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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse’s season hanging on by a thread as it visits Fairfield

Players from the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team celebrate a goal against Drexel on Saturday, April 6. The Seawolves will be playing with their playoff hopes on the line in Connecticut on Saturday against Fairfield. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team will need to play flawless lacrosse from here on out to have a shot at clinching a Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) championship berth.

With just two regular season games to go, the Seawolves (4-8, 2-3 CAA) sit in sixth place in the conference standings. On Saturday, they will take on the third-place Fairfield Stags (6-6, 3-2 CAA) in Connecticut. With only the top four in the table advancing to playoffs, a loss could eliminate Stony Brook from postseason contention. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.

Fortunately for the Seawolves, they have had success against Fairfield in the past. Last year, they defeated the Stags 17-14 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Overall, Stony Brook has won nine of the 13 all-time contests between the teams.

Despite a positive record in CAA play, Fairfield has been a below-average team on both sides of the ball. The Seawolves — who own the third-best offense in the conference with 12.25 goals per game — will look to exploit the Stags’ defense, as they have conceded the third-most goals per game (11.92) in the league.

Stony Brook’s attack is manned by attackman Dylan Pallonetti. He has scored 41 goals to go with 10 assists this season. Pallonetti leads the CAA and is fourth in the nation with 3.42 goals per game.

While Pallonetti handles the scoring, attackman Nick Dupuis serves as the team’s facilitator. He has dished out 45 assists this season and scored 15 times to boot. Dupuis also finds himself on top of a conference leaderboard with 3.75 assists per game. He is second in the nation in that category as well.

Midfielders Noah Armitage and Jack Dougherty alongside attackman Justin Bonacci are the only other consistent offensive weapons for the Seawolves. Out of that trio, Armitage is the only player to have started all 12 games this year with Pallonetti and Dupuis. He has tallied 18 goals and three assists.

Dougherty has put up 17 goals and three assists, while Bonacci trails him with 14 goals and three assists.

The Stags’ best bet at slowing down Stony Brook’s dangerous attack is through turnovers. Fairfield leads the league and is fifth in the nation with 10.33 caused turnovers per game. However, the Seawolves do a solid job of limiting errors. They rank second in the CAA with 14.92 turnovers per game.

Defenders Braden Lynch, Eli Adams and Danny Manning combine to make up the Stags’ starting endline. Lynch makes the most plays on the ball out of the three, as he has caused 16 turnovers and picked up 23 ground balls this season. He sits fifth in the conference with 1.33 caused turnovers per game.

Adams and Manning have combined for 15 caused turnovers and 31 ground balls. Coming off the bench, defenders Julian Radossich and Rory Thompson, as well as midfielder Ryan Lancaster, have all been defensive contributors for Fairfield.

As a first-year player, Radossich has caused 24 turnovers and scooped up 33 ground balls. He is first in the league and tied for eighth in the nation with a pair of caused turnovers per game.

The tandem of Thompson and Lancaster have chipped in with 20 caused turnovers and 44 ground balls combined.

The Stags are a middle-of-the-road team in the CAA on the ground, as they rank fifth with 30.50 ground balls per game.

Minding the cage for Fairfield will likely be goalkeeper Owen Hirsch. He is sixth in the conference in save percentage (.509) and eighth in saves per game (7.71). The Stags’ starting cageminder this season was goalkeeper Will Snyder, who ranked ninth in the league in save percentage (.429) and saves per game (7.33) at the time of his last game on March 23.

Similarly, Stony Brook has also featured two goalkeepers this year. Goalkeepers Tommy Wilk and Jamison MacLachlan have shared time, but the former has won the starting job. Wilk places second in the CAA in save percentage (.545) and fourth in saves per game (11.09).

In front of him, defenders Mikey Sabella, Carson Forney and Sean Conk start in the Seawolves’ endline, which is the fourth best in the conference. They allow 11.49 goals per game.

Sabella has caused 16 turnovers and scooped up 23 ground balls on the season. He is third in the league with 1.33 caused turnovers per game. Forney and Conk have combined for 10 caused turnovers and 29 ground balls.

Long stick midfielder Christian Lowd alongside defensive midfielders Garrett Gibbons and Ben Morschauser help out the trio. Lowd is second on the team in both caused turnovers (13) and ground balls (33). Gibbons has posted seven caused turnovers and 22 ground balls, while Morschauser has contributed six caused turnovers and 31 ground balls.

Overall, Stony Brook is not great at disrupting opponents, as it is second-to-last in the CAA with only 6.58 caused turnovers per game. However, it picks up the third-most ground balls per game (31.25) in the conference.

Like the Seawolves, Fairfield also plays clean lacrosse, as it commits the third-fewest turnovers per game (15.75) in the league. However, the Stags only score 10.67 goals per game — which puts them at sixth in the CAA.

Attackman Bryce Ford leads the way for Fairfield on that side of the field. He has scored 31 goals and dished out 12 assists this year. Ford also ranks fifth in the conference with 2.58 goals per game.

Midfielder Will Consoli and attackman Jake Gilbert are the Stags’ second and third attacking options, respectively. Consoli has put up 23 goals and 11 assists, while Gilbert has netted 18 goals and 10 assists.

First-year attackman Keegan Lynch has also broken the double-digit goal mark with 11 scores alongside six assists. Attackman Jake Coleman has missed three contests this season but has still posted five goals and nine assists. He is 10th in the league with one assist per game.

Midfielder Reilly Sullivan is Fairfield’s only other double-digit goalscorer as he has scored 10 times and dished out three assists.

Saturday will be a battle between two poor faceoff units. Stony Brook is sixth in the CAA with a .470 faceoff percentage, while the Stags sit one spot below them with a .454 mark in the center circle.

Faceoff specialist Chris Esposito is responsible for the Seawolves’ faceoffs. He is ninth in the conference with a .481 faceoff percentage and sixth in ground balls per game (4.08).

On the other side, faceoff specialist Dylan Smith has assumed most of the faceoff duties for Fairfield. He is eighth in the league with a .485 faceoff percentage and third in the conference with 5.08 ground balls per game.

Contrary to what the teams’ records suggest, Stony Brook is the better team on paper. Although a defeat would not automatically kill their CAA championship hopes, the Seawolves will be on the brink of elimination from playoff contention if the Stags come out on top.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger
Alex Streinger, Assistant Sports Editor
Alex Streinger is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is the beat reporter of the Stony Brook men’s soccer and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse teams. He interns at Movendi International, the largest independent global social movement for development through alcohol prevention.
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