It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but senior George Benitez only needed two to describe his picture-perfect first collegiate goal in a Stony Brook Men’s Lacrosse 10-7 win over Vermont: “It’s unbelievable.”
Just 38 seconds into the second half, the defenseman scored what would end up being the winning goal for the Seawolves, at the time putting the team ahead 8-2.
“Time almost stopped, it was crazy,” Benitez, a native of Darien, Conn., said. In lacrosse, it is pretty rare to see a defenseman in the offensive third, let alone taking shots, but Benitez had one and he took it.
“I saw the down-low defenseman were pressing out on the attackmen, so it was just pretty much me and the cage, and I had the ball, I got up to about 12 yards and I knew, this was my shot. I’ve got to shoot it right now, now or never.”
Shoot it he did, putting the ball in the back of the net for the first time since he did a couple of times in high school.
Freshman midfielder Mark Ellis also contributed the first goal of his career for the Seawolves on an assist from sophomore Brody Eastwood at 12:51 of the second quarter.
It is hard to ignore the total defensive effort that Stony Brook put together, from the energy displayed by the defensemen to the 19 saves made by freshman goalkeeper Hayden Johnstone. The Seawolves did a great job keeping the Catamounts as far away from the goal crease as they could, allowing Johnstone the opportunity to make some spectacular saves.
The humble goalkeeper said, “That was a great game, but I’ve got to credit our defense.
We came in and we played probably the most energized defense we’ve played yet.”
Benitez, speaking about Johnstone, said, “Hayden is a freshman, but he’s not acting like a freshman,” adding, “He’s coming out here every day trying to improve, and that’s how defenses get better.”
Leading the way in goals for Stony Brook was junior attackman Mike Rooney, who had about as quiet a three-goal performance as one could have.
Sophomore Brody Eastwood wasn’t far behind, netting two goals while contributing an assist in the contest.
Stony Brook has a bit of a break before their next, yet possibly most important game against America East powerhouse and rival Albany next Saturday at 7 p.m. in Albany, where they look to stay in the win column.
The following weekend the Seawolves will have another conference matchup against Binghamton.
SBU will close their season at home against Hartford. The America East Championships begin May 1.