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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse obliterates Hampton in CAA opener

Attackman Dylan Pallonetti takes an off-balanced shot against Hampton on Saturday, March 2. Pallonetti scored five goals in the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team’s first home win of the year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

On a day where it hosted one of the worst teams in the country, the only disappointment was that the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team did not pitch a shutout in its Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) opener.

It was a Saturday to remember for the Seawolves (2-3, 1-0 CAA), as they ran away with a 23-2 blowout victory over the Hampton Pirates (0-6, 0-1 CAA) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The thumping saw 12 different Stony Brook players score a goal and 17 total members of the team register at least one point.

After losing the previous three games in rather disappointing fashion, head coach Anthony Gilardi was happy to just get back into the win column, regardless of opponent.

“I think whether you play a Penn State or a Hampton, it’s all about you,” Gilardi said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “We focused on that going into those games as well … Division I lacrosse is tough, and if you play disciplined lacrosse, good things usually happen.”

After the first five minutes only saw one goal, defensive midfielder Ben Morschauser scored his first goal since the 2022 season with 9:38 left in the first quarter to double the Seawolves’ lead. Following Morschauser’s goal, faceoff specialist Chris Esposito won his draw with ease and rushed down the field before supplying attackman Justin Bonacci, who then drilled a shot top shelf. 

Just over 20 seconds later, attackman Dylan Pallonetti aggressively rushed through Hampton’s defense and scored his second goal of the opening frame. Just over a minute later, a 15-yard snipe in transition from defensive midfielder Garrett Gibbons made it 5-0. After a four-minute scoreless drought, midfielder Will Button found the back of the net for the first time in 2024 on the man-up opportunity.

With just over two minutes remaining in the opening period, attackman Nick Dupuis surveyed from the X before hitting midfielder Ryan Barker on the doorstep, who flicked one through goalkeeper David Sadasivam’s legs.

After taking a 7-0 lead into the second quarter, the game was already over, but Stony Brook did not relent. Four different scorers — starting with midfielder Jack Dougherty — buried the ball in the back of the cage to head into halftime leading 11-0.

With a sizable lead at the break, Gilardi pulled goalkeeper Tommy Wilk, who saved all three of the shots he faced. He gave goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan a chance to get right by facing the Pirates, and he did well in a small sample size, stopping three of the four shots that came his way.

After the game, MacLachlan praised Wilk, who has replaced him as the starter in the cage for the time being.

“I think Tommy has been playing excellent,” MacLachlan said. “We push each other everyday in practice … him just playing at the level he is now is just going to make me better, and I’m very happy with the way he’s playing. We need stops regardless, whether it’s coming from me or coming from him.”

The second half spelled more of the same for the Seawolves, as they won the opening faceoff and scored just 48 seconds in with a clinical finish by Barker. After another 45 ticks ran off the third-quarter clock, a heroic run from midfielder Collin Williamson ended with a goal to make it 13-0. After that, Stony Brook stopped taking turns, as Pallonetti scored on three consecutive trips down the field to extend the lead to 16 goals.

Dupuis and Bonacci followed Pallonetti with unassisted goals, leading to Gilardi subbing out the whole starting lineup. From the second unit, attackman Will Danowski scored his first collegiate goal with only 29 seconds left in the third quarter. He then opened the fourth-quarter scoring within the first two minutes of the next frame.

With 12:07 left to play, attackman Walker Popko opened his 2024 goalscoring account by shoveling one past backup goalkeeper Dylan Robinson.

Within the next minute, Hampton midfielder Mamadou Meite spoiled the shutout when he circled the cage from the left and ripped one past MacLachlan’s right. After four minutes of scoreless action, midfielder Sean Carlo found twine for the first time this year. With 6:16 left, Danowski pounded a vigorous shot to complete the first hat trick of his NCAA career.

The Pirates scored the final goal of the afternoon when attackman Darius Stanley scooped up a ground ball in the Seawolves’ zone and shot one past goalkeeper Joey Rice. Rice — Stony Brook’s third-string goalie — saved one of the two shots that came his way in his collegiate debut.

The Seawolves dominated all statistical battles. They outshot Hampton 59-22 overall and 37-9 on goal.

Pallonetti led the team with five goals and an assist. Dupuis led the team with eight points, scoring two goals and dishing out a team-best six assists. Bonacci and Danowski each scored three goals apiece, followed by Gibbons and Barker with two each. Button, Williamson, Carlo, Dougherty, Popko and Morschauser each tucked one in.

Midfielder Noah Armitage totaled two assists. Midfielder C.J. Harris, defensive midfielder Dane Reda, attackman Ronnie Kraemer and Esposito all dropped one dime each.

In terms of possession, Stony Brook committed just 20 turnovers while its opponents coughed it up 29 times. The Seawolves doubled the Pirates’ input in the battle on the ground, scooping up 52 ground balls to their 26.

Esposito led the team with eight ground balls, followed by Pallonetti and Harris with four each. Six different Stony Brook players picked up three ground balls: long stick midfielder Christian Lowd, midfielder Will Birney, defensive midfielder Dan Newton, defenders Carson Forney and Tucker Chanenchuk and Popko.

In the faceoff X, Gilardi let his freshman — Esposito and faceoff specialist Owen McIntee — handle duties. Esposito won 15 of his 20 faceoffs, while McIntee succeeded on seven of his nine chances.

Stony Brook collected a season-high 11 caused turnovers, led by Lowd and defender Mikey Sabella with two each. Midfielder Jaden Baldwin and defenders Riley Hegarty, Trevor Galgano and Jesse Corser-James each caused one turnover. Dupuis, Bonacci and Birney also recorded one takeaway each.

The Seawolves will hope to carry some of this momentum into their next game next Tuesday when they take on the Dartmouth Big Green at a neutral site Avon, Conn. The Big Green are 2-2 this year after beating Siena 12-11 on Saturday. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m.

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