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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse outmatches Drexel

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team celebrates a goal against Drexel on Saturday, April 6. The Seawolves won for the first time in over a month versus the Dragons. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team snapped its four-game losing streak with a wire-to-wire victory.

The Seawolves (4-7, 2-2 CAA) hosted the Drexel Dragons (4-7, 1-3 CAA) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday. Stony Brook never trailed in a much-needed 13-8 win in its hunt for a spot in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) championship.

After four minutes of scoreless action, attackman Dylan Pallonetti got the Seawolves’ offense going. While harassed by two defenders, Pallonetti spun away from the opposition and found midfielder Will Danowski in the right alley. He received the ball and quickly fired a shot across his body to break the deadlock.

Just over three minutes later, Drexel attackman Max Semple found open space and fired a laser to tie things up on a man-up opportunity. Following a tally by attackman Nick Dupuis that put Stony Brook ahead again, Semple responded from the doorstep of the crease to knot the contest at 2-2.

Semple’s second goal at the start of the second quarter would be the Dragons’ last for over 12 minutes. In that stretch, the Seawolves scored four goals to go up 6-2. Midfielders Jack Dougherty and Will Button kicked off the run with a goal apiece, both off of feeds from Dupuis. After the teams were blanked for another five minutes, Stony Brook scored twice in 27 seconds. 

With 3:23 left until halftime, Pallonetti ripped a shot from 10 yards away into the top corner of the cage. On the ensuing faceoff, Drexel had the ball in its grasp several times but could not secure it. Eventually, Button picked up the ground ball and found Pallonetti behind the net.

The Seawolves worked the ball counter-clockwise until it reached long stick midfielder Christian Lowd. He evaded Drexel defender Luke Carden and bounced a shot past Drexel goalkeeper Drew McGill to give Stony Brook the four-goal lead.

However, the Dragons came right back with two goals in a 22-second frame late in the period to make it a 6-4 game at the break.

The sides played tug of war to open the third frame. Semple completed his hat trick on a man-up opportunity before Dougherty answered less than a minute later. However, Drexel got the last laugh in the sequence as midfielder Luke Tomak rifled a shot from distance past goalkeeper Tommy Wilk.

Down by just a single goal, the Dragons had the ball twice with a chance to tie things up but turned it over both times.

The second blunder — an uncaused turnover by Semple — led to Dougherty finishing his own hat trick on consecutive attacking sets to put the Seawolves ahead 9-6.

Head coach Anthony Gilardi knew it was a matter of time until Dougherty broke through in a big way.

“Jack’s been playing well,” Gilardi said in a post game interview with The Statesman. “He has kinda been snake bitten. But he is practicing well and he is dodging hard and he can really bring it.”

Joyner broke Stony Brook’s streak, but another pair of goals by Pallonetti made it 11-7 at the end of the third quarter. 

Both teams strung together defensive stops for the first eight minutes of the fourth period. With 7:34 remaining in the game, Dupuis set up Pallonetti for his fourth goal of the contest. Semple countered with a quick stick goal, but it was too little, too late for Drexel.

Pallonetti put the final nail in the coffin with an empty net goal.

The Seawolves were outshot 43-42. However, they won 13 faceoffs to the Dragon’s 11, scooped up 33 ground balls to Drexel’s 19 and were +2 (14-12) on the turnover differential.

Pallonetti’s five goals led Stony Brook. Dougherty scored a career-high four goals. Button, Dupuis, Lowd and Danowski each netted one.

Dupuis dished out five assists. Pallonetti, midfielder Garrett Gibbons and defensive midfielder Ben Morschauser gave out one apiece.

Saturday’s double-digit goal total for the Seawolves was a step in the right direction for an offense that had not achieved the feat in three games.

“We have had a rough patch here,” Dougherty said. “We strung together two good weeks of practice [but] we didn’t pull it out last week. This week was another good week of practice and we pulled through.”

Faceoff specialist Chris Esposito took all of Stony Brook’s faceoffs.

Wilk made 11 saves for a .579 save percentage. Conversely, McGill stopped eight shots and posted a .381 mark.

Semple led the Dragons with his four goals.

The next test for the Seawolves will be a much tougher one. They will travel to Delaware to take on the Delaware Blue Hens — the conference’s defending champions. The Blue Hens are 6-3 overall and 4-0 in CAA play this year. Delaware is coming off a 14-6 win over Fairfield. Opening faceoff is set for noon.

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