With a minute left in the fourth quarter, Stony Brook junior midfielder Alex Corpolongo ripped a potentially game-tying shot to the side of Vermont’s goal. It hit dead on the post. On the ensuing possession, senior midfielder Challen Rogers passed the ball to an open senior attackman Brody Eastwood, who dropped the ball and turned it over.
The Catamounts were able to run out the clock and celebrate, as they pulled off the upset, beating the Seawolves in the America East Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals, 10-9. For the first time in school history — in the 18th meeting between the teams — Stony Brook was beaten by Vermont.
Even though head coach Jim Nagle’s team played a slow tempo game all throughout the season, the Seawolves picked up the pace in the third quarter. But this proved to play right into the Catamounts’ hands.
After a quick Stony Brook goal out of halftime put Vermont down 6-3, the Catamounts began their scoring barrage a minute into the third quarter. Junior attackman Cam Milligan beat Stony Brook senior goalkeeper Zach Oliveri to cut the Seawolves’ lead to 6-4. Although the Seawolves had the lead, the Catamounts were slowly gaining momentum.
After a slashing penalty on senior midfielder Chris Hughes and an offsides penalty on junior midfielder Jeff Rehs, Vermont scored on the man-up situation to make the score 6-5. Minutes later, freshman attackman Jack Knight sprinted toward the Seawolves’ goal on a fast break and fired away for the tying goal. The Catamounts then got their second lead of the game when senior attackman James Barlow beat freshman midfielder Justin Pugal and pushed the game to 7-6.
Junior attackman Ryan Bitzer ended Vermont’s scoring run when he tied up the game with 45 seconds left in the quarter. Eastwood slipped behind the opposing defense to score his first goal of the game with two seconds left on the clock, giving Stony Brook a 8-7 lead.
That lead did not last long as Knight tied the game up again with 11:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. Hughes responded with a goal of his own, giving the Seawolves a 9-8 lead. Looking to answer, Vermont successfully cleared the ball and sophomore midfielder Matt Gudas slung the ball into the net for the equalizer. The game was tied, 9-9, with just over five minutes remaining.
Stony Brook won the faceoff and began mounting its attack. However, Hughes turned the ball over and Vermont cleared it. Milligan scored his 27th goal of the year, his second of the game, to give the Catamounts a 10-9 lead that they would hold onto, advancing to Saturday’s conference championship game.
Vermont’s defense proved to be too much for Stony Brook in the end. Senior goalkeeper Jon Kaplan had a season-high 17 saves — five of which were in the fourth quarter — to stymie the Seawolves.
The second half was the polar opposite of the first. Whereas Stony Brook owned the momentum in the first half, Vermont controlled the flow of the game at its end.
In the first quarter, the Seawolves went on a four-goal run. After Rogers hit a goal to tie the game 1-1, Corpolongo and senior attackman Matt Schultz both scored in succession of each other. Rogers then hit a buzzer-beating goal to end the quarter with an exclamation, giving him his 22nd of the season.
Seven players scored for the Seawolves, but it was not enough, as Vermont outplayed Stony Brook in the second half to secure perhaps the biggest win in school history.
The Seawolves end their season with a 12-4 record, ranked as the No. 13 team in the nation. From here it is a waiting game, as Stony Brook hopes to be selected into the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid.