Senior Mike Rooney once again stamped his name into the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse history books on Wednesday night, breaking the Division I record for points in a season and tying the overall record at 82, while junior Brody Eastwood broke the mark for goals in a season, now at 53, in a tightly-contested loss to Duke, 17-11.
Head Coach Jim Nagle’s team appeared down and out in a packed Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Wednesday night, with a 4,860-fan crowd reminiscent of a Seawolves football game in the fall.
Stony Brook fell victim to an eight-goal Duke run in the first half, as the Blue Devils scored at will after falling behind 3-2, but the team did not stop fighting.
“I thought it was a great, hard fought contest between two of the best academic schools in the country,” Nagle said. “I was really proud of the way our guys fought back.”
Down 10-3 with Duke looking ready to steamroll their way back to North Carolina, the Seawolves dug in and rattled off five straight goals to grab the momentum heading into the half.
Freshman Jake Sheets, junior Chris Hughes and Rooney each buried a ball in the back of the net in a span of 63 seconds at the end of the second quarter to turn what could have been a blowout into a battle.
“It was good to get within two at half,” Rooney, who had three goals and two assists on the night, said. “Going back out there, we’re still playing hard.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Hayden sprinted down the length of the field with 12 minutes to go in the third quarter, just missing a shot above Duke’s net. It was that kind of nothing-to-lose attitude that kept the Seawolves close to the Blue Devils throughout the game.
“It was a great crowd today, a great experience to play Duke, especially at home,” Rooney said. “It was just fun to get out and play. “
One of the Seawolves’ opponents was a familiar face, as Duke sophomore Kyle Rowe, who made a massive impact for the Seawolves last season in the face-off department, came back to the school where he got his first college experience.
“Going into it, I kind of just made myself think that they were any other team,” Rowe, who won 18 of his 20 face-offs on the night, said. “Once the whistle blows I kind of forgot it all.”
Nagle, however, was proud of his team’s effort against two-time defending champion Duke.
“Them being so athletic and competitive raises your level,” Nagle said. “For us to have the experience, the experience playing in front of 5,000 in a big environment like that, we can only grow from it.”
Junior Challen Rogers did all he could do, adding two goals and two assists, while classmate Eastwood scored twice
“I think we have a good enough team that we can play with anybody, anytime we step on the field,” Rooney, who will lead the Seawolves against Binghamton on Sunday, said. “We go to win the game.”