The stands were packed Friday night for Stony Brook's men's lacrosse opener. With snow. Plus, there were about 400 rugged spectators occupying those LaValle Stadium seats that had been shoveled out.
On the field, it was far closer to springtime in Stony Brook's 13-12 loss to Marist. Enough antifreeze was coursing through the players -- good, old-fashioned competitive adrenaline -- that the Red Foxes' victory wasn't preserved until Marist junior goalie Dave Scarcello, who replaced East Quogue freshman Brian Corrigan at halftime and finished with eight saves, smothered a 15-yard bullet by Stony Brook's Challen Rogers at his shoetops as time ran out.
Down 13-10 after three periods, Stony Brook ended a scoring drought of 11 minutes, 54 seconds for both teams -- Scarcello twice had robbed Stony Brook in the final seven minutes with nifty saves -- with Smithtown sophomore Matt Schultz's dodging, unassisted score with 3:06 to go.
Rogers then hit the post with 1:20 to play before Canadian sophomore Brody Eastwood converted a doorstep assist from Rogers to pull Stony Brook within a goal. But Scarcello stoned Riverhead freshman Ryan Bitzer with 10 seconds left and denied Rogers at the horn.
The faceoff proficiency of Kyle Rowe, a freshman from Madison, Va., gave Stony Brook dramatic improvement at that position. He won 17 of 23, compared to Stony Brook's 40 percent or below rate the previous two seasons.
Said Stony Brook coach Jim Nagle: "I thought we didn't play really good defense, but offensively, we were fine."
Eastwood, who led Stony Brook with 44 goals last season, scored four times, paying no special attention to Marist's goalie change halfway through.
"When I get the ball, I'm just doing what we do in practice," Eastwood said. "We shoot in the cage I don't know how many times. You just do it. Whoever's in the net, it doesn't matter to me."
Schultz, East Islip junior Mike Rooney and Oceanside sophomore Chris Hughes each had two goals for Stony Brook. Rogers and Elmont senior Matt Balzano had one apiece. Sophomore goalie Patrick Fleming of Sayville contributed 10 saves.
Marist's Colin Joka, a junior from Conshohocken, Pa., led all scorers with seven goals, including his team's last two scores in the final 3:25 of the third period.