The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

80° 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 hopes to turn season around in CAA play

Attackman Justin Bonacci embraces a teammate after a goal against Hampton on March 2. Bonacci’s scoring ability will be needed for the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team to beat Monmouth tomorrow. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

With its nonconference schedule officially wrapped up, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team will enter the most crucial part of its year.

The Seawolves (3-5, 1-0 CAA) will start off the home stretch of the season against the Monmouth Hawks (3-4, 0-1 CAA) on Saturday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Opening faceoff is scheduled for noon.

The Seawolves will hope history repeats itself against Monmouth after defeating it 15-12 in New Jersey last year.

With strong performances in the last three contests, goalkeeper Tommy Wilk has cemented himself as Stony Brook’s starter. Over that stretch, Wilk has stopped 52 of the 89 (58.4%) shots he has faced. Wilk has started in five of Stony Brook’s eight matches and leads the CAA in save percentage (.572).

While Wilk has stood tall in the crease, the defense in front of him has caved in. The Seawolves have allowed 55.5 shots per game over the last two contests, with 31.5 per game landing on goal. Still — in large part due to Wilk — Stony Brook has surrendered the fourth-fewest goals per game (11.88) in the conference.

However, the Seawolves’ scoring defense is skewed by their 23-2 win over Hampton. Not including that game, they have surrendered 13.29 goals per game.

Stony Brook has struggled to clear the ball this year, as its .840 clear percentage is the second-lowest rate in the CAA.

Defenders Mikey Sabella and Carson Forney are the Seawolves’ defensive anchors. Sabella leads the team with 10 caused turnovers and is 10th in the CAA with 1.25 per game. Both have scooped up 15 ground balls apiece. Forney has caused six turnovers. Accompanying them will be defender Sean Conk, who has started in six of his seven appearances and picked up five ground balls.

Long stick midfielder Christian Lowd is another contributor on the defensive end. He has also caused six turnovers this season and is second on the team with 23 ground balls. Behind Lowd, defensive midfielders Garrett Gibbons and Ben Morschauser have made some plays off the bench. Morschauser ranks third on the team with 19 ground balls and Gibbons trails him with 15.

Stony Brook’s endline will have to contend with the Hawks’ middle-of-the-pack offense. They rank fifth in the nine-team CAA with 10.71 goals per game. Monmouth averages the third-fewest shots (36.43) and shots on goal (21.86) per contest in the conference.

The Hawks’ offense is run by attackmen Brendan Dundas, Connor Gorman and Connor Macrae. Dundas leads the team with 16 goals and is sixth in the CAA with 2.29 per game. He has also dished out six assists, which puts him one behind Macrae for the team lead. Alongside his seven assists, Macrae has scored 12 goals. Gorman has scored 14 times and helped on another six tallies this year.

The only other double-digit goalscorer for Monmouth is midfielder Luke Cole. He has recorded 10 goals and three assists.

The Hawks’ defense gives up more than its offense can create. Their opponents average 12.14 goals per match, the third-worst figure in the CAA. Monmouth’s .860 clear percentage is a step up from the Seawolves, but it still sits just fifth in the conference.

Defenders Miles Edmiston, Gabe Bowen-Slott and Michael Quigg headline Monmouth’s starting backend. Quigg leads the Hawks with nine caused turnovers and is followed by Bowen-Slott with eight in one fewer game. They are eighth and seventh in the league in caused turnovers per contest with 1.29 and 1.33, respectively. Edmiston has seven caused turnovers and has picked up 13 ground balls.

Off the bench, defender Jack Gertie is second on the team and leads all non-faceoff specialists with 18 ground balls picked up.

The Hawks’ last line of defense is goalkeeper Tommy Heller. Through seven starts, Heller owns a .479 save percentage, which places him fifth in the league. He has stopped 11.14 shots per game, the fourth-best mark in the CAA.

Heller will have his hands full against the Seawolves’ tandem of attackmen Nick Dupuis and Dylan Pallonetti.

Dupuis is the conference’s top point producer with 44 and 5.5 per contest. He has posted 14 goals to go along with a CAA-leading 30 assists and 3.75 per game. Pallonetti’s 3.25 goals per contest leads the CAA and sits at seventh in the nation. Overall, he has put up 26 goals and eight assists.

Attackman Justin Bonacci and midfielder Noah Armitage are solid offensive threats, as they have chipped in with 14 goals and three assists apiece. Midfielder Jack Dougherty has scored nine goals and dished out two assists this year. Midfielder Ryan Barker has started in four of eight games and scored nine times. Gibbons also produces on the offensive end and has contributed four goals and four assists.

The Seawolves produce 41.38 shots per game — the third-most in the conference. They average 13.5 goals per game, which is the second-highest number in the league. 

However, Stony Brook’s scoring numbers would likely be higher if its faceoff unit was better. Its .464 faceoff percentage is just fifth in the CAA. Faceoff specialist Chris Esposito has taken the most faceoff opportunities on the team and has won the ninth-highest percentage (47.4%) in the conference. Fellow faceoff specialist Robbie Smith is the secondary option, as he has taken 44 draws and won 43.2% of them.

The Hawks have not fared any better in the faceoff department, as they have won just 44.1% of their battles — the third-worst clip in the league. Monmouth’s faceoff specialists consist of Ethan Cronk and Will Hohn Jr. Cronk has squared off for 151 faceoffs and won 47.4% of them, just narrowly ahead of Esposito for eighth in the CAA. Hohn Jr. has won possession in just 10 of his 32 (31.3%) chances at the faceoff X.

The Seawolves also have an edge over the Hawks in the special teams battle. Their penalty kill leads with a 67.9% success rate, while they also convert on 46.7% of their extra-man opportunities, which is the third-best figure in the CAA. Monmouth’s special teams have struggled this year, as its penalty kill succeeds at just a 52.4% clip, while its man-up unit has scored just 25% of the time.

With its season more than halfway done and a potential at-large bid now just a distant memory, Stony Brook will need to dominate its conference to get to the 2024 NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament. With one win already in the bag, another would be crucial for its playoff hopes.

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 *