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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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MacLachlan benched in Stony Brook men’s lacrosse’s loss to No. 13/14 Penn State

Goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan looks downfield to pass the ball after a save against Pennsylvania State on Saturday, Feb. 17. MacLachlan was benched in the loss in favor of backup goalkeeper Tommy Wilk. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

As snow fell freely from the cloudy sky, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team struggled to find its proper footing against another ranked opponent.

The Seawolves (1-2) failed to keep up with the No. 13/14 Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions (2-1) in a 14-10 showdown at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday. Another bad start from goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan led to his benching, only this time, he is not guaranteed to get the job back.

The game began on a disastrous note for Stony Brook. Just six seconds into the game, Penn State faceoff specialist Colby Baldwin won the opening faceoff and carved through the defense before scoring on MacLachlan. Just over three minutes later, the Nittany Lions doubled their lead when attackman Luke Walstrum wrapped around the cage and whipped it left of MacLachlan and into the back right corner.

Over the rest of the first quarter, the Seawolves traded scores back and forth with Penn State. Goals from midfielders Noah Armitage and Ryan Barker alongside attackman Dylan Pallonetti made it a 4-3 game heading into the second period, where the game fell out of Stony Brook’s reach.

During the first minute of the second quarter, midfielder Mac Costin doubled the Nittany Lions’ lead back to two with his second goal of the day. Costin’s finish sparked a 5-0 run for Penn State that ended with a catch-and-shoot goal from attackman Chris Jordan, who went top shelf over MacLachlan’s left shoulder to make it 9-3 with 4:43 left in the first half. After that, head coach Anthony Gilardi had seen enough and turned to backup goalkeeper Tommy Wilk for the second consecutive game.

Once again, the Seawolves outplayed their opponents with Wilk in the game over MacLachlan. Wilk saved just four of the nine shots he faced, but that was much better than MacLachlan’s four stops in 13 chances.

Gilardi said that Wilk will be the temporary starter in the cage moving forward, but MacLachlan will likely get another shot.

“I think right now it’s Tommy’s job,” Gilardi said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Jamo has done a ton for this program … I’m a big believer in giving a guy another shot to show what he can do. I think Tommy’s super talented and we’re excited. I think we have to rally around Tommy now and see where it goes.”

With a two-player advantage, Stony Brook’s man-up unit flipped the momentum with just over three minutes remaining when Armitage connected on his second goal of the day. During the final 10 seconds of the half, attackman Nick Dupuis hit fellow attackman Justin Bonacci open on the right wing, who fired one into the bottom left corner to cut the deficit down to four.

The Seawolves’ momentum carried into the second half, where attackman Blake Behlen and Bonacci both scored consecutive goals to make it a 9-7 game. However, the Nittany Lions squashed the rally by going on a 4-0 run of their own, carried by a pair of goals from attackman Matt Traynor.

With 5:50 remaining in the third quarter, Armitage completed a hat trick to get one goal back. Just over a minute later, Bonacci did the same to cut Stony Brook’s deficit down to four goals and give it some newfound faith.

After Bonacci’s goal, the game turned into a defensive slugfest, as neither side scored until the 10:26 mark of the fourth quarter. With a lot of ground to make up, Dupuis circled the cage and floated it up to Armitage on the doorstep, where he leapt up to grab it before flicking it past Penn State goalkeeper Jack Fracyon.

The Seawolves had a chance to keep clawing back after faceoff specialist Robbie Smith won the ensuing faceoff, but Fracyon saved Bonacci’s long shot from the left wing to keep 13-10. With just under seven minutes remaining, Bonacci’s catch-and-shoot attempt hooked wide to the left of the cage, steepening their hill to climb.

With just 6:20 remaining in the game, the Nittany Lions put the game away when attackman Jake Morin bagged the final goal. Over the rest of the contest, Fracyon stoned shots from Pallonetti and Bonacci while the defense in front of him caused two turnovers to seal the deal.

From a statistical standpoint, it was a very even-keeled game. Stony Brook was narrowly outshot 39-38 and landed 20 shots on goal — two fewer than Penn State. The Seawolves lost the possession battle, as they committed one fewer turnover but won just 13 of the 28 (46.4%) faceoffs and scooped up 15 fewer ground balls. Smith handled the bulk of the faceoffs, going 8-for-18, while faceoff specialist Chris Esposito went 5-for-10.

Gilardi was encouraged by the similarities in the numbers.

“I think it shows us that we can play with anybody,” Gilardi said. “We have stretches of playing really good lacrosse. There’s four or five goals that are just our mistakes. Those are plays that can easily be fixed … but you have to do it. In the moment, you have to execute and make the play. Right now, we haven’t done that.”

Armitage scored four goals and Bonacci tallied three of his own plus an assist. Pallonetti scored one goal and dished out two assists. Behlen and Barker each finished with one goal apiece. Defensive midfielder Garrett Gibbons and midfielder Collin Williamson each picked up an assist, as well.

Dupuis made plays from the X all day and had four assists to show for it. However, he felt the team should have scored a couple more goals given the opportunities it had.

“We kind of left a few out there today that I feel like if we had again, we would put home, and that is a tough pill to swallow,” Dupuis said.

On the end line, defender Carson Forney led the team with two caused turnovers. Defender Mikey Sabella, defensive midfielder Ben Morschauser, Gibbons, Dupuis and Smith all caused one turnover. Smith led the squad with four ground ball pickups while Morschauser, Forney, long stick midfielder Christian Lowd and midfielder Jack Dougherty each scooped up three.

For the Nittany Lions, 10 different players scored a goal. Costin and Traynor co-led them with three goals apiece. Traynor also picked up six ground balls.

Stony Brook suffered a big loss early in the fourth quarter when Behlen was shoved from behind while shooting. He went down with a lower-body injury and had to be helped off the field. Behlen did not return to the game and his status moving forward is unknown.

The Seawolves will now hit the road and make a trip to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. There, they will take on the Air Force Falcons, who are 0-3 after losing 12-4 to Ohio State on Saturday. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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