For the first time since May of 2012, the Stony Brook Seawolves Men’s Lacrosse team has come out victorious against the Albany Great Danes. With this win, Stony Brook is crowned the regular season champion of the America East. They will face the winner of today’s UMBC/Hartford game, while Albany will get another crack at a Vermont team that prevailed against them in a come-from-behind victory earlier this season.
This game had everything you could ask for as a lacrosse fan – momentum shifts, big hits and two, one-hour long thunderstorm delays. As a lacrosse enthusiast, it was an experience I will never forget.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
From warmups to the final whistle, which were almost 4 1/2 hours apart, the Seawolves had their sights set on clinching the right to host the America East Tournament for the first time in 7 years. After Jack Burgmaster’s opening goal, Stony Brook answered with a 5 goal run. The face-offs were dominated by Stony Brook, especially in the first quarter where the Seawolves were able to come out with all 9 possessions. Albany was hit with three violations within the first 9 minutes of play. “It was unfortunate we just got off to a slow start;1st period, they took it to us”, said Coach Marr.
Short Time, Find Twine
Two very late goals near the end of the first and 2nd quarter were key moments. With 16 seconds go in the 1st, Tom Haun scored an absolutely nasty BTB; his Junior classmate Connor Grippe came up with an unassisted goal of his own with just 21 seconds to go in the 2nd. Haun would end the night with 4 balls in the back of net. Both of these goals came moments after crucial dingers for Albany. Stony Brook would take a 10-5 lead into half.
Dane Train Gets Rolling
After a slow start, the Danes came out of the half firing on all cylinders. As they began to win some at the X, their ground-ball total from the first half doubled. Meanwhile, Stony Brook had committed 9 turnovers as well as a critical offsides penalty. “Albany’s got some really talented players, and they were a great team in that 3rd quarter” commented Stony Brook Coach Jim Nagel.
SUNY Albany went on a run by putting in 4 unanswered goals. The last of the four goals was scored by Sean Eccles and it was an absolute laser, upper 90. Albany was now within one, bringing the score to 10-9. As a spectator, you could feel tides turn in every direction. This was becoming Albany’s game- playing fast and controlling the flow like we have seen them do time and time again under Coach Marr. The 4th quarter was gearing up and ready to start.
[FLASHHHHHH and Thunder Sound]
Rain Delay Part 1
“In my 31 years of broadcasting, never have I seen anything like this”, said Matt Mankiewich, long time Stony Brook radio reporter. A fierce downpour combined with constant, flickering lighting put the game, as well as the Dane Train’s 3rd quarter run, to a complete halt. About a half an hour went by, and then another half hour of nothing but rain and lighting. Finally, just as the teams were becoming restless over the uncertainty of when the next play would be, we were advised that the game would start at 10:08PM. Both teams would be given 10 minutes to warm up. 9:58PM rolled around and we could see both teams eager at the edge of the tunnel, ready to play and ready to battle. Both teams were yelling as they ran out and started warmups. Fans started to come back from the parking lot, that is until we saw another flash and both teams were sent right back to their locker rooms. “We warmed up the one time, then we had to go back in. You get all jacked up to come out and play, we get out there, we’re stretching and then we gotta go back in”, said Coach Marr.
Rain Delay, Part 2
Now the question was not when they would play, but if they could play. Could they cancel the game? Will they finish tomorrow? While fans and spectators were getting antsy both teams remained focused on the task at hand. When I asked about the locker room atmosphere during the break, Sophomore Defenseman Danny Cassidy had this to say, “It was electric, everyone was up the whole time; we knew we were gonna come out hot”. The wait went on for a bit longer until we received word that play would resume at 10:38PM, following another 10 minute warmup period.
After 2 hours, a long-awaited 4th quarter finally began. These two contenders didn’t skip a beat. Both teams netted goals within the first 2 minutes of resumed play. Chris Pickel wasted no time getting his 3rd goal of the night to give the SeaWolves a 11-9 lead. Jacob Patterson wasted no time in retaliation with a tip toe quick stick crease dive to bring the Danes back, behind one at 11-10. Stony Brook goalie Michale Bollinger came up huge with 3 lead-preserving saves. With a little less than 8 Minutes remaining in play, Tom Haun got one more for some insurance room. Albany would get a few more opportunities but they couldn’t seem to get anything to fall, including a great shot by Patterson that hit the pipe with less than 3 minutes to play. Stony Brook chipped away at the clock, possession by possession, as the defense came together for some essential game-saving stops.
Stony Brook pulled out the victory 12-10. “It’s not just one player, the whole team played great and we got a great goaltender behind us”, said Cassidy.
All in All
The Seawolves did a fantastic job making necessary adjustments during the break to ensure victory. Everything from the clear to slowing the ball down seemed to reconnect for them in the 4th. Albany also did a great job battling after an uncharacteristic start to the game. If these teams can make it past their first round foes, we are in for a real treat come Saturday. When Coach Marr was asked about how the seeding with play out for the America East Tourney he responded “We have won as the #2 we won as the #3, We have both been here many times, its ok they can enjoy being the regular season champs, We what happens next week.”
What to watch for next weekend
• Kyle Casey- this guy has been a subtle stud for UAlbany doing all the little things for that offense that sometimes go unnoticed, like controlling some of the chaos. He’s a player to watch for years to come.
• Stony Brook’s defense – there is talent everywhere.
• Don’t count out the Catamounts – Vermont will have the #2 seed. With a one goal win against Albany and a one goal loss to Stony Brook, the American East NCAA playoff bid is up for grabs (as per usual).