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Men’s Lacrosse tops Hartford 14-10

The Seawolves clinched the last spot in the America East tournament Friday night with a win over Hartford.
The Seawolves clinched the last spot in the America East tournament Friday night with a win over Hartford. (MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN)

A young team walked into Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Friday night looking to secure a berth as the fourth seed in the America East Championships for men’s lacrosse next weekend. Graduating junior Mike Rooney led a group of grown men out with a 14-10 win over Hartford.

After a pregame ceremony honoring Stony Brook’s seniors and graduating junior Mike Rooney before their last regular season home game as Seawolves, the mostly young team did not get out of the gate very quickly.

Within the first 5:08 of the contest, Hartford was out to the races, scoring twice as Stony Brook defenders were on their heels.

Mere seconds later, faceoff specialist Adam Yee of Hartford scooped up the ensuing faceoff and sprinted down the field, taking an ill-advised shot.

This gave the possession and momentum to Stony Brook, who never looked back.

Although the Seawolves who usually fill the stat sheet did so on a cool night in front of a surprisingly sparse crowd, it was a group of younger risers who came of age in the win.

Freshman Ryan Bitzer came into the final regular season matchup with three points on the year and doubled that by the end of the evening.

A goal on an invert and two assists later, the midfielder helped Stony Brook to the biggest win of the season.

According to coach Jim Nagle, it was simply a matter of relaxing for Bitzer, who he said is not playing like his young age anymore.

“We really believed in his potential all year,” Nagle said. “I think he’s kind of relaxing into the player we knew he could be.”

Bitzer took none of the credit, giving it all to his teammates for giving him the chances which he took advantage of.

“It’s just a team game, we’re all together, we’re happy for this win looking forward to the tournament,” Bitzer said.

Surprising nobody in the crowd was Rooney, who led the scoring column for the Seawolves with three goals in addition to an assist.

Sophomore Chris Hughes had himself a nice shooting night as well, putting in three goals of his own.

Some of the crunch time performances for Stony Brook this year have not come out on the better side of the scoreboard for the team. With only the conference tournament behind that, the Seawolves can now put that behind them, according to their coach.

“All our goals are still in front of us, so two games and you’re champions and in the NCAA tournament, so everything we set out for in the year is still right in front of us,” Nagle said.

The America East tournament will be held starting next Thursday at Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium, in congruence with the women’s tournament, which kicks off Friday.

The Seawolves will face the top-seeded Albany Great Danes in their opening matchup at 7:30 p.m.

The winner of this contest will face the team that ends up on top between second-seeded Binghamton and third-seeded UMBC for the championship.

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