The No. 12 Stony Brook Men’s Lacrosse team had a 9-5 lead against Vermont midway through the third quarter, but the Catamounts scored three consecutive goals to cut the lead to 9-8, seemingly poised for a comeback.
But head coach Jim Nagle’s team was able to avert the crisis. Sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Maciejewski made a critical stick stop to preserve the lead and the Seawolves scored four straight goals to pull away, eventually beating the Catamounts 13-10 on Sunday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
After Maciejewski’s save, junior attackman Ryan Bitzer scored at the other end of the field on an outside shot from the left. Sixteen seconds later, senior attackman Matt Schultz buried a goal on a feed from junior midfielder Jeff Reh to make the score 11-8. The Seawolves carried the momentum into two more goals, as their lead went from one to five in a span of less than three minutes.
“I feel like Bitzer’s goal was the real momentum-shifter,” Schultz said. “That was right after the save and it was huge. That’s what gets things rolling, and we were able to push that momentum right through to the end of the game.
Junior midfielder Alex Corpolongo and Schultz each scored four goals, as Corpolongo extended his team-leading total to 27 this season. The midfielder already has a career high in goals and points, just past the halfway point in the season.
“It’s kind of a role I’ve fallen into in our offense,” Corpolongo said of his increased scoring. “I think everyone has been moving the ball, playing unselfishly. A lot of times it has just ended up in my stick at the end of the possession and I’ve taken shots when they’re there.”
Vermont was led by midfielder Ian MacKay, who scored three goals and contributed three assists for the Catamounts. MacKay, an all-conference first team honoree last season, registered five points in the second half alone.
Stony Brook entered halftime with a 5-4 lead after a back-and-forth opening 30 minutes, but the Seawolves played very well in the third quarter to open up a 9-5 lead. Nagle’s team led Vermont 9-3 in shot attempts and 10-4 in ground balls in the frame.
“I think we went into the locker room kind of annoyed that we didn’t play our best in the first half,” Schultz said. “Those first couple minutes in the third quarter you want to set a tone. Ground balls are a huge part of lacrosse. Obviously if you have more possession you’re going to have more chances to score.”
The five goals scored by the Seawolves in the first half marked a slow start for a team that had scored 10 and 11 goals in the first halves of its previous two games. When Stony Brook did score, it seemed as if Vermont always had an immediate answer.
In the first quarter, senior midfielder Chris Hughes received a pass from senior midfielder Challen Rogers, lining up an outside shot that beat the goalkeeper past his legs. Vermont answered just 17 seconds later, when sophomore attackman Cam Stafford beat senior goalkeeper Zach Oliveri in transition to put the Catamounts up, 3-2. Minutes later, Bitzer dished a cross-net pass to Schultz, who buried the tying goal, as the two teams exited the opening quarter at three tallies apiece.
Corpolongo ran in along the right side and launched a high-bouncing shot that gave the Seawolves a 4-3 lead early in the second quarter. But MacKay tied the game at four with a hard, high shot from the outside center.
Oliveri played the first half in the cage for Stony Brook, while Maciejewski played the second half, something the Seawolves have done in net all 10 games this season. Oliveri stopped four of eight shots on goal, while Maciejewski saved five out of 11.
The contest was decidedly even in turnovers, with Vermont committing 17 to Stony Brook’s 16. The two teams combined for eight failed clear attempts, as windy field conditions played a factor throughout the game.
“On windy days it’s harder to clear the ball,” Nagle said. “We could have done a better job there but it’s not untypical on a windy day to have issues clearing the ball.
In draw controls, the game was close as well, as Vermont won 14 draws and Stony Brook won 13. Junior faceoff specialist Jay Lindsay won 12 of his 25 faceoff attempts.
The Seawolves will go on the road for their next game to face the Princeton Tigers in a non-conference matchup on Saturday at 3 p.m..