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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook men’s lacrosse hopes to snap decade-long drought at No. 19 Delaware

Attackman Dylan Pallonetti (34) dodges Delaware defender Owen Grant while midfielders Sean Carlo (27) and Matt Anderson (51) try to create space on Saturday, April 15. Pallonetti and Grant are two of the best in the nation and will go head-to-head for the CAA title on Saturday. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

After pulling off a victory in the semifinals of the playoffs, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team will be looking to get to its first NCAA tournament since 2012.

However, that will be easier said than done for the Seawolves (9-6, 5-2 CAA), who have to get past the No. 19 Delaware Blue Hens to claim the 2023 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title. If Stony Brook is to pull off the upset, it will have to do so at Delaware Stadium, the Blue Hens’ home turf. Opening faceoff for the championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

As the third seed in the tournament, Stony Brook is coming off a 13-10 victory over Drexel on Thursday night. In the first semifinal matchup on Thursday, Delaware — the top seed — won a low-scoring affair over fourth-seeded Towson 11-8.

Stony Brook and Delaware matched up on April 15, and the Seawolves had their late rally squashed by the Blue Hens’ elite defense in a 12-9 loss. In that game, Stony Brook trailed 11-5 with just 11 minutes remaining, but scored four unanswered goals to cut its deficit down to just two. Ultimately, a costly turnover and a goal that followed buried the Seawolves and put an end to their comeback.

Now they have a chance for redemption and are coming in hot on a three-game winning streak. Stony Brook has an elite offense, as it is ranked second in the CAA in goals, assists and points per game. The Seawolves have taken the most shots per game and landed the second-most shots on goal per game in the conference, as well. They have also committed the second-fewest turnovers per game in the CAA.

Attackman Dylan Pallonetti headlines Stony Brook’s elite offense. The potential All-American selection was just held without a goal for the first time in his NCAA career on Thursday, but he still co-leads the CAA in goals scored and goals per game. Before the postseason kicked off, Pallonetti was named to the 2023 All-CAA First Team.

Fellow attackmen Blake Behlen and Jonathan Huber have been very good in their first year with Stony Brook. Huber just scored five goals in the semifinals and is seventh in the CAA in goals per game (2.20). Behlen is fifth on the team with 21 goals and leads the team with 20 assists. Behlen’s 1.33 assists per game is tied for sixth-best in the conference.

Stony Brook’s midfielders are very involved in the scoring as well. Midfielders Matt Anderson and Noah Armitage both made the All-CAA First Team for their performances in the regular season. Armitage has scored 25 goals and 19 assists, giving him the second-most points on the team (44). His 2.93 points per game places him at 10th in the CAA. Anderson has scored 43 points this year with 28 goals and 15 assists.

Midfielder Will Button has also been a presence for Stony Brook. He is the team’s sixth-leading scorer with 17 goals and 10 assists, and just racked up two of each on Thursday.

The Seawolves’ offense has to take the field against the best defense in the CAA. Delaware has only allowed 9.20 goals per game, which is the best average in the conference. The unit is anchored by the 2023 CAA Defensive Player of the Year: Delaware defender Owen Grant. He is averaging 2.20 caused turnovers per game, which is the second-best figure in the CAA. Grant has also picked up 46 ground balls, which is the second-most on the team. He has even contributed seven goals and an assist on offense. He was selected to the All-CAA First Team for his performance.

Delaware midfielder Jason Seiter is another presence on defense. He picked up 36 ground balls and caused six turnovers this year, earning himself a spot on the 2023 All-CAA Second Team.

Delaware defenders Joe Speers, Tate Wasson and Kevin Lynch were all integral in building the best defense in the conference as well. Speers has caused 23 turnovers this year, which is good for fourth-best in the conference. Wasson’s 19 caused turnovers ranks seventh in the CAA, and Lynch’s 14 are the fourth-most on the team.

Delaware’s defense causes the second-most turnovers per game in the CAA at 9.47. The suffocating defense makes Delaware goalkeeper Matt Kilkeary’s job easier. He leads the CAA in save percentage (52.6%) despite only making the third-most saves in the conference. He was selected as the All-CAA First Team’s goalkeeper.

Stony Brook’s defense is not on Delaware’s level, but it has held its own this year. The Seawolves rank fourth in goals against average at 11.36 per game. They also boast the best penalty-kill percentage in the CAA, preventing goals on 84.3% of their shorthanded situations.

The bulk of the work has been done by defender Mikey Sabella and long stick midfielder Christian Lowd. Sabella has picked up 42 ground balls and caused 18 turnovers this year, the latter of which is the second most on the team. Lowd is third in the CAA in caused turnovers (30) and caused turnovers per game (2.00) this year. His 62 ground balls picked up gave him an average of 4.13 per game, which is ninth-best in the conference.

Defensive midfielder David Miele-Estrella and defender Michael DeSano have also been integral in Stony Brook’s success. Miele-Estrella has picked up 25 ground balls and caused six turnovers this year as a rotational player off the bench. DeSano has not played since the last time these two met, but he still caught the attention of CAA coaches. He was named to the 2023 All-CAA Rookie Team for picking up 17 ground balls and causing three turnovers in 12 games.

Goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan has been the biggest anchor on Stony Brook’s defense. After saving 15 of the 25 shots he faced in the semifinals, MacLachlan is now second in the CAA in save percentage (52.0%). He leads the conference in saves (181) and saves per game (12.07). He stopped 15 of the 27 shots that Delaware sent his way on April 15. The Seawolves will need MacLachlan to be clutch in the cage if they intend to clinch an automatic bid.

That will be no tall task, as Delaware’s offense is the only one that has outperformed Stony Brook this year. The Blue Hens lead the league in goals per game (14.40), assists per game (8.33) points per game (22.73), shots on goal per game (26.07) and shot percentage (33.8%). They also have the best power-play unit, as they have scored on 21 of their 42 chances this year.

Delaware attackman Tye Kurtz now co-leads the CAA in goals with 47 after Pallonetti’s scoreless performance. He has also dished out 25 assists this year, giving him a conference-leading 72 points. He was given the honor of 2023 CAA Offensive Player of the Year on Wednesday.

Fellow Delaware attackman J.P. Ward was also selected to the All-CAA First Team this year. He facilitates the Blue Hens’ attack, as he leads the conference with 38 assists and 2.53 assists per game. Along with his assists, Ward has scored 32 goals, giving himself 70 points on the season.

Delaware attackmen Mike Robinson and Clay Miller have been involved in the offense’s scoring as well. Robinson is third on the team with 21 goals, 14 assists and 35 points. Miller has 16 goals and 12 assists this year.

Delaware midfielders Jason Kolar, Cam Acchione, Nick Jessen and Brendan Powers have all chipped into the Blue Hens’ scoring as well. Kolar is fourth on the team with 19 goals while Acchione is fifth with 17. Jessen and Powers are the seventh and eighth-leading scorers on the team with 14 and 13 goals, respectively. Powers was selected to the CAA All-Rookie Team for his numbers as a freshman.

Controlling the faceoff X will be the key for Stony Brook. Neither team has been good in that area this year, but the Seawolves have been the worst. Delaware has won only 49.0% of its faceoff opportunities in 2023, but Stony Brook has won only 45.5% of them. The last time the two teams played, faceoff specialists Robbie Smith and Declan Mitchell carried the Seawolves to a 60% faceoff win rate. In the semifinals against Drexel, they combined to win only 30.8% of faceoffs.

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About the Contributor
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
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