MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN
Senior Mike Rooney (above, No. 1) scored 11 points in the semifinal match up against the Vermont Catamounts. The Seawolves defeated Vermont 16-13 to advance to the championship game. MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN

After scoring a career-high 11 points in their last meeting, senior Mike Rooney came up big for the Seawolves once more and scored nine points in Stony Brook’s America East Semifinal win against the Vermont Catamounts, 16-13.

The Seawolves went on a tear in the third quarter, outscoring the Catamounts 5-1. Defensively, Stony Brook locked down Albany’s Bob Ford Field causing two turnovers and not allowing the Catamounts to score for a five-minute stretch.  Stony Brook’s fluid offense was led by sophomore midfielder Alex Corpolongo, who had two goals in the period.

To contrast, the Seawolves’ first quarter was plagued by a pestering Catamount defense, as Vermont caused four turnovers. In the first nine minutes, Vermont only allowed one Stony Brook goal.

The slow start made it look like that Vermont was going to beat Stony Brook for the first time in program history.

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Rooney, trying to keep the Seawolves afloat, kept sprinting to the Catamounts’ cage in the first 15 minutes and fired off four shots, resulting in one goal to get the Catamount’s lead down to one at 3-2.

Junior Brody Eastwood scored an equalizer, tying the game at 3 until Vermont sophomore Ian MacKay, the Catamounts leader in goals, got passed sophomore goalkeeper Hayden Johnstone and put the Catamounts up one to end the quarter.

Even though the Catamounts could not keep up their aggressive defense for the second and third quarters, they re-energized for the fourth. They turned the Seawolves over and scored two goals off of them. However, their defense could not stop Rooney from scoring two goals of his own.

Stony Brook played a game of attrition towards the end. Several of its possessions in the last ten minutes of the fourth quarter lasted at least one minute. The Seawolves waited until the referees nearly called a delay of game on several occasions.

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While Rooney was the story of the afternoon, junior Challen Rogers was the story of the second quarter. Rogers scored a hat trick off of three bullets and put the Seawolves up 6-5 with 8:44 left in the half. The hat trick is his third of the season and his second against Vermont this season.

The win against Vermont means a return to the America East Championship game for Stony Brook Head Coach Jim Nagle after a two year hiatus.

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