The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team started 4-0 and played well in the first half against Rutgers, Brown and Syracuse, the former two of which were nationally ranked.
On the other side, the Albany Great Danes lost five of its six games to start the season, including an eight-goal home defeat to Binghamton last week. Based on those facts alone, it appeared that Seawolves’ resume would overpower the Danes on Saturday, March 26.
However, in the final conference matchup between two bitter rivals, it was Albany (2-5, 1-1 AE) who led for the whole game and withstood a Stony Brook (5-4, 1-1 AE) comeback to spring the 12-10 upset.
“At the end of the day we can’t score one goal in the first half and expect to win,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said in a press release. “I thought we battled in the second half but just dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
The biggest momentum-switching play came with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, when a wild scrum for a loose ball resulted in a wide open shot for Stony Brook attackman Kevin Mack. His attempt sailed wide and Albany goalkeeper Tommy Heller dove to secure the possession for the Great Danes, who quickly pushed the ball upfield for attackman Camden Hay to finish with his third goal of the game.
Had Mack’s look gone in, Stony Brook would have cut it to a 10-9 game with enough time to tie and even take the lead. The two-goal swing instead flipped the score to 11-8 Albany, and when the Danes extended their lead again 37 seconds later on a man-up opportunity, everything was all but sealed.
Down 8-2 with 20 minutes left to play, the Seawolves were given new life when an Albany flag and turnover allowed them to grab a pair of scores heading into the fourth quarter. Then Stony Brook’s leading scorer, attackman Dylan Pallonetti, held scoreless up to that point, finally awakened. He secured a hat trick in the fourth quarter alone as the Seawolves made it a 10-8 contest with seven minutes left.
Pallonetti extended his goal-scoring streak to 23 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the country.
Ultimately, Stony Brook played too poorly in the first half of the game to win on Saturday. Part of it was caused by good Albany defense, which held Pallonetti to only two shot attempts — none on goal — and three turnovers. Other factors were more self-inflicted, such as coughing up the ball 10 times and going 2-for-9 on face-offs.
The duo of face-off specialists Renz Conlon and Austin Deskewicz won only seven of the game’s 26 battles at the X throughout the whole game. For a second straight game, Stony Brook could not convert on extra-man chances, going just 2-for-6 after a 2-for-7 showing against Syracuse.
The Seawolves also had no answer for Great Danes attackman Graydon Hogg, who led all players with five goals on seven attempts, including a string of three-straight man-up goals in the fourth quarter. He more than doubled his total scoring output on the season in one game.
With a nine-day break between games, the Seawolves must find a way to stop their two-game skid before their final non-conference contest of the season against Dartmouth on Tuesday, April 5.