The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team had its first showing of the season as the team took on the Villanova Wildcats in an exhibition at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday.
The Wildcats had a 9-6 record in their 2016-17 season, including a 4-1 record in the Big East Conference and qualification for the conference tournament.
The two teams played in five 15-minute quarters, with Stony Brook getting the upper hand and winning three of the five quarters. However, Villanova scored a total of 10 goals in the quarters, compared to Stony Brook’s nine.
The most action-packed part of the scrimmage was the fourth period of play, in which the Seawolves gained the upper hand against the Wildcats by a score of 3-2.
The period started off with sophomore midfielder Harrison Matsuoka winning the faceoff and charging toward the Villanova zone. After a few dicey moves, including a spin move on a Villanova defender, Matsuoka ripped a shot a few yards out of the goal, going over the net.
The Seawolves gained momentum following the opportunity. A 30-second Wildcat penalty for pushing put the Seawolves a man up. With just under nine minutes left, the Seawolves took a ball that was well-defended in their end and charged toward the Wildcat net.
With steady passing, junior long stick middie Ryland Rees took a shot 10 yards from the goal that found the back of the net, breaking the scoreless tie with 8:26 left in the period.
Stony Brook’s defense improved gradually throughout the five periods. Despite giving up two goals in the fourth period, pressure on the Villanova offense broke up numerous opportunities, including one around the Stony Brook net with 6:30 left.
Sophomore midfielder Wayne White added another Seawolf goal with 5:27 remaining by swooping around the net and firing a shot past the Villanova goalkeeper. Following the goal however, Villanova began to make a run of their own.
Two minutes after the goal, organized passing by the Villanova offense allowed for a set-play around the Stony Brook net. The opportunity turned into a goal with a quick pass and shot from the Wildcats, notching the score at 2-1 with 3:36 left.
Physical play was active throughout the exhibition. Around the crease, numerous pushing technical penalties were called on both teams, including a pushing penalty on the Seawolves with 1:49 left.
Despite being a man down, sophomore attackman Tom Haun scored a shorthanded goal assisted by freshman midfielder Mike McCannell just 10 seconds into the Villanova man advantage.
The Wildcats, despite being down two goals with under a minute left, still showed signs of life. On one final attack towards the Seawolves’ end, Junior defenseman Fernando Delgado launched a pass to freshman midfielder Colin Crowley, who fired a shot to the back of the Seawolves’ net, putting the score at 3-2. However, the goal came with just 16 seconds left in the period, sealing the Seawolves’ victory of the fourth quarter.
Although Stony Brook finished fourth in the America East last season with a 7-7 record, coaches throughout the conference have high expectations for the team. In the America East Preseason poll that was released on Jan. 25, Stony Brook is ranked second, behind the defending champion Albany Great Danes.
The much younger Seawolves team, with 50 percent of the unit consisting of freshmen, looks to keep the momentum going for its final exhibition before the regular season against the Drexel Dragons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m.