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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse suffers devastating loss at Fairfield

Attackman Dylan Pallonetti carries the ball against Drexel on Saturday, April 6. Pallonetti totaled three points in the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team’s potential season-ending loss to Fairfield. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Although it led for most of the game, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team faltered and is no longer in control of its playoff destiny.

The Seawolves (4-9, 2-4 CAA) traveled to Connecticut on Saturday for a matchup against the Fairfield Stags (6-7, 4-2 CAA). With an 11-10 loss, Stony Brook must now win its last contest of the regular season and hope Monmouth falls in its final game to clinch a berth to the 2024 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) championship.

After taking a 6-4 lead to the halftime break, the Seawolves added on immediately in the third quarter. In their first attacking set of the period, midfielder Jack Dougherty threaded the needle to find attackman Will Button free in the doorstep of the crease. With the ball in his stick, Button took his time and calmly placed a shot past Fairfield goalkeeper Owen Hirsch to make it 7-4.

However, the Stags promptly responded with three unanswered goals on the back of a pair of Stony Brook turnovers to tie things up.

For the remainder of the frame, the teams duked it out. Following midfielder Will Consoli’s tally that made it seven apiece, Fairfield faceoff specialist Dylan Smith committed a violation on the ensuing faceoff — giving the Seawolves possession.

On the ensuing attacking set, Dougherty gave Stony Brook the lead once again. Just over a minute later, Fairfield midfielder Dean Ford equalized. Over the next two and a half minutes, each side grabbed another goal.

After Fairfield attackman Bryce Ford made it 9-9 with 6:41 left in the third quarter, both defenses stepped up. The Seawolves turned the ball over four times compared to the Stags’ two turnovers to close out the period.

Stony Brook began the final frame on the right foot, thanks to its star tandem of attackmen Nick Dupuis and Dylan Pallonetti. The former found the latter cutting towards the net. Once the exchange was completed, a quick shot by Pallonetti put the Seawolves up 10-9.

Fairfield would not go down easily, though. After Stony Brook won the ensuing faceoff, the Stags shut down a clear attempt by the visitors. In that attacking set, they worked the ball around until it found attackman Keegan Lynch behind the cage. He wrapped around the right side of the goal to beat goalkeeper Tommy Wilk down low. 

The hosts remained aggressive on the Seawolves’ clear attempts and stifled another with 11:33 left, which led to another goal by Ford to put his team up for good.

Stony Brook had its fair share of chances after Fairfield took the lead for the first time but could not convert. It attempted nine shots following the tally but blanked in all of them. 

Head coach Anthony Gilardi experienced a familiar nightmare on Saturday.

“Disappointing game,” Gilardi said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “Unfortunately, we just again made too many mistakes throughout the game that just add up to losing a game by one.”

The Seawolves were outshot 47-37 and lost the ground ball battle 27-22. However, they were +1 (17-16) on the turnover differential and won 13 faceoffs compared to the Stags’ 12. 

Pallonetti and Dougherty recorded two goals and an assist apiece. Button matched his single-game, season-high with a pair of goals. Attackman Ronnie Kraemer scored a single-game, career-high two goals. Defensive midfielders Garrett Gibbons and Ben Morschauser rounded out the scoring for Stony Brook with a goal each.

Dupuis, midfielder Sean Carlo and long stick midfielder Christian Lowd dished out an assist apiece.

Wilk saved 13 shots for a .542 save percentage. Conversely, Hirsch stopped 10 shots for a .500 mark.

Midfielder Jake Gilbert spearheaded the Stags’ attack with a hat-trick and a pair of assists. 

For their regular season finale, the Seawolves will host the Hofstra Pride on Saturday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium for the 14th edition of the Battle of Long Island. The Pride are 5-9 overall and also 2-4 in CAA play this season. They are coming off a 21-5 win over Hampton. Opening faceoff is set for noon.

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