Sophomore midfielder Caleb Pearson created another moment of late-game magic, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals on Saturday, Feb. 29. The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team rallied around him to defeat Rutgers 14-13.
The Seawolves drew first blood, scoring twice from senior midfielder Connor Grippe and senior attacker Tom Haun in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Rutgers returned by scoring two, but Stony Brook ended the first quarter up two after freshman attacker Noah Armitage’s first career goal followed by junior midfielder Mike McCannell’s first of the game.
Rutgers returned the favor in the next quarter, taking their own 2-goal lead into the half while the Seawolves answered back in the third before the Scarlet Knights took a 3-goal lead at the beginning of the fourth.
It was here, down 11-8, when the Seawolves turned on their late-game magic.
Sophomore midfielder Renz Conlon dominated in the fourth, winning all 10 faceoffs and scoring the first of a 6-goal run that the Seawolves went on. Followed up by sophomore attacker Matt Anderson’s goal, Pearson’s goal with 9:56 left tied the game at 11-a-piece. A few minutes later, Anderson would assist on Pearson’s game-winning goal. After Grippe and redshirt-junior midfielder Wayne White dug the final nails in the coffin, Rutgers’ last two goals were not enough to overcome the Seawolves.
“Really, in the first half, we just didn’t play our best ball,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said in a press release. “That’s what it came down to. I think offensively, defensively in the faceoff X, clearing the ball, we just weren’t ourselves. We challenged the boys at halftime. We responded. It was the faceoff X. Defensively, we played better. Offensively we played better. That’s what we’re most proud of. There’s a lot to learn from. How we responded was excellent.”
The team’s leading goal scorer had similar sentiments. “We had a rough first half,” Pearson said. “The energy wasn’t there. But all the guys brought it together during the second half. The guys weren’t selfish. Everyone was working with everyone and things were clicking.”
While Stony Brook got the win, junior midfielder Patrick Kaschalk and sophomore midfielder Austin Deskewicz, who also scored his first career goal, both left the field with injuries without returning.
Sitting at 4-1 on the season and even in the all-time series with the Scarlet Knights, the Seawolves’ 3-game win streak gives them momentum going into Tuesday’s neutral-site matchup against the Sacred Heart Pioneers at Saint Anthony’s High School in Huntington, New York.
“We have to continue to get better,” Gilardi said. “We’ve got a quick turnaround for a tough Sacred Heart team.”