The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

72° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

Stony Brook men’s lacrosse opens CAA play early against struggling Hampton

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team huddles before its game against Pennsylvania State on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Seawolves will host Hampton tomorrow for their conference opener. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

In desperate need of a win, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team will open its conference season against one of the worst teams in the nation.

The Seawolves (1-3) will play their first Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) game of the year against the Hampton Pirates (0-5) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday. In the CAA opener last year, Stony Brook trounced Hampton 19-3 down in Virginia. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.

The Seawolves are going through some goalkeeping drama right now, and given the weakness of the Pirates, this is not a great test to see who is better for the job.

Goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan held the starting job for the first three games after being named a 2024 Preseason All-CAA Team Selection. However, MacLachlan was pulled against then-No. 11/14 Rutgers and then-No. 13/14 Pennsylvania State in favor of backup goalkeeper Tommy Wilk. MacLachlan saved just 22.7% of the shots he faced in those games while Wilk stopped 55.2% of them after coming off the bench.

Due to MacLachlan’s poor performances, Wilk started the last game at Air Force, where he posted a .500 save percentage on 24 shots.

Head coach Anthony Gilardi may choose to work MacLachlan against Hampton’s poor offense, or he might reward Wilk’s strong play with another start.

Regardless of the goalkeeper behind them, Stony Brook’s defense needs to get right. The Seawolves are causing six turnovers per game, which is tied for sixth out of eight teams in the CAA. Overall, their opponents have turned the ball over 15 times per game, which is the second-lowest average in the conference. They do a good job clearing the ball out of their own defensive zone, as they are doing so at an 88.5% clip, which places fourth in the league.

Defenders Mikey Sabella and Carson Forney, long stick midfielder Christian Lowd and defensive midfielder Garrett Gibbons are Stony Brook’s top performers on the end line. Lowd and Gibbons co-lead the team with eight ground ball pickups, followed by Sabella and Forney with seven apiece. Forney paces the defense with five caused turnovers, followed by Gibbons with four.

The Seawolves’ defense will not get an easier test for the rest of the season, as Hampton’s scoring offense is the second worst in the nation with just 5.4 goals per game. The Pirates generate just 30.2 shots per game, 16.6 of which land on goal.

Over Hampton’s last two games, it has scored 14 goals, with six coming off the stick of midfielder Darius Stanley. Stanley leads the team with eight goals and nine points. Fellow midfielder Mamadou Meite is the team’s second-best goalscorer with four. Attackman Andre Myers leads the Pirates with four assists.

Just like its offense, Hampton’s scoring defense is the second worst in the nation, as it is conceding 20.8 goals per game. The ball rarely leaves the Pirates’ defensive zone, as their 72.7% clear percentage is the worst in the country. Opponents average 53.2 shots per game against them, 36 of which land on goal.

On the ground, Hampton picks up only 26.4 ground balls per game, which is the fewest in the CAA. However, the Pirates rank third in the conference with 8.8 caused turnovers per game. 

Defender DyJae Pearson — a Preseason All-CAA selection — is their defensive anchor and has caused five turnovers this year. Defender Dillon Bethea leads them with eight caused turnovers and 18 ground balls. Off the bench, defensive midfielder Ethan Mitchell matches Pearson with five caused turnovers.

Operating between the pipes for Hampton is goalkeeper David Sadasivam. Sadasivam has started all five games and owns a .422 save percentage and a 21.7 goals against average. Goalkeeper Dylan Robinson has also spent significant time in the crease for the Pirates, playing in four of their five games and posting a .424 save percentage alongside a 17.54 goals against average.

Hampton is going to need all hands on deck to stay afloat against the barrage that is Stony Brook’s offense.

The Seawolves are averaging 39.8 shots and 23 shots on goal per game this year. Their 12.5 goals per game rank third in the CAA.

Attackman Dylan Pallonetti is the headliner of Stony Brook’s offense and co-leads the team with 10 goals alongside fellow attackman Justin Bonacci. Pallonetti has also dished out four assists in as many games. Attackman Nick Dupuis is a dynamic X player who has dished out a CAA-leading 15 assists with only eight turnovers. He has also scored seven goals, giving him a team-leading 22 points.

However, the Seawolves will be without attackman Blake Behlen for the rest of the year, as he suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear against Penn State. Behlen is one of their best playmakers, as he scored three goals and dished out five assists through the first three games before the injury.

Stony Brook’s midfield unit as a whole has struggled to break out like the attack has. Midfielder Noah Armitage is the unit’s top performer with nine goals and an assist. Midfielder Jack Dougherty posted five goals and an assist through the first two games, but he has not found the scoresheet since. Midfielder Will Button, who scored 28 points last season, has not scored yet but has tallied three assists through the first three games.

Midfielder Ryan Barker has had a strong start to his NCAA career, scoring four goals in as many games. Gibbons has gotten involved in the offensive zone, as well, as he has dished out four assists this year.

The Seawolves will also look to dominate the faceoff X against the Pirates. Hampton owns the nation’s lowest faceoff win percentage at 25%. Stony Brook splits the responsibilities between four different faceoff specialists: Robbie Smith, Chris Esposito, Declan Mitchell and Owen McIntee. The four have combined to post just a .397 faceoff win percentage, which is the third-worst figure in the CAA.

Smith leads the team with a .432 faceoff percentage, followed by Esposito at .406.

The Pirates also have four faceoff specialists who share the load: Matthew Hall, Trevor Tran, Mason Howard and Braeden Lessane all receive a considerable amount per game. Tran has fared the best out of the four, winning 33.3% of his faceoffs, while his teammates have each won fewer than 20% of their opportunities.

With the CAA being as tough as it is, the Seawolves need to hit this layup and start conference play on the right foot.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (0)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *