Senior attacker Ryan Bitzer possesses the ball against Fairfield on March 4 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. ANNA CORREA/THE STATESMAN

Senior attacker Ryan Bitzer possesses the ball against Fairfield on March 4 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. ANNA CORREA/THE STATESMAN

The No. 14 ranked Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team posted its lowest scoring total in a game since the 2009 season in a loss to Rutgers Friday night by a score of 17-4 at High Point Solutions Stadium.

The first quarter of action proved to be the deciding factor of the game. Everything was going right on the offensive side of the ball for No. 7 Rutgers and the Stony Brook defense could not stop the fast-paced action its opponent was putting on the field.  

Stony Brook sophomore midfielder Justin Pugal made an attempt to ward off sophomore midfielder Casey Rose from scoring in the first quarter, but the shots just kept going in for the Scarlet Knights. Rose ran back and forth between the 10 and 20-yard line multiple times and somehow made something out of nothing. He made a shot while falling to the ground with 7:27 left in the first quarter to put Rutgers up 5-0.

Rutgers dominated the first half on both sides of the field – they were able to record more goals than Stony Brook even attempted. Stony Brook had four shots on goal in the entire half compared to Rutgers’ 23.

The Scarlet Knights won faceoffs, 12-3, and were 8-for-8 when clearing the ball in the first half, forcing the Seawolves to play an excess of defense as they were only able to tally two total goals.

After back-to-back goals were made on the crease in the second quarter by the Scarlet Knights, Stony Brook decided to change up the defensive tactics in the middle of the second quarter and put more guys inside the crease. The problem with that defensive strategy is that the Scarlet Knights had no problem with their perimeter shot.

Four Seawolves were planted in the crease defending the net, which left a man wide open on the outside for the Scarlet Knights. Freshman attackman Kieran Mullins found an open senior midfielder Jeff George on the perimeter. George shot a laser into the back of the net with 4:51 to go in the first half to bring the score to 9-1.

The “quarterback” of the Seawolves, senior attackman Ryan Bitzer, was able to tally two of the four goals recorded for his team in the game. Attempting to ignite his team before halftime, Bitzer took control of his offense by creating some space with his opponent and allowing himself to shoot over his defender’s shoulder, scoring with 1:17 remaining in the second quarter.

The last time Rutgers beat Stony Brook was in 2006 – with this victory they now lead the all-time series 6-5. Rutgers is the second top-10 ranked opponent Stony Brook has faced this year, the other against then-No. 9 Brown.

Coming into the game, Stony Brook was 11-for-23 on man-up scoring which led the America East this season. In an area under which they flourish, they had six extra-man opportunities to score on and were not able to cash in on any of them.

After a jab-step by Rose caused him to lose his defender, he headed to the middle of the field and rifled a shot into the back of the net with his left hand. Rose began back peddling afterwards with his arms raised, showcasing the cannon of a shot he made with ease to put his team up 14-2 with 3:47 remaining in the third.

Cohesive team play by Rutgers early on helped them to seal the deal as they had 10 different goal scorers against Stony Brook on the day.

Stony Brook’s record drops to 4-1 with the loss. The team will head home looking to bounce back with a victory on Tuesday night as they face off against Lehigh at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at 7 p.m. on March 14.