Stony Brook men’s lacrosse hosted the NJIT Highlanders’ first Division I lacrosse game in school history this Friday. The Seawolves were dominant on both sides of the ball, winning the match handily, with a final score of 18-4.
Stony Brook struck early, as sophomore midfielder Alex Corpolongo buried a shot within the first two minutes of the game off an assist from junior Chris Hughes.
Corpolongo ended the day with a hat trick, equals the amount of goals he scored all of last season.
“I was just hungry from the end of the season last year to get after it. I know we have a good group of guys. I just want to be a part of making a difference on the team and doing something special this year,” Corpolongo said.
The team kept its momentum up throughout the first quarter, with goals from last year’s team point leader, senior Mike Rooney, another from Corpolongo, junior Matt Schultz and junior Brody Eastwood, the team’s leading goal scorer for the previous two seasons.
Stony Brook’s defense also started off the game at a scorching pace, as NJIT failed to attempt a shot or win a face-off all throughout the first quarter.
“We were just kind of working out what we worked on all week, which was time of possession and sharing on defense. We didn’t really get a lot of looks on defense, but the guys did a nice job possessing the ball,” coach Jim Nagle said.
Schultz scored two quick goals to start off the second quarter, both of which came within the first five minutes of play. Schultz finished the day with four goals, two assists and picking up six groundballs.
This was the second four-goal game of the junior’s career, the other coming during last year’s game at Fairfield in which he tallied seven points.
“I’ve been shooting pretty poorly lately, so I was just trying to take reps after practice and before practice and honestly, I was just focused on hustling today and just trying to make plays all over the field,” Schultz said.
“I feel like once I kind of lit a fire under my butt, just to run and ride hard, and just trying to get ground balls in the beginning and then my shots started falling. It was good to see them in the back of the net,” he added.
With a score of 8-1 Stony Brook at the half, Nagle found playing time for the underclassmen and non-starters on the team.
Freshman midfielder McLean Chicquen, freshman midfielder Derek Lloyd and sophomore attack Chris Stemke all recorded their first goals in a Stony Brook uniform.
“[It was] a really good day for us to play a lot of kids that have been practicing, and working hard and not have opportunity to play in a game. That was the biggest plus for us, as well as the way I thought our guys were sportsmen like today, so I was really happy,” Nagle said.
Other goal scorers included junior attack Challen Rogers, sophomore midfielder Ryan Bitzer and junior midfielder Jake Sichenzia. NJIT made a late run, putting three consecutive goals in the back of the net during the fourth quarter, but that proved to be too little, too late.
“We just got to continue to play and work hard within our system and believe in what we’re doing. I think that when you start doing that, you’ll see some of those late breakdowns disappear,” Nagle said.
Freshman attack Jake Sheets lead the team with three assists, while sophomore midfielder Jay Lindsay recovered seven ground balls and went 9-11 on his face-offs.
Stony Brook came into the game suffering from a tough loss to St. John’s, during which the Red Storm went on a 7-0 end game run to take the win. “[St. John’s] was a really tough loss for us because we were just disappointed in the way we finished it, the character in which we finished,” Nagle said. “It feels good to get a win under your belt, but really, we weren’t really tested today, so we’re really looking to show what we can do and get that out of our memories on Sunday.”
This team was looking forward to a matchup with the two-time defending national champion Blue Devils at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, but Duke was unable to get out of Durham, N.C. due to the weather that has hit most of the country the past two weeks. The matchup will now take place on April 15 at 7 p.m., with both teams getting a break from conference play.
Their next matchup is at home against Fairfield on Feb. 28, as they host the Stags at 7 p.m.