Attackman Noah Armitage celebrating after scoring a goal in the Long Island Cup finals against the LIU Sharks on Feb. 27. ETHAN TAM/THE STATESMAN

The Seawolves have been crowned kings of the Island.

In the championship game of the inaugural Long Island Cup, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team took control early and secured the 10-6 win over the Long Island University (LIU) Sharks on Sunday, Feb. 27.

Stony Brook is not only the owner of a 4-0 record, its best start since 2017, but also the trophy that gives the Seawolves the claim for Long Island supremacy. Less than 48 hours after the team took down St. John’s in the semifinals, they came back to Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium and did it again for all the bragging rights.

“It means the world to us,” attackman Noah Armitage said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “The past two weeks, we were dialed in, thinking about this moment — and here it is.”

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For attackman Dylan Pallonetti, a Stony Brook native who transferred back to the Island after a season at the University of Maryland, winning the Long Island Cup is extra special.

“Being home is great. I love it,” Pallonetti said. “Playing for Stony Brook is amazing, so to win this, we’re the champs of Long Island.”

Armitage led all players with three goals, his second hat trick in the last three outings. A sophomore, he did not score at all last season but is currently tied for second on the team this season in goals.

“We have a very veteran midfield and attack,” he said. “Shout-out to Kevin Mack and Dylan Pallonetti. It’s easy to play with good players. They find me in good spots and I’m able to execute on the crease for them.”

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Stony Brook’s defense held it down, limiting the Sharks to just five goals before they put one in milliseconds prior to the final horn in garbage time. Head coach Anthony Gilardi praised the effort of defenseman Dan Newton, who started in place of an injured Michael Sabella. Stony Brook and LIU had never played each other before, but Gilardi knew that the Sharks’ two attackmen Blake Behlen and Richie LaCalandra would guide their offense, and praised how well defenseman Jacob Williams guarded the latter.

The first 48 seconds of the championship game was messy with a combined four turnovers between both teams, but Stony Brook established all the early momentum by scoring each of the quarter’s four goals. Pallonetti, the reigning America East Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, scored two and assisted on a third, stealing the show when he rifled in a shot from 20 yards out that found nothing but net.

“Something we preached was coming out hot and giving them everything we’ve got right off the bat for 60 minutes,” Pallonetti said.

Behlen, LIU’s leading scorer, took a hard hit in the first quarter and struggled to come off the field. When he came back in the second, he gave the Sharks their only goal of the first half, coming on a man-up opportunity. The low-scoring frame saw both teams commit six turnovers and combine to shoot 2-for-20.

The Sharks wouldn’t be quelled easily. Back-to-back goals in a 46-second span turned what looked to be a comfortable lead into just a 7-4 advantage for Stony Brook, and LIU was firmly within striking distance after having been shut down early.

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“We have a great resilient group,” Gilardi said. “We’ve been up in games, teams have come back, we’ve been down and fought back, so we’ve got a great group and great culture, but I can’t say enough for our senior leaders and fifth-year senior leaders in there that really grind it out.”

Graduate midfielder Mike McCannell snuck in a score with three seconds left in the third quarter, and midfielder Matt Anderson earned his team-high 11th goal of the year to put the Seawolves up 9-4 in the fourth. Sealing the deal with 79 seconds left, long-stick midfielder Christian Lowd saw the LIU goalie stray behind the net and whipped in the second goal of his career.

“The back of our shirts [in warmups] says ‘Defend the Island.’ We want to be the best team on Long Island, and you can see that we are,” Armitage said.

Faceoff specialist Renz Conlon holding the Long Island Cup trophy after Stony Brook’s win. ETHAN TAM/THE STATESMAN

Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney and St. John’s head coach Jason Miller came up with the concept of the Long Island Cup two years ago. Gilardi was later contacted about participating in the event, and while it was unable to happen in the 2021 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it finally came to fruition this week.

Gilardi disclosed that the plans for future Long Island Cups are complicated with Stony Brook beginning play in the Colonial Athletic Association next year, the same conference as Hofstra. However, the two teams wound up not facing each other in this season’s bracket, and there is always the possibility of counting potential Long Island Cup matchups between the Seawolves and the Pride as non-conference games.

“There’s ways to do it, we’re just going to have to get a little creative,” Gilardi said.

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For now, nothing can take away the fact that the first-ever Long Island Cup belongs to Stony Brook.

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