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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

Earlette Scott prepares to drive during Sunday's game against Maine. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team honored McKenzie BusheeJonae CoxVictoria JohnsonIndia Pagan and Hailey Zeise in a pregame Senior Day ceremony on Feb. 14. The Seawolves then surged to as much as a 16-point lead before halftime against Maine with first place at stake.

Ultimately, Maine rallied for a 54-49 victory at Island Federal Arena to split the weekend showdown.

The teams could very well meet again as the top two seeds in the America East Tournament, with a ticket to the NCAA Tournament on the line.

Employing a full-court press, Maine took its first lead, 43-41, with an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter that included three steals in a 38-second span. The lead eventually swelled to six points late.

Zeise’s three-pointer with 61 seconds remaining pulled Stony Brook within 52-49, but a late possession with a bid to tie went awry.

Pagan and Asiah Dingle scored in double-figures. Dingle also contributed five assists.

Maine improved to 12-2 in America East, while Stony Brook sits comfortably ahead of the rest of the field in second place at 9-3.

“I’m definitely disappointed with the outcome today,” coach Caroline McCombs said. “I thought we were playing some really good basketball early and then allowed Maine to get back in the game by capitalizing on our mistakes. We have to learn from it and move forward, which is what we will focus on.”

The team returns to action when they host UAlbany on Feb. 22 and 23, both at 2 p.m.

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.

Tyler Stephenson-Moore sends through a dunk the first half of Sunday’s win against Hartford.

Frankie Policelli and the Stony Brook men’s basketball team awakened from a shooting funk at an opportune time.

Policelli drained a pair of three-pointers less than two minutes apart early in the second half to open a double-digit advantage and the Seawolves went on to a 63-49 win against Hartford on Jan. 31 at Island Federal Arena.

The teams split the weekend series.

Stony Brook (8-8, 6-4 AE) overcame early shooting woes and foul issues to take a four-point halftime lead. And when Policelli drained a three-pointer with 15:24 remaining in the second half, the Seawolves opened a 41-29 advantage. 

Another three-pointer from Policelli two minutes later upped the Seawolves’ lead to 14 points.

After Hartford clawed within 46-40 midway through the second half, Juan Felix Rodriguez answered with a three-pointer and Omar Habwe converted a jumper to reopen a double-digit advantage.

“I thought we defended at a high level, and we got separation in the second half because we made threes,” coach Geno Ford said. “We finally made some shots. It makes the offense look a whole lot better.”

The Seawolves had shot 17.1 percent (12-for-70) from three-point range over their previous three games, including 8-for-31 in a 59-57 loss to Hartford on Jan. 30.

Policelli, who reaggravated a recurring hip issue during the second half, finished with a team-high 16 points. He shot 4-for-5 from behind the arc on Sunday.

Leighton Elliott-Sewell added a career-high 13 points. He had accounted for only four points in Stony Brook’s six games since Dec. 28 entering Sunday.

“I was just getting the ball in spots where I could score,” Elliott-Sewell said.

Tavin Pierre Philippe logged a season-high 20 minutes.

“I thought our bench was great in the first half when we needed it,” Ford said. “I thought our starters looked a little lethargic. We were able to get some real lift off that bench.”

The Seawolves had dropped four straight meetings with Hartford, including last year’s America East semifinal.

“It really was a big motivation for the team,” said Mouhamadou Gueye, who finished with nine points and five rebounds. Stony Brook hosts UMBC for a pair of games next weekend.

“Here comes the best team in the league in my opinion,” Ford said, citing UMBC’s speed, athleticism and size.

India Pagan shot 66.7 percent from the field and led the Seawolves in scoring both weekend games.

WEST HARTFORD, CT. — The Stony Brook women’s basketball team produced a sweeping success on Saturday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Jan. 31. The Seawolves swept back-to-back games against host Hartford with a 62-49 win on Sunday.

India Pagan continued a big scoring weekend. She backed up an 18-point performance on Saturday with 19 points on Sunday. She combined to shoot 16-for-24 on the weekend. 

The Seawolves improved to 10-4 overall and 8-2 in America East and ran their winning streak to a season-high five straight games.

Stony Brook stands in second place, a game behind Maine.

Nairimar Vargas-Reyes grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to open a six-point lead in the second quarter. Asiah Dingle then produced a steal, which ultimately resulted in a layup from Pagan and 21-13 advantage. The Seawolves opened their first double-digit lead on a pair of free throws from Hailey Zeise with 3:42 remaining until halftime. Dingle contributed 12 points, four rebounds, six assists, five steals and a block.

“Back-to-back games on the road are definitely challenging,” coach Caroline McCombs said. “I was proud of our ability to lock in defensively when we were struggling to make jump shots. India really stepped up for us this weekend, and it was good to see her in that flow.”

SBU Coach Chuck Priore on right. Photo by Jim Harrison/Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook football team is set to play an untraditional season this spring. And head coach Chuck Priore is bullish on the Seawolves’ potential during a six-game CAA schedule that begins in March.
 
“Overall, as a team, I’m excited,” Priore said on a kickoff CAA Football conference call on Wednesday.

The Seawolves, who begin official practices Feb. 5, return a dozen starters from a 2019 squad that produced its signature win against fifth-ranked Villanova.

That includes quarterback Tyquell Fields, running back Ty Son Lawton, center Anthony Catapano and right guard Kyle Nunez on the offensive side.

Fields engineered three game-winning or game-tying fourth-quarter drives last season en route to one of the best seasons from a quarterback in school history. He recorded a program single-season-record 2,809 yards of total offense. His 2,471 passing yards ranked second most, trailing only T.J. Moriarty (2,495 in 2004). Fields also tossed 16 touchdowns and rushed for four more. He accumulated 338 rushing yards.

“The interesting thing was he had the opportunity all spring and summer to study himself. He got drill work when he was home from our quarterback coach to do,” Priore said. “The biggest thing ended up becoming his accuracy — and his improvement in that [area of the] game. His play-action game was lights out for us, his ability to throw the ball up the field, yards per reception. But he needed to become more accurate. And I think those are the things we worked on. We saw great improvement.

“He’s been part of the team now as a starter. He’s captain. And he knows he has the fall [2021 season too], which he is coming back for us. It’s a win for all of us.”

Lawton earned Freshman All-American honors from Phil Steele in 2019 after tallying 648 yards and seven touchdowns on 152 carries.

Nunez already has been tabbed a second-team Preseason All-American from HERO Sports and Stats Perform as well as first-team Preseason All-CAA Football by Phil Steele.

Catapano has been selected a co-captain after seeing action in all 12 games and making nine starts in 2019.

On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Casey WilliamsSam Kamara and Brandon Lopez all are returning starters as well as linebacker Reidgee Dimanche and defensive backs Augie ContressaJustin Burns and TJ Morrison.

Morrison actually is moving to free safety to anchor the defense because Priore felt the squad had great depth at the corner position.

On special teams, Aussie punter Mitchell Wright returns as the first-stringer.
 
Kamara was granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering a season-ending injury five games into the 2019 schedule.

“We think he’s a next-level guy,” Priore said.

Kamara, Burns and Dimanche have been tabbed second-team Preseason All-CAA Football by Phil Steele.Contressa is first-team Preseason All-CAA Football by that same publication.

“Defensively we have six linebackers — two by transfer, two by freshmen getting older and two who were in the program last year,” Priore said. “We’re really excited about that position.”

The Seawolves also will be bolstered by tight end Tyler Devera (Maryland transfer) and wide receivers Hunter Hayek (Rutgers) and Malik Love (New Hampshire).

The season consists of six conference games, with the CAA split into North and South divisions.

“This has been a team that has attacked it with a passion for success,” Priore said. “I think it built great team morale when we got back here in the fall after being apart.”

Mouhamadou Gueye drives during the first half of Sunday’s game against UNH. Photo by Andrew Theodorakis

Coach Geno Ford gathered the Stony Brook men’s basketball team by the home bench after last Sunday’s loss and told his players that he was proud of their effort and toughness. “The results are not what we signed up for,” Ford added to his team. “And we have to stick together.”

Unfortunately, Stony Brook suffered a heartbreaker Sunday afternoon. The Seawolves were edged by New Hampshire, 67-64, at Island Federal Arena. UNH swept the back-to-back games after Stony Brook returned from a 20-day COVID pause. The Seawolves had entered that pause on a five-game winning streak.

With the team’s deadlocked at 62, Nick Johnson’s layup for UNH with 93 seconds remaining provided a two-point lead for the Wildcats. Tykei Greene and Mouhamadou Gueye then were whistled for offensive fouls the next two trips down the floor for Stony Brook (6-6, 4-2 AE). Still, after a shot-clock violation by the Wildcats, spurred in part by a block from Gueye, the Seawolves had another opportunity in a one-possession game.

Juan Felix Rodriguez then was fouled while driving with 14.2 seconds remaining and the Seawolves trailing 64-62.

Rodriguez missed both free throws. And New Hampshire converted a pair of free throws at the other end for a four-point lead. A potential game-tying three-pointer shortly before the buzzer from Rodriguez also came up short.

“It’s a frustrating loss,” Ford said. “I thought the guys really battled. I thought we physically tried hard. We missed a bunch of free throws in the last six or seven minutes that we had been making most of the game. And I think losing some possessions in there really hurt. And give them credit. They hit a couple of real timely threes.”

Frankie Policelli’s driving layup with 3:18 remaining had staked Stony Brook to a 61-59 lead. However, Qon Murphy answered with a three-pointer for UNH shortly thereafter to give the Wildcats a one-point advantage. Greene then sank one of two free throws with 1:53 remaining to even the score at 62.

Four Seawolves scored in double-figures: Greene (14 points), Policelli (13), Gueye (10) and Jaden Sayles (10).

Gueye also had five blocks, giving him 101 for his career. He became the second-fastest in program history to the 100-block plateau at 45 games. Only Jeff Otchere was quicker (44). “I don’t set out to get those accolades,” Gueye said. “It kind of just happens. I know shot blocking is a big part of my game.” 

Sayles returned to action after missing Saturday’s game, but was limited to 13 minutes as he eased back into play. Omar Habwe, however, missed Sunday’s contest after being deemed unavailable shortly before tip-off. The Seawolves return to action next weekend with a pair of games at conference newcomer NJIT.

The women’s basketball team celebrates one of its many wins in 2020. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Few will shed any tears about turning the page on 2020. Yet, despite the absence of sports for more than eight months, Stony Brook Athletics had reasons to celebrate during the calendar year.

Among the highlights …

BANNER YEAR: The women’s basketball team produced a 22-game winning streak, 28-3 overall record, and its first America East regular-season and postseason titles — despite the conference tournament being called off entering the finals.

ORANGE SLICE: The women’s lacrosse team sent notice of its national title aspirations by beating fourth-ranked Syracuse, 17-16, in the Carrier Dome in the season opener. Ally Kennedy, who had four goals and three assists in that victory, now returns for a second senior season. She recently was named US Lacrosse Magazine’s national Preseason Player of the Year for the upcoming 2021 campaign.

OVER-ZEALOUS: Coach Anthony Gilardi’s first season at the helm of the men’s lacrosse team included three overtime winners from Caleb Pearson en route to a 5-2 record. Harrison Matsuoka was rewarded for the team and his individual success by becoming a first-round pick of his hometown Calgary Roughnecks.

PERFECT ENDING: Right-hander Dawn Bodrug tossed a perfect game against Cornell in Madeira Beach, Fla. — the softball program’s first since 2012, and only the fourth in the program’s Division I era.

ON TRACK: The track and field teams captured three individual titles on the final day of the America East Indoor Championships. Vann Moffett earned gold in the 3000 meters with a time of 8:12.69. Luke Coulter’s time of 2:24.56 in the 1000m gave him a first-place finish. And Amanda Stead’s career-best run in the 200m crowned her a conference champion.

FLYING COLORS: Swimmer Michal Liberman clocked in with a blazing time of 54.24 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly, lowering her own school record while claiming the America East title. The win marked the first individual title for Stony Brook since Renee Deschenes won the 100 backstroke in 2011.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT: When baseball alum Travis Jankowski made his first appearance for the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day, it marked the 20th season a Stony Brook product appeared in a Major League Baseball game.

HIGHLIGHT PERFORMANCES: Mouhamadou Gueye already appears in the top 10 in blocks in men’s basketball program history. Gueye also set the pace for Stony Brook appearances on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays over the past year (if you allow us to dip a few days into December 2019).  After being featured twice in the same countdown for highlight-reel plays against Virginia just before New Year’s a year ago, he earned another spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 for a thunderous dunk at Vermont on Jan. 8.

PLAY BALL: Sports are back! When the women’s basketball team stepped onto the court on Nov. 25 to face Fordham, it marked the first Stony Brook intercollegiate sporting event since the Seawolves baseball team defeated Merrimack all the way back on March 11 — a gap of 259 days without action.

Here’s to a much more active 2021!

Ally Kennedy

The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team has national-title aspirations in 2021.

Standout midfielder Ally Kennedy has the loftiest of expectations being placed on her as well. US Lacrosse Magazine on Dec. 28 named Kennedy its Preseason Player of the Year. It marked the first time in program history that a Stony Brook student-athlete received that honor.

Kennedy last week was named Preseason Midfielder of the Year as well as a Preseason All-American by the publication.

“I’m really excited for Ally,” coach Joe Spallina said. “I have watched her grow and put her heart and soul into being the best she could be, and it is incredible to see her be acknowledged. She plays with an unmatched intensity and passion. And while she scores a lot of goals, she does it all for us — draw controls, assists, ground balls and, most importantly to me, as one of the best captains this program has ever had.”

Kennedy ranks second in program history in draw controls (242), fourth in goals (193), fifth in points (248), fifth in ground balls (133) and 10th in assists (55) as she enters her second senior season.

She tallied 15 draw controls against Princeton last March 8, one shy of matching the program record set by former teammate Keri McCarthy in 2018. Kennedy registered seven points in that game, as well as in a season-opening win against Syracuse last season. 

She notched 22 goals, five assists, 47 draw controls, eight ground balls and three caused turnovers during the abbreviated five-game season.

A North Babylon native, Kennedy was an IWLCA first-team All-American as a junior in 2019. Inside Lacrosse recently had ranked Kennedy as the No. 3 player in college lacrosse today — man or woman.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition, and is more motivation for this upcoming season,” Kennedy said. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to finally get back out on the field with the team and show everyone what we are capable of,” she added.

Stony Brook University baseball player Nick Grande slides into third. Photo from SBU Athletics

Stony Brook Athletics launched its latest fundraising campaign asking people to “Believe in the Seawolves” as the university sports program faces an uncertain future.

SBU Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron accepts the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup from America East Commisioner Amy Huchthausen. Photo from SBU

On Thursday, Oct. 8, the university’s Giving Day, Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron held a virtual town hall through Facebook Live to answer questions surrounding the status of Stony Brook Athletics for this school year and for the future. 

“Let’s have the Stony Brook Athletics story of 2020-2021 be the greatest story in our history,” Heilbron said during the town hall. “I think we’re going to do that.”

One of the major concerns, he said, was the financial standing of the university since revenue dropped throughout the COVID-19 crisis, calling it a “dramatic financial impact.”

He mentioned that the program lost nearly $700,000 from basketball, alone, and when the school closed in March, students were reimbursed their student fees which neared a $2 million loss. 

“Ticket sales, donations, corporate partnerships … you could imagine the impact there,” he said. “The trickle down comes from the state to the school to us, and many universities across the country are dealing with it.”

He said it was close to $5 million in revenues lost. 

“We’ve made some tough decisions, many staff positions are being left unfilled,” he said. “We’re very concerned about our future … schools across the country are cutting sports, these are difficult decisions that are hard to come back.”

The new fundraising campaign coined “Believe In the Seawolves” comes from asking people to do just that. “Believe in our value and commitment to this university,” Heilbron said. “If we can get people to get behind that we can come out of this stronger … It’s more than a campaign, I want it to be a movement.”

But just because COVID-19 guidelines aren’t allowing sports to be played as of right now, Heilbron they are not cancelled, just postponed. He added that fall sports were moved to the spring, which will make for a very active season. 

“It’s going to be quite an active period for us,” he said. “We’re just starting to look at what those schedules will look like and will be announced very soon.”

He said that utilizing this time now will be a springboard for next fall, and are keeping safe in doing so.

The athletes who are participating in practices now, like basketball, have a regimented screening process before hitting the court. 

“Student athletes come through one entrance, have their temperature checked and then they get a wrist band,” Heilbron said. “They can’t come in if they don’t have the wristband.”

Although it is an uncertain time for the student athletes who worked to play at Stony Brook University, Heilbron said the first day of fall semester was a good one. 

“It literally was an energetic lift in our department that they needed,” he said. “It was good to have the family back together.”

The university announced after Thursday’s Giving Day campaign, more than 240 donors combined to contribute gifts exceeding $200,000 to go towards athletics. The campaign will continue to fundraise throughout the remainder of the year.