Senior attackman Ryan Bitzer (No. 9, above) prepares to retake possession in a game against Binghamton on April 28. The Men’s Lacrosse Team will face Albany in the semifinal round of the America East Playoffs. MARIE MATSUNAGA/THE STATESMAN

Stony Brook Men’s Lacrosse is playoff bound for the 16th season in a row, they will be the No. 4 seed in the America East Playoffs after finishing the season with a 3-3 conference record. The team will take on conference-rival Albany, who is ranked No. 5 in the country according to the most recent Inside Lacrosse poll, in the first round at Casey Stadium in Albany on Thursday.

The Seawolves will look to upset the top-seeded Great Danes who went undefeated in conference play for its fifth straight season.

“Seeds are sort of irrelevant,” head coach Jim Nagle said. “There’s no real advantage or disadvantage. You have to win two games to be the champion and that’s our goal. Who we play in the first and the second [round] doesn’t really matter.”

The Great Danes have led the America East with dominance, winning four championships in five years while the Seawolves are seeking their fourth in program history. The Seawolves defeated the Great Danes in the conference championship game in 2012 by a score of 14-8.

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Stony Brook will be tasked with slowing down the top scoring offense in the nation. Albany averages over 15 goals per game while Stony Brook is averaging 11 goals per game.

The Great Danes finished the season with a 12-2 overall record. Junior attackman Connor Fields is the team’s undeniable leader. He ranks first in the nation in points per game, is second in assists and third in goals per game.

The Seawolves got off to their best start in program history this season posting a 4-0 record until they were defeated by No. 7 Rutgers on the road. The team finished the season with a 7-6 overall record.

“We’re a young team and we’ve come a long way, we’ve seen some really positive things and we had a really good year.” Nagle said. “We just want to put our best effort forward. We want our guys to play free, relax and give it their best effort.”

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Senior midfielder Alex Corpolongo and attackman Ryan Bitzer will make their final playoff push together. Corpolongo led the team with 33 goals this season and Bitzer has tallied a point in 34 consecutive games.

“Alex, Bitzer and Jeff Reh have been tremendous for this program,” Nagle said. “We’re trying to accomplish the goal that they have set out and win an America East championship.”

The two teams went head-to-head once this season on Apr. 1 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Great Danes came into the Seawolves’ den and defeated them 19-11.

Albany leads the America East in faceoff win percentage with .682 as Stony Brook sits at the bottom of the ladder with a .428 win percentage.

Stony Brook has lost eight straight games against Albany and they lead the overall series 20-13. Albany toppled Stony Brook 22-9 in the 2015 America East Championship.

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The winner of this match-up will take on the winner of UMBC and Binghamton for the America East title on May 6 at 12 p.m..

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