conlon, as several Stony Brook faceoff violations helped Brown pull away. Brown one-upped its first-quarter performance, scoring on its first five shots on goal. Goals from Behlen, Huber and Button helped the Seawolves remain afloat, but it was not enough to close the gap.  

Gilardi felt the violations had a profound effect on the team’s play in the final quarter.

“The faceoff hacks changed [the team’s play],” Gilardi said. “Some of the calls and procedures there really hurt us. Once you get two, you’re on your heels and we got a couple of men down because of that.”

Pallonetti led the way for Stony Brook with five points, recording a team-high three goals along with two assists. Behlen and Button both tallied two goals and one assist each. Huber also scored two goals. Anderson racked up one goal and one assist.

It was a rough day in the cage for goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan. He allowed 17 goals and saved just 11 of the 28 shots on goal that came his way.

Brown outclassed Stony Brook in the faceoff department, winning 19 of the game’s 32 opportunities. The Seawolves struggled after Conlon’s injury, winning just seven of the next 19 faceoffs. Stony Brook was narrowly able to edge out the Bears on the ground, scooping 33 ground balls to Brown’s 32. Lowd and Smith each picked up six ground balls.

Stony Brook could not stop Kelly or McLane on defense. Kelly scored four goals and added an assist, while McLane scored five times and dished out two assists.

Though Gilardi has been preaching consistency, Stony Brook is still looking to achieve it.

The consistency that we said we have been striving for – we are still looking for it,” Gilardi said. “I am proud of the guys for coming out at halftime and tying it up at 9-9, but we beat ourselves. We had too many unforced plays, too many fouls, and I think those are the plays that hurt us.”

The Seawolves will look to get back in the win column on Saturday when they travel to Rhode Island to play the Providence Friars. Opening face-off is scheduled for noon. The Friars are 3-3 on the season and are coming off a 17-10 victory over Fairfield on Saturday.

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