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Stony Brook men’s lacrosse hosts Hofstra with playoff destiny out of its hands

Players from the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team regroup during a timeout against Drexel on Saturday, April 6. The Seawolves need the Dragons to win on Friday to have a shot at clinching a playoff spot against Hofstra on Saturday. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

In a pivotal weekend, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team needs two scores to tilt in its favor to clinch a 2024 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) championship berth.

Although the Seawolves (4-9, 2-4 CAA) are in the midst of their worst season since 2003, they still have a shot to reach the conference tournament. To do so, Stony Brook will have to defeat the Hofstra Pride (5-9, 2-4 CAA) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday. However, it will first need the Drexel Dragons to defeat the Monmouth Hawks on Friday.

Conversely, if Hostra wants to make the playoffs, it will need to beat the Seawolves and hope the Hawks extinguish the Dragons. Opening faceoff for the 14th edition of the Battle of Long Island is set for noon. The Monmouth-Drexel contest is scheduled for 3 p.m.

As it has done all year, Stony Brook will have to rely heavily on its offense on Saturday. It ranks fourth in the CAA in goals per game (12.08), and it will be matched up with a weak Pride defense.

The duo of attackmen Dylan Pallonetti and Nick Dupuis orchestrates an aggressive Seawolves attack, as the team fires off the fourth-most shots per game (40.62) in the conference.

Pallonetti is first in the league in shots per game with 10.23 and has produced 43 goals on the back of those opportunities. He leads the CAA and is fourth in the nation with 3.31 goals per game while also dishing out 11 total assists.

Facilitating is not Pallonetti’s expertise, but it is Dupuis’. He has given out 46 assists and scored 15 times. Dupuis is first in the conference and second in the nation with 3.54 assists per game.

Outside of Stony Brook’s star tandem, midfielders Jack Dougherty and Noah Armitage alongside attackman Justin Bonacci are the team’s other weapons on that end of the field.

Dougherty has posted 19 goals and four assists. Armitage (18) and Bonacci (14) have also broken the double-digit goal threshold and each has recorded three assists.

Alongside their contributions to the Seawolves’ scoring numbers, the five have also been integral to Stony Brook’s clean style of lacrosse. It sits second in the league with 15.08 turnovers per game.

Conversely, Hofstra has not been able to force turnovers often, as it is second to last in the CAA with 6.71 caused turnovers per game. They are also not great at keeping the ball out of their net, as the Pride have conceded the second-most goals per game (12.61) in the conference.

Much of Hofstra’s defensive struggles could be attributed to goalkeeper Sean Henderson. He has started every game this season but is eighth in the league in save percentage (.437) and seventh in saves per game (9.21).

Ahead of him, defenders Blake Cooling, Will Delaney and Henry Troy are likely to start in the Pride’s endline. The trio has combined for 31 caused turnovers and 72 ground balls.

A crucial piece of Hofstra’s defense is long stick midfielder J.T. Roselle. He has caused 17 turnovers and scooped up 29 ground balls this season. He is seventh in the CAA with 1.21 caused turnovers per game as well.

Off the bench, defender John Recher is another option for the Pride’s endline. He has caused seven turnovers and picked up 19 ground balls.

Overall, Hofstra is proficient on the ground. Led by faceoff specialist Chase Patterson, it is second in the conference with 32.5 ground balls per game. Patterson has scooped up 120 ground balls overall and a CAA-leading 8.57 per game, which also ranks fifth in the nation.

Patterson also headlines the Pride’s solid faceoff unit. They are second in the CAA in faceoff percentage (.575), and Patterson is second in the conference with a .583 win rate. His backup in the center circle is faceoff specialist Cole Myers, who is fifth in the league with a .574 faceoff percentage.

Hofstra will have the edge in faceoffs on Saturday, as the Seawolves’ .473 faceoff percentage is the third worst in the CAA. Faceoff specialist Chris Esposito mans Stony Brook’s unit, but he has not posted great numbers. Esposito is 10th in the conference with a .484 faceoff percentage. He has also picked up 54 ground balls and is seventh in the league with 4.15 ground balls per game.

As a whole, the Seawolves are fourth in the CAA with 30.54 ground balls per game.

Another notable contributor for Stony Brook in that department is long stick midfielder Christian Lowd, who is second on the team with 35 ground balls. He plays an important role in a Seawolves defense that allows 11.45 goals per game, which is the fourth-fewest mark in the conference.

Lowd has caused 14 turnovers this year and is tied for 10th in the league with 1.08 per game. Also in the midfield, defensive midfielders Garrett Gibbons and Ben Morschauser help out Stony Brook’s endline. Gibbons has posted nine caused turnovers and 22 ground balls, while Morschauser has caused six turnovers and scooped up 33 ground balls.

Defenders Mikey Sabella, Carson Forney and Sean Conk start in front of goalkeeper Tommy Wilk. Sabella leads the team with 17 caused turnovers alongside 23 ground balls. He ranks second in the CAA with 1.31 caused turnovers per game.

Forney and Conk have combined for 10 caused turnovers and 29 ground balls. Coming off the Seawolves’ bench, defender Riley Hegarty has racked up five caused turnovers and eight ground balls.

At this point in the season, Wilk has solidified himself as Stony Brook’s starter in the cage. He is third in the conference in save percentage (.544) and fifth in saves per game (11.25).

The Pride’s offense is up there with the Seawolves’ regarding their firepower, as they are third in the league with 12.29 goals per game and second in shots per game at 43.93.

Attackman John Madsen serves as a do-it-all player for Hofstra. He leads the team with 39 goals alongside nine assists, while also causing eight turnovers and scooping up 34 ground balls. Madsen is third in the CAA with 2.79 goals per game.

Midfielders Justin Sykes and Rory Jones are the other Pride players to have scored 20 or more goals. Sykes has tallied 25 goals and five assists, while Jones has scored 21 times and dished out 15 assists. Jones is ninth in the conference with 1.07 assists per game.

Hofstra’s primary facilitator is midfielder Griffin Turner. He has given out 27 assists to go with 14 goals. Turner is fourth in the CAA with 1.93 assists per game.

Attackmen Colton Rudd and Sam Lutfi round out the Pride’s consistent attacking options. Rudd has put up both 14 goals and 14 assists. He sits 10th in the conference with one assist per game. Lutfi has netted 17 goals and accumulated three assists this year.

Before it even has the chance to play, Stony Brook’s disappointing season could come to an end if Drexel falls.

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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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