It was supposed to be a stormy, overcast day at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium for the New York Lizards’ home Major League Lacrosse game against the Chesapeake Bayhawks. It may have been a coincidence, but just as the sun came out, one of the best lacrosse players to ever grace a Stony Brook jersey jogged onto the field. Kevin Crowley was home.
In his first game suiting up for a new team, Crowley stepped right into a new role, doing his part in contributing to the Bayhawks’ dramatic 12-11 win.
“That was a barn-burner, that was great,” the 2011 graduate said. “Obviously it’s always nice to get a win when they put you in the lineup.”
It may not have shown in the statistics, but for his first game with the Bayhawks, Crowley showed his home crowd that he would be able to step into whatever role his new coaches coaches throw at him.
From spending moments quarterbacking the offense from behind the net to stepping into the slot for a couple of shots, which only were stopped by the quick reflexes of All-World goaltender Drew Adams, Crowley did many things, including assisting on a Jesse Bernhardt goal to keep the Bayhawks in reach.
For Crowley, things have not changed since he left Long Island for his professional career. Winning games and contributing to the team effort were and still are a part of the package for the Seawolves’ all-time leading scorer.
One of the more notable athletes to have come through Stony Brook, Crowley is the only player ever to be selected first overall in both the Major League Lacrosse and National Lacrosse League drafts. More recently, he lead MLL in points in 2013 and pushed Canada past the United States in the finals of the FIL World Lacrosse Championship with a massive five goals.
To Crowley, upon his return to where all of his headline-grabbing success started, one thing has actually changed.
“With all the decorations and the advertising, that doesn’t look the same,” Crowley joked about the sponsorship placement surrounding the LaValle Stadium field. “But, it’s always great to get a good crowd out here and for people to realize how beautiful of a campus it is.”
Crowley’s Stony Brook statistics were beautiful in and of themselves, making for a sight to see on game day. After four years, the native of British Columbia accumulated 232 points on 131 goals and 131 assists, distancing himself from teammate Jordan McBride by 23 points. That record will likely not be challenged any time soon.
Most importantly for the team’s sake, Crowley earned a reputation of showing up in the biggest moments, never crumbling under the brightest of spotlights. In the 2010 NCAA Quarterfinals, Crowley scored twice to almost lead the Seawolves to a massive upset against top-seeded Virginia. He repeated the same feat in the 2011 season opener against the Cavaliers, notching four goals in a thrilling overtime loss that showed the country that the previous year was no fluke.
He would never take credit for it, saying, “It’s a lot about just who your teammates are and believing in what you have.”
It is easy to say that Crowley has made a name for himself in the world of lacrosse. It is just as easy to say that his teammates believe in him too.
Adam Rand, Crowley’s teammate at Stony Brook and now with the Bayhawks, was happy to be home, and having Crowley on the sideline with him did not hurt.
“It’s awesome being back here, seeing all the old fans,” the face-off man, who did not play after just getting off of the injured reserve, said. “We’re reunited now, it’s fun.”
Coach Joe Spallina, Stony Brook women’s lacrosse coach and head coach of the Lizards, was happy to see the turnout at LaValle despite the loss.
“It was nice to see a lot of familiar faces,” Spallina said. “That was nice.”
In homage to Stony Brook’s performance this past season, during which the women’s team reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Lizards honored the team at halftime. With the best to ever put the Seawolves jersey on playing, it is not unreasonable to expect that their success will rub off on the team for the college season ahead.