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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse drops to under .500 in conference play

 

Midfielder Garrett Gibbons runs past a defender against Drexel on Saturday, April 6. Gibbons missed his only shot in the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team’s loss to Delaware. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

A late rally by the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team was not enough to overcome a double-digit deficit. 

In a rematch of the 2023 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) title game, the Seawolves (4-8, 2-3 CAA) drew the short end of the stick again against the Delaware Blue Hens (7-3, 5-0 CAA) on Saturday in Delaware. Stony Brook trailed by as many as 11 goals before managing to cut the deficit to three, but ultimately fell short in a 16-12 defeat.

With 7:47 remaining in the third quarter, Delaware midfielder Hank D’Ambrogi dove across the crease and caressed a shot into the net with one hand to give his team a 13-2 lead.

To that point, the Blue Hens had stifled the Seawolves. Stony Brook had only attempted 15 shots to its opponents’ 36 attempts. When the Seawolves did pose a threat to Delaware goalkeeper Kevin Ellington, he was more than up to the task. Through nearly two and a half periods of play, Ellington had saved 11 shots.

However, following D’Ambrogi’s tally, Stony Brook finally broke out with three goals in a four-minute stretch. Still, the Blue Hens had the last say of the frame with a man-up goal by midfielder Brendan Powers to make it 14-5 heading to the fourth quarter.

Less than two minutes into the final period, Delaware attackman J.P. Ward reinstated his team’s double-digit lead. However, the Seawolves answered with an even bigger run than their previous one.

With 11:50 remaining in the contest, midfielder C.J. Harris fired a low shot past Ellington with a defender all over him to cut the deficit to nine. In the ensuing faceoff, faceoff specialist Chris Esposito won it cleanly and headed straight towards the cage. Neither of the three Blue Hens defenders in front of him stepped up, so Esposito went all the way and calmly placed a shot into the net.

Despite a Delaware timeout following Esposito’s solo move, Stony Brook’s hot streak continued. After an unnecessary roughness penalty on Delaware defender Louie Atkinson, midfielder Jack Dougherty tallied a man-up score. Just 15 seconds later, attackman Dylan Pallonetti ripped a shot past Ellington on another man-up opportunity after Delaware faceoff specialist O.J. Morris was called for a faceoff violation. 

Pallonetti’s long-ranger trimmed the Blue Hens’ advantage to 15-9 with 11:01 left. After Esposito won yet another faceoff, midfielder Noah Armitage attempted to make it even closer but was denied by Ellington.

After scoreless action for the next four minutes, the Seawolves struck again with back-to-back scores within 13 seconds. However, they could not hit gold on their next five shots which led to a goal by Delaware attackman Mike Robinson to make it 16-12 with just 35 seconds left.

Head coach Anthony Gilardi acknowledged his team was hindered from the jump.

We were not mentally and physically ready to play,” Gilardi said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We lacked the discipline and urgency necessary to win. We did a great job of battling back to make it a three-goal game with 4:30 to go, then a selfish conduct penalty after that goal crushed us. We need to find a way to play with consistency and urgency for 60 minutes. We have proven we can play in spurts but need to do it for 60 minutes.”

Stony Brook was outshot 49-43. It convincingly won the faceoff battle, 19-12, but was beaten on the ground, as the Blue Hens scooped up 23 ground balls compared to the Seawolves’ 16. Stony Brook finished +3 (13-10) on the turnover differential.

Pallonetti and Dougherty co-led the team with a hat trick apiece. Harris, Esposito, Armitage, midfielder Sean Carlo, defensive midfielder Ben Morschauser and long stick midfielder Christian Lowd netted a goal each.

Attackman Nick Dupuis led the Seawolves with five assists. Pallonetti dished out their only other assist.

Esposito had a solid day in the office, as he took all of Stony Brook’s faceoffs.

Goalkeeper Tommy Wilk made 13 stops for a .448 save percentage. Conversely, Ellington had a career-high 21 saves for a .636 mark.

Powers and Robinson co-led Delaware with four goals apiece.

The Seawolves will end their regular season road schedule against the Fairfield Stags on Saturday in Connecticut. The Stags are 6-6 overall and 3-2 in conference play this season. They are coming off an 11-10 victory over Monmouth. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.

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