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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse narrowly defeated by Towson

Defender Mikey Sabella carries the ball against Pennsylvania State on Feb. 17. Despite Sabella’s three caused turnovers, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team fell to Towson. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Although it put up a fight against one of the Coastal Athletic Association’s (CAA) top dogs, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team is now on its first four-game losing streak in six years.

The Seawolves (3-7, 1-2 CAA) failed to get over the hump in a narrow 9-8 loss to the Towson Tigers (7-3, 3-0 CAA) in Maryland on Saturday. Though it got within one goal on three separate occasions, Stony Brook never took the next step and its losing ways continued.

Through three quarters, Towson was the far superior team. It won 12 of the 15 faceoffs, allowing it to take a 36-21 edge in shots. Despite the vast disparities, the Seawolves only trailed 7-5 entering the fourth period on the back of goalkeeper Tommy Wilk’s 13 saves.

However, four and a half minutes into the final frame, the Tigers’ extra-man unit got the best of Wilk. Towson attackman Alex Roussel slung one past Wilk to make it 8-5 with 10:34 left in the game. Stony Brook’s offense turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter, including four times through the first eight minutes. The giveaways prevented the Seawolves from finding the scoreboard until attackman Dylan Pallonetti caught a feed from midfielder Will Button and unleashed a shot from 15 yards out for a top-shelf goal.

Stony Brook threatened for more, but the Tigers were having none of it. On the possession following Pallonetti’s goal, Towson defender Conor Spagnolli stripped midfielder Noah Armitage.

The Tigers held onto the ball and chewed time before suffering a shot-clock violation with just under four minutes left in the game. The Seawolves had another chance to get back within one goal, but Pallonetti’s shot was stuffed by Towson goalkeeper Luke Downs.

After the ensuing clear, attackman Chop Gallagher picked his spot from the left wing and fired one off-balanced and past Wilk’s right to restore the Tigers’ three-goal advantage with 2:49 remaining. Stony Brook went scoreless for the next minute and a half before long stick midfielder Christian Lowd scored in transition off a dime from Button. Just 31 seconds later, attackman Nick Dupuis fed Armitage from the X to set him up for the goal.

With just 18 seconds left in the game, midfielder Will Birney scooped up a ground ball on a busted clear attempt by Towson and drew a holding penalty from defender Colby Barsz. 

With a a man-up opportunity to try and send the game to overtime, the Seawolves worked the ball from the left boundary to the right side of the fan with a series of quick passes, setting up Pallonetti to be the hero. He quickly whipped his shot on cage, but Downs desperately stuck his arms skyward and tipped the ball away to seal it.

Head coach Anthony Gilardi appreciated his team’s resilience, but he was frustrated by its intellectual lapses.

“Proud of the fight, but too many mental mistakes throughout the game put us behind and we just ran out of time,” Gilardi said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We have to play smarter lacrosse and play with the same urgency we did at the end if we want to earn CAA wins.”

Overall, the Seawolves were outshot 47-30 overall and 25-19 on goal. They lost all three possession battles to the Tigers: turnovers (19-18), ground balls (35-29) and faceoffs (16-4).

Pallonetti led Stony Brook with five goals. Midfielder Jack Dougherty, Lowd and Armitage scored the rest of the team’s goals. Dupuis paced the squad with three assists, followed by Button with two and defensive midfielder Garrett Gibbons with one.

Lowd and defender Mikey Sabella led the Seawolves with three caused turnovers apiece. Defenders Sean Conk and Carson Forney each caused one turnover. Wilk led them with five ground balls, trailed by faceoff specialist Chris Esposito with four. Forney and Lowd each picked up three ground balls.

Wilk saved 15 of the 24 (62.5%) shots he faced, while goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan denied the only shot that came his way in relief. Opposite them, Downs made 11 saves in 19 chances (57.9%).

Towson midfielder Mikey Weisshaar led his team with two goals and an assist, while attackman Nick DeMaio dished out three dimes. The Tigers got a Herculean effort from faceoff specialist Matt Constantinides, as he won 16 of the 20 (80%) faceoffs he took, scooped up five ground balls and scored a goal.

Stony Brook will return to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium next Saturday to take on the Drexel Dragons. The Dragons are 4-6 overall and 1-2 in CAA play this season after losing 18-13 to Fairfield on Saturday. Opening faceoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

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