After a four-point deficit in the first quarter, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team rallied behind strong play from graduate attacker Cory VanGinhoven and senior midfielder Mike McCannell in the second half to defeat the Bryant Bulldogs by a final score of 14-8.
“Our offense is loaded with weapons,” McCannell said. “Everybody can score, everyone has good stick skills. So realistically when anybody has the ball, they are a threat. And we work well together. We have a lot of chemistry.”
Five minutes into the game, the Seawolves found themselves in a four-goal hole as Bryant was firing on all cylinders from the get-go. However, midway through the quarter, junior midfielder Matt Anderson found VanGinhoven for the first goal of the Seawolves’ own four-goal run to tie the game up.
Bryant answered with two goals to begin the second quarter, but Anderson put another goal past Bryant only for the Bulldogs to answer back less than a minute later. Needing to retake the momentum again, graduate attacker/midfielder Matt DeMeo scored two straight goals to re-tie the game at 7-7 going into the half.
In the second half, the Seawolves came out swinging. Redshirt-senior midfielder Wayne White got it started in the third quarter, scoring his first goal of the season to give Stony Brook its first lead of the game. They would never give it up. McCannell notched his second goal while redshirt-freshman attacker Dylan Pallonetti got his first of the game to close out the third.
In the fourth quarter, Stony Brook buried the game. After the early barrage, junior goalie Anthony Palma only allowed another four goals all game and completely shut the Bulldogs out in the fourth quarter. Finishing the game with 16 saves and an impressive 67% save rate, Palma gave the Seawolves the late-game stops they needed to hold on for the win.
“We just watched the film. We saw that they were pressing out on the midfield a lot when we were coming in from the defense,” VanGinhoven said in a postgame press conference with The Statesman. “We knew last year that they were a tough team and we wanted to get our redemption.”
Stony Brook earned redemption for their loss to Bryant last year, the Seawolves’ final game before the season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
In all, eight different Seawolves scored goals in the winning effort. VanGinhoven and McCannell finished the game with hat tricks, DeMeo and Anderson each notched two goals, and White, Pallonetti and junior midfielders David Miele-Estrella and Caleb Pearson all added a goal to stomp the Bulldogs.
“We’ve played with each other for a while,” McCannell said. “Even our new transfers have meshed in great with us. So it’s very exciting. It’s great to play with these guys, and it’s a nice opportunity to have a threat everywhere like that.”
Coming in as the 20th-ranked team in the nation, the Seawolves will need all those weapons and stout defense as they cross the county line for the Battle of Long Island against rivals Hofstra Pride in Hempstead on Feb. 27.
“The Long Island rivalry is important to us,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said. “[Hofstra head coach] Tierney and his staff do a great job and have unbelievable players, so we’re going to have to knuckle down as a team and focus on us in the beginning of the week. We’ve got to understand what they’re trying to do. It really comes down to us executing, and that’s our focus day-in and day-out.”