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Dylan Pallonetti

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Stony Brook University men’s lacrosse head coach Anthony Gilardi has named Mike McCannell, Christian Lowd, Dylan Pallonetti, Michael Sabella, and Wayne White as team captains for the 2022 season.

“We could not be more excited to announce our captains. There is no greater honor on a team than being elected a captain by your teammates. This group is everything Stony Brook lacrosse is all about, they work hard, are tough, and love playing lacrosse. We are excited to see how far we can go with the leadership of these men,” said coach Gilardi.

McCannell recorded 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists) in 2021 and was tabbed to the All-America East First Team. He was tied for fourth in the America East in assists and ranked sixth in the league in assists per game (1.36). The Orangeville, Ontario native scored a season-high five goals in a 22-8 win on April 24, 2021.

Lowd saw action in all 14 games last season and picked up 39 ground balls, which were the second-most on the team. He recorded 10 caused turnovers and scored his first career goal at UMass Lowell on March 20.

Pallonetti was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in 2021. He became the first student-athlete in America East history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. Pallonetti recorded 55 points (36 goals, 19 assists) in his first season on Long Island. He ranked second in the America East in goals, second in points per game (3.93), and tied for fourth in assists per game.

Sabella had a standout season in 2021 as he was named to the All-America East First Team, America East All-Rookie Team, and America East All-Championship Team. He picked up 23 ground balls and registered 14 caused turnovers.

White appeared in 12 games, recorded eight points, which included three goals and five assists, and picked up nine ground balls. White scored the tie-breaking goal with 6:55 remaining in the third quarter to help lead the Seawolves to a 14-8 win over Bryant on February 20, 2021.

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Stony Brook is slated to play a total of 14 games, seven of which will take place at LaValle Stadium and it is set to host 2021 NCAA Tournament teams Rutgers, Syracuse, and Vermont.

“We are excited to announce our 2022 schedule. We have a very challenging non-conference slate that is designed to prepare us for a tough conference schedule. We are looking forward to the Long Island Cup event hosted at Hofstra this year. It is going to be a great event to highlight Long Island lacrosse as well as great preparation for the America East Tournament,” said coach Gilardi. “With the return of fans to LaValle Stadium, we are looking forward to big home crowds as we have one of the best home slates in recent years highlighted by 2021 NCAA Tournament teams Rutgers, Syracuse, and Vermont.”

The Seawolves begin the 2022 campaign with a pair of home games at LaValle Stadium. Stony Brook first welcomes Fairfield to Long Island on February 12, followed by a meeting with Robert Morris on February 19.

After playing two home games to get the season started, Stony Brook takes part in the LI Cup being hosted by Hofstra on February 25, and February 27. The Seawolves go head-to-head with New York foe St. John’s on February 25, and their opponent on February 27, will be determined following the opening round of the tournament.

Stony Brook returns home to host perennial NCAA Tournament contender Rutgers out of the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in 2021, where they fell to No. 1 North Carolina, 12-11, in overtime. The Seawolves are 6-6 all-time against Rutgers and it will be the first time that they host the Scarlet Knights since March 11, 2016, when they picked up a 15-6 win.

Following the meeting with Rutgers, Stony Brook travels to Providence, R.I. to face Brown on March 12. The Seawolves are back on Long Island for back-to-back home games, first against UMass Lowell in the America East opener on March 16.

The Seawolves then welcome national power Syracuse to LaValle Stadium on March 19. It will mark the second time in history that the teams play each other and the first time that they square off on Long Island. Stony Brook fell to Syracuse last season in the first-ever meeting between the teams at the Carrier Dome. The Orange advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, where they fell to Georgetown in the opening round.

After the two-game homestand, the Seawolves play four out of their final six games of the regular season on the road. Stony Brook heads to UAlbany on March 26, and then travels to play at Dartmouth on April 5. The Seawolves are back home to play host to NJIT on April 9.

Stony Brook travels to play at Binghamton on Friday, April 16, and at UMBC on April 23. The 2022 regular season finale is a rematch of the 2021 America East semifinals between Stony Brook and Vermont on April 30. Vermont went on to win the America East Tournament and earn the league’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament where it fell to Maryland in the opening round.

The 2022 America East men’s lacrosse tournament is set to take place from May 5-7, and will be hosted by the tournament No. 1 overall seed. The top four teams from the regular season will advance to the conference tournament.

The Seawolves return All-Conference selections Dylan Pallonetti, Mike McCannell, Michael Sabella, David Estrella, and Austin Deskewicz to their 2022 roster. In addition to being an All-America East First Team and All-Rookie selection, Pallonetti was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. He became the first student-athlete in America East history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

Cory VanGinhoven (40) joins teammates Anthony Palma and Dylan Pallonetti as America East weekly honorees.

A resounding start to the season has led to a clean sweep of the America East’s first weekly men’s lacrosse awards for 2021.

Cory VanGinhoven claimed Offensive Player of the Week, Anthony Palma Defensive Player of the Week and Dylan Pallonetti Rookie of the Week on Monday.

The weekly honor encompasses Stony Brook’s season-opening 20-8 win against Sacred Heart on Feb. 13 as well as this past Saturday’s 14-8 victory against Bryant.

VanGinhoven, a 6-foot, 175-pound attackman from Fort Mill, N.C., and a 2020 USILA All-American, had hat tricks in both victories. He added a team-high four assists in the season opener.

Palma, a 6-0, 175-pound goalie from East Islip, earned wins in his first two collegiate starts after succeeding Mike Bollinger, who graduated last year. Palma had a 7.82 GAA and .634 save percentage in the two victories. In the win against Bryant, he recorded a career-high 16 saves and contributed to holding the Bulldogs scoreless over the final 19 minutes, 11 seconds.

A local product from Ward Melville High School in Stony Brook, the 5-10, 185-pound Pallonetti set the program record for a collegiate debut with six goals against Sacred Heart. The redshirt freshman attackman, who transferred from Maryland, had seven goals and two assists spanning the two games.

Stony Brook (2-0) returns to action Feb. 27 at Hofstra.

Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Dylan Pallonetti paced the Seawolves with six goals in his collegiate debut. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team waited 343 days to return to game action. The Seawolves then took only 69 seconds to get on the scoreboard.

Stony Brook ultimately opened its 2021 season with a 20-8 win against Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Stony Brook native Dylan Pallonetti, a redshirt freshman who transferred from Maryland, tallied six goals as well as an assist in his long-awaited collegiate debut — the most goals ever by a Seawolf in his collegiate debut, and the most by a Stony Brook player since Tom Haun had that same output against Binghamton on March 29, 2019.

The 12-goal margin of victory was Stony Brook’s largest since a 14-goal victory against NJIT on Feb. 20, 2015.

The Seawolves last had played on March 7, 2020, after which the season was halted due to COVID-19. 

“It was great to be back out there playing another team,” said Pallonetti, a Ward Melville High School product. “It was the first time in a while. I want to thank my teammates. They supported me the whole way. It was a team effort today.”

Maritime graduate transfer Matt DeMeo, the lone other new arrival in the starting lineup, added a hat trick and two assists in his Seawolves debut. His tally with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter opened a game-high dozen-goal lead. 

“When you look at it, it’s a credit to the guys who are already here,” second-year head coach Anthony Gilardi said about the contributions from Pallonetti and DeMeo. “… We set the table the first day we were here as a new staff, saying we’re going to play unselfish, team lacrosse. One day some guy is going to have a lot of opportunities. The next day it’s going to be somebody else. But if we just do one-sixth offensively, then we’re going to be good. Those guys really bought into it.

“And Dylan and Matt come into the fold and they fit right in seamlessly. The best part about it is our current guys were the ones teaching them the offense.” 

Cory VanGinhoven also had three goals, while Tom Haun and Chris Pickel Jr. contributed a pair apiece. VanGinhoven added a team-high four assists.

Haun passed Alex Corpolongo (95, 2014-17) for ninth on the program’s all-time list with No. 96. Next up: No. 8 Chris Kollmer, who had 97 from 1994 through ’97.

Austin Deskewicz won 12 of 13 faceoffs, and the Seawolves won 23 of 30 overall.

After Jaden Walcot evened the scored at 1 early n the first quarter, Stony Brook rattled off eight straight goals while holding Sacred Heart scoreless for 18:44.

Anthony Palma, who succeeded graduated Michael Bollinger in goal, recorded seven saves in his first collegiate start to earn the win.

“Coach told us all week, ‘We’ve got to make the first move. We’ve got to really end it early,'” Palma said. “I think we came out with great energy and we kept it up the whole game. My defense played phenomenally in front of me. I have no complaints. I think every single one of them played their hearts out. They never let up intensity.”

Stony Brook returns to action next Saturday, Feb. 20 at noon when it hosts Bryant.

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Dylan Pallonetti, left, and brother Ryan, right, holding the state championship plaque in 2017. Photo from Kevin Pallonetti

By Desirée Keegan

Trading in their hockey sticks for lacrosse ones changed the lives of Ward Melville’s Pallonetti brothers.

Recent graduate Ryan and soon-to-be senior Dylan were fundamental pieces to a Patriots team that pulled out back-to-back state championship titles the last two seasons.

Dylan and Ryan Pallonetti when they were younger with their father, Kevin. Photo from the Pallonetti family

The success was sweeter for Ryan, a Franklin & Marshall College-bound two-way midfielder, after having his stellar sophomore season cut short and missing all junior year rehabbing from a hair fracture in his hip and a torn meniscus. In his last game in the green and gold, he scored three goals and added an assist in Ward Melville’s dominating 15-2 win over West Genesee in the state finals.

“He works extremely hard — it was his time,” head coach Jay Negus said. “We saw he had that kind of stuff in him all along. Had he not been injured I think we would’ve seen all that that much sooner. But I also don’t think Ryan has reached his full potential. I think he’s ready for the next step, and I think he’s going to flourish in college.”

The injuries also changed Pallonetti’s life forever.

“I was beyond excited to finally be a part of such a great program,” he said of making the varsity team as a sophomore. “Getting injured and having it all be so short-lived sucked, but it motivated me to come back better than I was. The journey it took to get to that point — where hoisting up the championship plaque felt even better than scoring the goals — is irreplaceable. I made sure to stay disciplined with what I had to do to recover properly, and I didn’t let anything get in the way of that.”

At 4 years old he was playing hockey in the driveway with his brother. The pair also played baseball, basketball and football, and said they weren’t into lacrosse after first trying it. But they quickly grew fond of the game’s fast pace and worked well with one another.

Ryan Pallonetti gets pole checked in a 2018 game. Photo by Bill Landon

“It’s a competitive game that takes a lot of practice and hard work,” Dylan Pallonetti said. “Ryan and I definitely have a feel for each other on the field. That chemistry developed in the driveway and on the front lawn.”

That competitive side started for the dynamic duo with Ryan growing up as a New York Rangers hockey fan, his younger brother rooting for the Islanders. That spirited side led them to test one another, especially during home games.

“Both are very fast and athletic, have great hands,” Negus said. “That’s very important in lacrosse, and I think that also can be credited to their time playing hockey.”

Ryan Pallonetti will continue to compete out on the ice, hoping to contribute to Franklin & Marshall’s club team. Dylan will be taking to the Ward Melville Patriots Ice Hockey Club team once more before heading to the University of Massachusetts in fall 2019.

The Pallonetti’s father Kevin said he and his wife Michele have been in awe of what their sons have been able to do out on the turf while also balancing their studies and time training.

“They have the confidence to go against these bigger players, and they find success,” he said. “Ryan is more of a warrior getting to ground balls and sets up the plays, always thinking and analyzing before he acts, and Dylan finishes those plays — he’s more free-flowing and just goes for it. They’re able to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.”

Dylan Pallonetti shoots in a 2018 game. Photo by Bill Landon

Dylan is a top scorer. The attack finished second on the team and 14th in the county in points with 53 goals and 21 assists behind Patriots superstar Matt Grillo, who ranked sixth in Suffolk.

“He pushed me to always play my best and his contribution to the team was very important,” Ryan said of his brother. “He has a very quick release with his shot and has a great lacrosse IQ.”

Negus said he’s hoping Dylan, his soon-to-be captain, can steer the ship in the right direction after 21 Patriots were lost to graduation.

“Dylan has been outstanding throughout his career, he’s really stepped up on the offensive side — he makes people around him better, and that’s the sign of a good leader,” Negus said. “And Dylan has never played like he’s been the younger sibling. He steps out on the field and constantly plays bigger than he is.”

Negus said he’s excited to have at least one brother for one more year.

“They’re two brothers that we’ve loved having a part of this program,” the coach said. “They’ve set their mark on it.”

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Matt Grillo scores twice, Dylan Pallonetti and Liam Davenport add a goal and an assist each in Patriots' 19th Long Island championship title win

By Bill Landon

The competition to become Class A’s Long Island champion came down to a battle for the ground balls, and as Ward Melville’s defense scooped them up, with it, came the title.

Long-stick midfielder Ethan Larson grabbed five ground balls and long-stick midfielder Pat O’Neill had three in the Patriots’ 8-5 win against Massapequa at Hofstra University June 2. Defenseman Alex Mazzone took hold of two grounders and caused two turnovers. All were crucial given Massapequa (17-2) won 11 of 17 faceoffs.

Being up by just a single goal to start the second half isn’t something the Patriots are used to, minus their one-goal loss to Half Hollows Hills East April 18. Senior Matt Grillo (two goals) said he thought the team was on edge given the unfamiliarity with being in a tight game after halftime, but said one of O’Neill’s possessions gave Ward Melville the spark it needed to ignite a string of scores.

O’Neill grabbed a ground-ball win on the opening faceoff 11 seconds into the second half, darted in on Massapequa goalie Mike Venezia, who shined with 14 saves, made a stick fake and scored. The junior’s goal gave Ward Melville a 3-1 lead.

“That really gave us the energy [we needed], fired us up,” Grillo said.  “We were tired, and the sun was getting the best of us, but we hydrated, we stretched, we just got our legs loose and we came out hot. We just didn’t turn back from there.”

Liam Davenport beat Venezia with a bouncer off a feed from Dylan Pallonetti to give Ward Melville a 4-1 lead with 10:33 left in the third, but Venezia robbed Pallonetti and Grillo from close range that quarter and made a stunner of a save on Grillo early in the fourth to keep the game close.

Ward Melville head coach Jay Negus tipped his hat to Venezia, who held the Patriots to 8-for-40 on shooting.

Ryan Pallonetti, Dylan’s older brother, scored to bring the game to 7-4 with 7:14 left, but again Massapequa had an answer. Venezia initially made the stop on Dylan Pallonetti’s shot, but when he spun his stick to try to trigger a fast break, he inadvertently flicked the ball back into the box.

“To be quite honest we were real sloppy in the first half on both ends,” Negus said. “We were missing some ground balls on the defensive end, but in the second half we made the adjustment. They really attacked the ground balls — I thought our poles did an excellent job then keeping their heads up and working to move in transition. Even the short-stick guys did a great job at picking up the ground balls — they were running all over and on a hot day like this, you can wear another team out. We like to play fast.”

Ward Melville will face Section II’s Niskayuna at Adelphi University in the state semifinals Wednesday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m.

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By Bill Landon

Ward Melville’s boys lacrosse team swallowed a bitter pill April 18 when the Patriots suffered their only loss of the season, 7-6, loss to Half Hollow Hills East. The No. 1-seeded Patriots had their chance to avenge that loss going up against the No. 3 Thunderbirds in the Class A county championship Wednesday, and did so in convincing fashion.

Behind junior Dylan Pallonetti’s five goals, Ward Melville won 14-5 at Islip High School May 30.

“We remembered that feeling when we lost to them — we weren’t going to let that happen again,” Pallonetti said. “We came out with some fire, put some goals in and never really let them take the game away. For now, we’ll practice hard, study Massapequa and keep the train rolling.”

Ward Melville (18-1) will face Massapequa (17-1) in the Long Island championship at 12:30 p.m. June 2 at Hofstra University.

Pallonetti said finding out that Ward Melville moved up to No. 1 in the nation, according to Inside Lacrosse, gave the Patriots a little extra juice.

It gave him some extra motivation, too, scoring a hat trick in the first half to turn a 5-4 first quarter advantage into a 7-4 halftime lead.

Half Hollow Hills East’s Mike Gomez found the back of the cage early in the third to close within two, but it was as close as the Thunderbirds would come the rest of the way. Ward Melville goalkeeper Collin Krieg (5 saves) said even with a nine-goal lead you can never get too comfortable in the game of lacrosse.

“Obviously we came out with more intensity today thinking we [shouldn’t have lost to them] in the first place,” Krieg said. “Yeah, we were ahead by nine, but to be honest you never know — that team can easily put up a bunch of points. I never like to count my chickens before they hatch.”

Having a potent Patriots offense on the other side of the field though didn’t hurt.

Eight different Ward Melville players scored, five finding the cage over a 4:30 span in the first quarter alone for a 5-1 lead before Half Hollow Hills East responded with three straight. Senior Matt Grillo added three on the day and seniors Zach Hobbes and Michael Giaquinto tacked on a goal and an assist apiece.

Ward Melville, which has now outscored opponents 204-75 this season, bring home the school’s third straight county crown and 26th overall in 40 appearances in the title game.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game — they played us hard the first time — but tonight we wanted revenge,” Grillo said. “It’s always nice to get another win, add some more hardware to the Ward Melville legacy.”

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By Bill Landon

A strong dose of Dylan Pallonetti is just what the doctor ordered.

With his No. 1-seeed Ward Melville boys lacrosse team down 2-0 in the first quarter, the junior scored three straight for a lead his Patriots would not let go of, and capped off the game with another three to seal the deal in a 14-8 Class A semifinal win over No. 5 Connetquot May 24.

Pallonetti ended with a game-high nine goals and one assist on the evening at Islip High School.

“We came out a little slow, but we started moving the ball well in the second half when we figured out their zone,” Pallonetti said. “And we scored some goals.”

He said his team will take the momentum built in this game and transfer it on to the next. Ward Melville faces No. 3 Half Hollow Hills East at Islip High School in the Class A title game May 30 at 7 p.m.

“We’ll have a couple days of practice,” Pallonetti said. “We’ll practice hard, go hard and just keep going.”

Ward Melville head coach Jay Negus said the team didn’t change its game plan when facing the Thunderbirds and will treat Wednesday’s game against the Colts the same way.

“We were a little impatient at first, but we came back to our game plan,” Negus said, noting playmakers on the field, especially on the defensive end, that made some of Pallonetti’s goals possible. “Ethan Larson, Frank Ciniglio, Alex Mazzone and Collin Krieg played well and Patty O’Neill made some unbelievable takeaways that sparked some transition goals.”

Seniors Matt Grillo (two goal, two assists), Zach Hobbes (two goals) and Lucas Flynn (one goal) also found the back of cage for Ward Melville. Senior Ryan Pallonetti, Dylan’s older brother, added an assist.

Ward Melville (16-1 overall, 13-1 in Division I) will look to avenge its only loss of the season. The Patriots fell to Hills East, 7-6, even after scoring three straight goals with 55 seconds left to close what was a 7-3 gap. Ward Melville is vying for its third straight county crown.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us against Hills East,” Negus said. “So we’re going to dig in the next couple of days and be prepared.”

This version has been updated to correct the amount of goals that Pallonetti scored.

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Patriots power through Massapequa for second straight Long Island title

Call him Perry the protector.

In the final three minutes of the third quarter, with Ward Melville’s boys’ lacrosse team up 5-4 over Nassau County champion Massapequa, Perry Cassidy made three saves, and opened the fourth quarter with another, before his team scored three goals in three minutes en route to an 8-5 Class A Long Island championship victory. The Long Island championship win for Ward Melville was its second straight and 18th in program history.

“I was trying to do anything to keep our team in it,” said Cassidy of his back-to-back-to-back saves on the left corner to end the third. He made 10 stops in the win. “I didn’t want to go home not being able to play with my brothers again.”

At the 6:14 mark of the stanza, senior Andrew Lockhart put the Patriots ahead for the first time, 5-4, when he cut to the crease and received a backdoor pass from sophomore Dylan Pallonetti.

“We talked about it,” Pallonetti said of connecting with Lockhart. “We said we were going to watch each other on the crease, and back-doored them two times, and got them.”

Pallonetti also assisted on Lockhart’s game-tying behind-the-back goal at the 6:38 mark of the second quarter, to knot things up 3-3.

“I love playing with Dylan, he’s a great player and we have great chemistry,” Lockhart said. “He did all the work — gave me the ball where he knew I could shoot and score.”

Up to that point, Ward Melville had been playing catch up, with Pallonetti and senior Zach Hobbes (three goals) scoring the first two goals to tie the game at 2-2 to end the first quarter. Hobbes had another tying goal with 9:21 left in the first half, to make the score 4-all.

Ward Melville knew it was only a matter of time before a high-powered Massapequa offense would make another move. But Cassidy was up to the task.

“I always have the best shooters trying to score on me during warm-ups,” Cassidy said. “I felt good.”

He said the sideline chants and cheers motivated him to keep protecting the cage, along with the motivation to remain on the playoff ride for as long as possible. Lockhart said it was the saves that fueled a three-goal run from the 10-minute to six-minute mark of the fourth, with the game-winner coming off the first of those goals, from senior Liam Davenport with 9:41 left to play.

“Perry stood on his head like he’s been doing all season,” Lockhart said. “He kept us in the game, which got us pumped for our second-half run.”

He added that for him, being able to put on the practice pinnie on Monday was all the motivation he needed.

“All of us seniors have been talking about this moment since we were kids,” Lockhart said. “And we’re dictating the terms to our opponents.”

Ward Melville will prepare for the Class A state semifinals at the University at Albany June 7 at 4 p.m. But Cassidy said the team doesn’t need a run-through.

“We’re ready,” he said.

Ward Melville to face Smithtown East in Suffolk championship May 31

As the crowd and sideline erupted over a stretch of three minutes in the third quarter, it seemed like the Patriots couldn’t miss.

In fact, they didn’t, as the Ward Melville’s boys’ lacrosse team scored six times on six shots during that span, on the way to a 15-6 Class A semifinal win over Half Hollow Hills East May 25.

“We’ve been here before, and we were pumped up,” junior Zach Hobbes said. “We knew we had to come out fired up, because there was a chance we were going to go home.”

An early ouster from the playoffs seemed like a remote possibility coming into the game for two-loss Ward Melville, after Hills East gave the Patriots all they could handle in a triple overtime, 8-7 thriller during the regular season, but the second-half scoring spurt erased that possibility. Hobbes found the back of the net for the first of the six goals, which was his third of the game. Junior Matt Grillo scored twice to complete his hat trick, and junior Michael Giaquinto also scored twice, directly off faceoff wins.

“We played more unselfish,” Grillo said. “Last time we played them, we had a lot of individuals doing their stuff, and this time we looked for the open man, and it worked.”

The Patriots were riding a 6-2 halftime advantage into that 6-0 run. The last goal of the second quarter fired up Grillo and senior Eddie Munoz, inspiring the team to come out even quicker after the break.

Grillo intercepted a Hills East pass attempt by the goalkeeper, and with Kyle Bockelman outside of his posts, Grillo saw the opportunity at an empty-netter with Munoz at his side.

“I saw the rusty pass and I ran over to pick it off,” Grillo said. “Eddie’s always there to put it in, and I knew he was going to finish.”

Giaquinto, who split 10 faceoffs in the first half, won seven of eight in the third, and got lower on the draw to help him win 18 of 25 faceoffs overall in the game.

“I give Michael Giaquinto a lot of credit,” Hobbes said. “Those possessions were key.”

Munoz said his teammates have been hearing all season long how they’re the next resilient bunch to vie for the state championship, and he said he knew the next step toward getting back to where the Patriots were last year wasn’t too far out of reach.

“To be so close to another county championship — we needed to win,” he said. “Our drive is what got us here, and our confidence is through the roof, but you can’t be too cocky. We’re soaking it in, enjoying the moment, but once we get on that bus — get back to the school — we have work to do. It’s all about staying focused.”

Ward Melville will face Smithtown East May 31 at Stony Brook University at 3 p.m. with a chance for redemption. The Bulls halted the Patriots’ playoff push two years ago, with an 11-10 county final victory.

“We feel we have a standard to uphold at Ward Melville,” Hobbes said. “We need to get back to where we were last year, and take that title this time. We’re ready to play.”

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Eddie Munoz holds the team back before celebrating the Long Island championship win. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Two of Ward Melville’s multisport athletes are taking their lacrosse talents to the national stage.

Junior Eddie Munoz and freshman Dylan Pallonetti made the Under Armour All-America Long Island highlight and command teams, respectively, and are the only two Patriots to represent the school this week in the underclass tournament from June 30 to July 3 in Baltimore.

“It’s a big honor to be representing my school and my team,” Munoz said. “It’s going to be awesome. These are the kids we’re going to be playing in college. We’re all committed to these very good Division I schools, so it’s nice to be able to play them now and then again when we get to the collegiate level.”

Munoz, who committed to Stony Brook University, originally started out playing baseball. His father Eddie Munoz Jr. said his son started to progress athletically at a young age.

Eddie Munoz maintains possession of the ball as he makes his way downfield. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Eddie Munoz maintains possession of the ball as he makes his way downfield. File photo by Desirée Keegan

“He started walking at 10 months old,” said Munoz Jr., who played baseball and wrestled at Newfield, and was a two-time All-County football player. “By 3 years old, I was throwing a football from 10 yards away and he was catching it with his hands. By the time he was 5 years old, he was switch-hitting at a batting cage and hitting 65 miles-per-hour fastballs. I’d bring him up to the field and would hit fly balls into the outfield and he would naturally be able to catch them.”

But Munoz’s mother’s cousin, who played lacrosse at Salisbury University, told the athlete, who was is an All-League, All-County and All-Long Island football player, that he needed to try lacrosse. Once he did, the rest was history.

“We put a stick in his hand in third grade and he never put it down,” Munoz Jr. said.

Munoz, who also wrestled as a freshman and won the New York State wrestling championship for youth in fifth grade, said he tried a few clinics and didn’t like them, but also said that once he got older and started playing in games, he fell in love with the sport.

“I love the chemistry of the game,” he said. “The way everyone is with each other, the respect factor and the competitiveness, physicality — it never gets boring, there’s no sitting around — it’s constant in-and-out subbing. It’s up-tempo and that’s my kind of game.”

Although already committed, the national exposure will help but will work more in the favor of those like Pallonetti.

Dylan Pallonetti cuts to the outside in a previous Ward Melville boys' lacrosse game. File photo by Bill Landon
Dylan Pallonetti cuts to the outside in a previous Ward Melville boys’ lacrosse game. File photo by Bill Landon

“This is good for him for the future,” Dylan’s mother Michele Pallonetti said. “We’re thrilled and I feel he’s very lucky. He’s worked hard for it, he deserves it, he loves the sport and he’s really passionate about it. He’ll really represent New York.”

Dylan Pallonetti also grew up playing a sport other than lacrosse. Since he was a child, his uncle had him on roller skates in the driveway, and it got him really competitive. He plays ice hockey for Ward Melville’s junior varsity team, and also played basketball. He was the fifth leading scorer in his hockey league this season.

“He’s been playing with his brother and uncle in the driveway for years, the neighbors make a joke about it,” Michele Pallonetti said.

Her son began playing lacrosse in fourth grade on the town team, and by seventh grade, he moved to the Long Island Express club team. This past season, Pallonetti made the varsity team, and earned Rookie of the Year for Suffolk County, which all came as a surprise being that it was his first year on the team.

“We’re super proud of him and most proud that he’s a freshman out there and handles himself confidently and he’s very calm,” his mother said. “He fits in with the older boys. He’s a very low-key, he doesn’t get hyped up over anything, which I think helps him deal with those types of situations, and we love watching him play. It’s very exciting.”

Dylan Pallonetti said that he’s learned a lot and believes he’s excelled at a faster rate in the sport because of all he’s learned from the older players. Although Ward Melville is nationally known, being that the team has consistently ranked high in New York standings, and was just goals shy of another New York State title this past season, he’s also excited to represent the school and more importantly, show what he’s made of.

“The competition is going to be good, a lot of coaches are going to be there and I’m going to try to just play like I always play,” he said. “I just can’t wait to play the game.”