Coming off a timeout three seconds into the second period of overtime, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team looked to deliver the blow that would put its No. 16-ranked America East rival Vermont Catamounts away.
Sophomore attackman Tom Haun’s shot attempt missed wide, but Stony Brook retained possession. Freshman attackman Jack Walsh inbounded the ball, finding sophomore attackman Chris Pickel, Jr. through two Catamount defenders. Pickel, Jr. took advantage of the lapsed defense and fired a shot to the back of the net for the 8-7 game-winning goal.
“I saw Chris [Pickel, Jr.] cutting through and I knew I could get the pass to him,” Walsh said following the overtime victory. “I knew it was going to go through and he was going to catch it and score the whole time. So, I passed it to him and he did exactly that.”
Stony Brook has won four of its last six games after starting the season on a four-game losing streak. The victory advances the Seawolves to a 3-1 against the America East, which ties them with the Albany Great Danes for first place. Men’s Lacrosse head coach Jim Nagle considered the win to be a significant momentum booster heading in to the last stretch of the season.
“We knew coming in that we played a very tough schedule in the early going, it was designed that way,” Nagle said. “[Vermont] played a little bit of a softer schedule and had a great year so we knew they were a great team and they were going to come in believing that they were going to win the game. Our challenge to the guys was just making sure they understood we’re just as competitive as this team in what has been a rougher road.”
Stony Brook began the game with an early lead after junior midfielder Owen Daly’s shot found the back of the net. Freshman midfielder Patrick Kaschalk added to the lead with a shot that bounced past Catamounts sophomore goalkeeper Nick Washuta to put the Seawolves ahead 2-0 with about seven minutes remaining in the first quarter. Sophomore attackman Cory VanGinhoven capitalized off a Catamounts turnover for the third Seawolves goal of the quarter.
The Catamounts responded to getting shut out in the first quarter, scoring two goals in five minutes to begin the second. Haun scored to put the Seawolves up 4-2, but Catamounts redshirt-senior midfielder Ian MacKay scored his second goal of the game to cut the deficit to one goal with 1:33 remaining in the first half.
MacKay led the Catamounts offense and finished the game with three goals and six points. The midfielder assisted on both Catamount goals in the third quarter, which gave Vermont a 5-4 lead, its first of the day.
Stony Brook sophomore midfielder Wayne White took advantage of a man-up situation and scored to cut the Catamounts lead to 6-5 after MacKay tallied a third goal and recorded a hat trick. Haun later tied the game before Walsh scored with 6:12 remaining to give the Seawolves a 7-6 lead. Sophomore midfielder Rob Hudson tied the game at 7-7 for Vermont off an assist by MacKay with 2:32 remaining and eventually forced the game into overtime.
Sophomore goalkeeper Michael Bollinger rebounded from allowing 10 goals against Princeton with a much better outing, recording five of his 16 saves in the first quarter alone. Bollinger stayed in net for the entire game and finished with a .696 save percentage.
Coach Nagle praised Bollinger’s performance and growth throughout the season following the game.
“That was the best game I have seen him have,” Nagle said. “He had a great day. He had 16 saves on seven goals, that’s pretty good. You know, not too many sophomores in the country have as many starts as Michael does so all that experience really pays off.”
Stony Brook will return to action on Friday, April 20 in its final home game of the season against America East rival UMass Lowell. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.