Led by junior midfielder Challen Rogers, who was named an Inside Lacrosse preseason All-American Honorable Mention, Stony Brook men’s lacrosse was ranked second in the America East preseason poll. The poll is voted on by the league’s coaches, and the Seawolves were ranked behind the Albany Great Danes, last year’s America East champions.
The selection of Albany atop the conference is a consensus pick amongst lacrosse outlets. The Great Danes are led by the one of the best players in the country in Lyle Thompson, who was selected first in the recent Major League Lacrosse Draft. The dynamic attackman also shared last season’s Tewaraaton Award with brother Miles Thompson while also saving Albany’s season with mere seconds on the clock, as the Seawolves came that close to defeating the Great Danes in the America East semifinals.
Junior attackman Brody Eastwood, who scored 40 goals for the second time in his two seasons on Long Island last year, will also be key in turning the wheels of Stony Brook’s offense along with senior Mike Rooney. Rooney, heading into his last season with the Seawolves, is already tied for ninth on Stony Brook’s all-time point scoring list.
The Seawolves look to continue their string of recent success, as the group has reached the America East Tournament in each of the last 13 years. The team is returning 14 upperclassmen and 95 percent of last year’s scoring output. UMBC took third in the poll, followed by Binghamton, Hartford, Vermont and UMass-Lowell respectively.
UMBC was arguably the second-best team in the league last year, falling victim to the momentum of Albany’s thrilling semifinal win over Stony Brook in the America East Championship game.
The Seawolves finished off last year with a record of 6-10 overall. They also went 2-3 in the America East conference play. Two of their loses came to rival Albany. This included a 17-16 overtime loss in the America East Championships to end their season. The team sports 10 home games for the second straight season.
SBU will have its season opener at Kenneth P. LaValle stadium on Feb. 7 against Manhattan. After six non-conference games, including matchups against No. 3 Duke Blue Devils and the Fairfield Stags, the Seawolves take on No. 11 Albany at home on March 14 to kick off their conference schedule.
Other conference games include versus UMBC on March 21, at Vermont on March 28, at UMass-Lowell on April 10, versus Binghamton on April 18 and at Hartford on April 24 for the regular season closer.
After a couple of years to mature together, losing because of a lack of experience is no longer plausible. As the poll dictates, the Seawolves are expected to step up, starting now.