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Freshman-laden Stony Brook men’s lacrosse ready for season

With 17 freshmen, 24 underclassmen and only three seniors on his 35-member roster, men’s lacrosse head coach Jim Nagle will have one of the youngest squads in all of NCAA Division-I this year.

It is not a situation he is unfamiliar with, however.

“One time, way back, when I was coaching a Division III school in Oneonta, that was one time,” Nagle said. “Young guys, they are energetic, if you can get some success with a group of young guys, it really bodes well for the future, so that’s what we’re trying to do this year.”

With last year’s senior class, which included defender Kyle Moeller and midfielder Robbie Campbell, graduating, as well as Matt Bellando, who was second on the team in goals with 25 last season, having left the team, a lot of the new freshmen will have to step in to fill in the new openings.

“I think you’ll see up to 13 or 14 kids getting some kind of role with the team as freshman, which is highly unusual,” Nagle said. “But I also feel that it’s a pretty talented crew, and that they can impact as if they were not freshman.”

On the offensive end, Stony Brook will have the reigning America East rookie of the year Mike Rooney, who led the team in goals last year with 34, returning, as well as senior Jeff Tundo, who led the team with 28 assists last season.

Nagle said he expects junior Conor Duddy and sophomore Mike Andreassi to play increased roles in the offense this year.

“Both of those guys got minutes for us last year, and will be more mature and take on a bigger role this year,” Nagle said.

One freshman who could make a big impact on the offensive end is attacker Matt Schultz. The Smithtown native lead Suffolk County with 65 goals and 25 assists last year and was ranked 56th in Inside Lacrosse’s Power 100 Freshman list.

“He’s a good player,” red-shirt senior and captain Savaughn Greene said. “He’s kind of unorthodox, he’s tall, deceptively shifty.”

On defense, Stony Brook will get a big boost from Greene, who missed all of last season with a leg injury.

“From the leadership standpoint, the guy does well in the classroom, it’s an important asset to have an upperclassman to help guide and show the ropes to the young guys,” Nagle said. “He’s doing a great job so far, he’s a big and athletic kid, he’s great on the ground balls.”

One of the team’s biggest weaknesses last season was face-offs, with the team finishing 59th out of 62 Division I teams with a .386 winning percentage. Taking face-offs this year will be freshman Frank Lucatuorto and junior Zach Smith.

With both of last year’s goalies in Sean Brady and Ryan Keneally having graduated, Nagle will have sophomore Pat McGushin and freshman Dan Shaughnessy splitting time this season.

Despite the youth of the team, Stony Brook tied for second place in the America East pre-season poll with UMBC, behind Albany.

“I think we have a great shot to win our league,” Nagle said. “It’s going to be a huge challenge, but our guys will be up for it.”

Greene, the veteran captain, however, is just taking it one game at a time.

“Just go out there and win as many games as we can, just continue to get better every single day,” Greene said. “Obviously, we want to win our conference and compete in the NCAA tournament, but to get there, we are going to have to get better each game.”

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