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Stony Brook Athletics

Chelsie DePonte (12) had a goal and an assist in the season opener at Hofstra.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The Stony Brook women’s soccer team returned to game action for the first time in 464 days on Feb. 21. Unfortunately for the Seawolves, they fell to No. 23 Hofstra, 4-3, in the Battle of Long Island.

Alyssa Francese and Chelsie DePonte each scored to give Stony Brook leads, but the Pride answered with three goals in a 9-minute, 25-second stretch of the second half to take a two-goal lead.

Francese had earned a spot on the initial MAC Hermann Trophy watch list last month. And she began to back up the hype on Sunday.

Francese, a graduate student from Yorktown Heights, scored in the 15th minute and the Seawolves grabbed an early 1-0 lead.

Francese’s 31st career goal moved her into a tie with Noreen Heiligenstadt (1985-88) for fourth on the program’s all-time goals list.

After a disputed equalizer before in the final minute before halftime, DePonte scored in the 50th minute to give Stony Brook a 2-1 lead. She had a goal and an assist.

On the opening goal, DePonte made a 20-yard run and dished down the middle to Francese, who finished with her left foot underneath the goalkeeper.

Mari Brenden scored on a penalty kick in the 81st minute to pull Stony Brook within 4-3. It marked Brenden’s first game action and goal since her freshman season in 2018.

The Seawolves were playing their first match since an NCAA Tournament appearance at Penn State on Nov. 15, 2019.

Stony Brook began the post-Sofia Manner era at goalkeeper as Emerson Richmond Burke made her collegiate debut.

Right back Rachael Peters made her first collegiate start, while Rutgers transfer Alicia D’Aoust made her Stony Brook debut and Kerry Pearson and Emma Beattie made their collegiate debuts.

The game marked second-year Stony Brook head coach Tobias Bischof‘s first return to Hofstra since switching sides in the Long Island rivalry. Bischof previously served as a Hofstra assistant for eight seasons.

The Seawolves return to action March 3 at UMass.

“We had a good performance against a very well-coached top-25 team,” Bischof said. “Butm in the end, we fell short. We are going to analyze our play and improve.”

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.

Mouhamadou Gueye (#2) produced a career-high scoring output last Sunday against UMBC.

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team is now in the midst of crunch time as it aims to maximize its seeding in the America East Tournament.

Unfortunately for the Seawolves, they dropped the first of four straight games against the conference’s top placeholders, falling to UMBC, 71-65, on Feb. 7 at Island Federal Arena.

Stony Brook (8-9, 6-5 AE) slipped two games in the loss column behind UMBC (12-4, 8-3) and Vermont (7-3, 7-3) for the conference’s leading positions. The top two finishers earn byes into the America East semifinals, while the third and fourth seeds will host opening-round pods in the 10-team tourney.

UMBC shot 46.7 percent from three-point range before intermission (7-for-15) and built a 16-point advantage early in the second half.

“I think the experience factor was enormous,” Stony Brook coach Geno Ford said. “They came out at the start of the game, understood the intensity level when you’re playing for first place, and we played like an inexperienced bunch of new guys, who would like to win, but aren’t necessarily playing hard enough early.”

Mouhamadou Gueye paced Stony Brook with 17 points and eight blocks — both career highs, and the latter figure one shy of matching Jameel Warney’s program record, set in 2015 against Princeton. The scoring total supplanted a 16-point performance against Binghamton on Jan. 22, 2020 for his career high. Gueye now has 120 career blocks, matching Greg Angrum (1980-84) for fifth on the program’s all-time list.

Juan Felix Rodriguez (17 points) and Tykei Greene (11) also scored in double-figures.

A pair of free throws from Gueye and a driving layup from Rodriguez pulled the Seawolves within 49-45 and prompted a timeout from UMBC with 12 minutes remaining in the game. 

When play resumed, Jordan McKenzie produced a steal and Greene converted a driving layup at the other end to continue Stony Brook’s 16-2 run.

LJ Owens stopped UMBC’s hemorrhaging with a three-point play and the Retrievers managed to hold off Stony Brook the rest of the way.

“I’ll give our guys a lot of credit,” Ford said. “In the first half, I thought we played on our heels. And at halftime we really challenged them hard about their effort and energy level. And in the second half I thought we were fantastic. We played well enough to win for 20 minutes, but they played well enough to win for 40.”

The Seawolves played without leading perimeter threat Frankie Policelli.

Policelli, who is averaging 11.3 points per game and a team-leading .348 shooting percentage from three-point range, had aggravated a nagging hip issue late in in last Sunday’s 63-49 win against Hartford.

Still, Ford noted the Seawolves shot 13-for-34 inside the paint on Sunday.

“That is, to me, what sputtered the offense,” Ford said. “They pack the paint so hard that they force you to shoot threes. We have two or three guys out there that they’re just blatantly not guarding. They’re just standing in the lane, off of them.” 

Stony Brook and UMBC met again on Feb. 8 but the Seawolves fell again 60-48. The team heads to Vermont next weekend for a critical two-game showdown against the second-place Catamounts.

Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

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.”

Asiah Dingle (16 points) was one of three Seawolves in double-figures in scoring on Sunday.

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team produced its largest victory in 14 months on  Jan. 24.

The Seawolves defeated America East newcomer NJIT, 73-41, at Island Federal Arena to sweep the back-to-back games.

The 32-point margin of victory was Stony Brook’s largest since a 43-point win at Hofstra on Nov. 13, 2019.

Stony Brook improved to 8-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play.

Tied at 18 early in the second quarter, the Seawolves erupted with a 15-0 run that included four field goals from Asiah Dingle.

In all, Stony Brook outscored NJIT 27-4 in the second quarter. It marked the program’s largest margin outscoring an opponent in a period since the NCAA switched to quarters for the 2015-16 season. It also marked the largest scoring quarter by the Seawolves since posting 35 points in the fourth quarter against St. Francis Brooklyn in the 2019-20 season opener.

“We really talked about refocusing going into the second quarter,” coach Caroline McCombs said. “We keyed in on our defensive principles, and with that we were able to convert rebounds and turnovers into points.”

Dingle, India Pagan and Leighah-Amori Wool all scored in double-figures.

Wool, a transfer from Western Michigan, produced her first double-double with Stony Brook. She had four last season with the Broncos.

The Seawolves, who originally had been scheduled to face Vermont next weekend, instead will head to Hartford as America East juggles schedules to accommodate COVID-related pauses.

Vermont on Sunday announced its women’s basketball team would cancel the remainder of its season at the request of its players. The Catamounts had played only six of their 12 scheduled conference games to date.

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!

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.