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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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Lowest-scoring performance since 2019 sinks Stony Brook men’s lacrosse

Midfielder Jack Dougherty passes the ball against Pennsylvania State on Feb. 17. Dougherty tallied a goal and an assist on Saturday versus Monmouth. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Though it had plenty of chances, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team simply could not overcome its opponents goaltending.

The Seawolves (3-6, 1-1 CAA) suffered an 11-6 loss to the Monmouth Hawks (4-4, 1-1 CAA) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Stony Brook scored its fewest goals in a game since April 6, 2019 when it scored just four times in a loss to Princeton.

Unlike prior losses, the Seawolves’ biggest issue this time around was not necessarily themselves. They outshot Monmouth 45-29 overall and 25-15 on goal. In the possession battle, they committed just 12 turnovers to the Hawks’ 15 while splitting the faceoff battle 10-10. On the ground, Stony Brook picked up 29 ground balls while its opponent totaled just one more.

This issue this time was Monmouth goalkeeper Tommy Heller, who saved a career-high-tying 19 shots in just 25 chances. He shut the Seawolves out in the first quarter, allowing the Hawks to pull off a wire-to-wire victory on a day where their offense was not particularly sharp.

Head coach Anthony Gilardi gave Heller his due credit, but he also faulted his attack for allowing him to get into a groove.

“Hats off to him,” Gilardi said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “We gave him some really easy ones, especially to start the game. As a goalie, it gives you confidence.”

Heller stopped Stony Brook on its first two attacking sets. Following the second save, the Monmouth midfielder Matt Dollive penetrated the Seawolves’ defense and flew across the crease before putting one past goalkeeper Tommy Wilk. With 3:45 left in the first quarter, the Hawks tacked on another unassisted goal through attackman Burke Webb.

Just 67 seconds into the second period, Monmouth midfielder Sean Ketchen took the ball from the X on a give-and-go play and wrapped around the cage before whipping it past Wilk’s left.

After falling behind 3-0, midfielder Noah Armitage got Stony Brook on the board at the 10:16 mark of the second quarter before attackman Dylan Pallonetti followed him with a goal of his own. Now within one score, faceoff specialist Robbie Smith won the ensuing faceoff, but attackman Justin Bonacci was stoned by Heller.

The Hawks successfully cleared the ball into the attacking zone and ultimately cashed in when midfielder Jake Schneider spun away from a defender and picked the bottom-left corner. With just under five minutes left in the first half, Monmouth midfielder Luke Cole fed attackman Connor Macrae, who bounced one from deep off the left wing and over Wilk’s head for the goal.

Just 30 seconds later, midfielder Sean Carlo got one back with an unassisted goal. Faceoff specialist Chris Esposito controlled the following draw, but attackman Nick Dupuis was denied by Heller to keep it a two-possession game.

The Seawolves failed to score again over the rest of the first half, during which time the Hawks scored two more times by way of attackmen Brendan Dundas and Connor Gorman.

The Tommy versus Tommy matchup was as lopsided as could be, as Wilk saved none of the seven shots he faced in the first half. He was benched in favor of former starting goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan, who saved four of the eight shots he faced in the second half.

Despite MacLachlan’s good performance in relief, Heller never let his foot off Stony Brook’s neck. In the third quarter, Heller redirected seven of the Seawolves’ eight shots on cage, conceding just a goal to Pallonetti. During the period, Schneider bagged a pair of goals around another one from Gorman to give Monmouth a 10-4 lead.

In the final frame, Stony Brook never gave itself a shot to come from behind. Only 35 seconds in, Armitage scored off an assist from midfielder Jack Dougherty. However, the Seawolves committed six turnovers over the rest of the fourth quarter and Heller stuffed another three shots to keep the game out of reach. Dougherty scored a meaningless goal with just 2:41 left, but Dundas did the same thing 51 seconds later to put the nail in the coffin.

Though the numbers show Stony Brook may have just been unlucky, Gilardi said it was one of the worst offensive performances of his tenure with the team.

“I think offensively, that was one of the least organized, least disciplined performances that we’ve put out here in five years,” Gilardi said. “We have good players, we had a good plan and we just have to execute and be disciplined with the ball.”

Pallonetti and Armitage led the Seawolves with a pair of goals apiece. Dupuis finished with two assists while Dougherty dished out one and scored a goal of his own. Carlo’s goal rounded out their scoring.

Armitage tried to keep his head high following the rough day.

“All we can do is turn the page and focus on next week,” Armitage said.

On the endline, defender Mikey Sabella and long stick midfielder Christian Lowd co-led the team with two caused turnovers. Defender Carson Forney along with defensive midfielders Ben Morschauser and Dane Reda all recorded one takeaway.

Forney led Stony Brook with four ground balls, followed by Lowd, Morschauser, Bonacci and defensive midfielder Garrett Gibbons with three apiece.

Schneider led the Hawks with three goals, followed by Dundas and Gorman with two apiece.

The Seawolves will look to end their three-game losing streak next Saturday when they take on the Towson Tigers in Maryland. The Tigers are 6-3 overall and 2-0 in Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) play after beating Fairfield 12-10. Opening faceoff is scheduled for noon.

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