SBU Sports: No. 20 Men’s LAX tops Bulldogs, remains unbeaten

SBU Sports: No. 20 Men’s LAX tops Bulldogs, remains unbeaten

Matt DeMeo works against Bryant midfielder Jon Miller on Saturday at LaValle Stadium. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team cracked the Inside Lacrosse media poll’s top-20 rankings last week for the first time in four years.

And things continue to look up for coach Anthony Gilardi‘s Seawolves in Year 2 at the helm.

No. 20 Stony Brook clamped down on defense after halftime and produced a 14-8 win against Bryant on Feb. 20 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Stony Brook (2-0) has won consecutive games to open a season for the first time since 2017 — the same season the Seawolves last were ranked.

The Seawolves limited Bryant to one goal after intermission.

Wayne White gave Stony Brook its first lead, 8-7, when he opened the third-quarter scoring with 6 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the period.

Mike McCannell followed with a goal less than two minutes later for a two-goal cushion and Stony Brook led the rest of the way.

Bryant was held scoreless for 14:16 spanning the middle two quarters. And once that drought was broken to pull the Bulldogs within 9-8, USILA Team of the Week selection Dylan Pallonetti got on the scoreboard for the first time on the afternoon with a tough-angle unassisted goal. That was the first of six straight goals for Stony Brook, which held the Bulldogs scoreless over the final 19:11.

Goalie Anthony Palma made a career-high 16 saves to improve to 2-0 in two collegiate starts.

“We started off rocky, but our defense knows how to play the game,” Palma said. “We just really sunk in and played our game. We didn’t get overexcited. We calmed down and we did what we had to do.”

Said Gilardi about Palma: “He has that in him to get hot. He’s been really consistent this entire year. We knew he would settle in.”

Pallonetti had produced six goals in last Saturday’s season-opening win against Sacred Heart — a program record for a collegiate debut.

Bryant (1-1) had opened Saturday’s game with four straight goals during the opening five minutes. The Seawolves then answered with four straight goals of their own — including the opening pair by Cory VanGinhoven — to even the score at 4 after one quarter.

VanGinhoven produced his second straight hat trick to open the season. McCannell also had a had trick, his first since April 20, 2018, against UMass Lowell.

Matt DeMeo and Matt Anderson contributed  two goals apiece for the Seawolves.

White had a pair of assists in addition to his tiebreaking goal.

Stony Brook avenged a loss at Bryant last year, after which the season was shut down due to the pandemic.

“I wish there was some big Knute Rockne speech at halftime,” Gilardi said. “It was just, ‘Hey, we knew this was what the game was going to be like. Let’s continue to do what we do offensively, defensively and in the clearing game.’ And Palma really stepped up in the goal and made some unbelievable saves.”

Stony Brook returned to action on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Hofstra.