Two straight conference losses have put the Stony Brook men's lacrosse team in a precarious situation. The Seawolves, who will host the America East Tournament in early May, are not guaranteed a berth in the four-team field, with the winner earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
After being upset by Binghamton in overtime a week ago, Stony Brook lost to UMBC, 13-12, Saturday as Pat Young scored the winning goal with 2:39 left on a pass from Shoreham-Wading River's Joe Lustgarten.
UMBC is 5-6, 2-1 and Stony Brook dropped to 6-6, 1-2. Stony Brook has two conference games remaining, Saturday at Hartford and the following week at home against nationally ranked Albany.
Numerous scenarios remain for the playoffs, but what is clear is that Stony Brook has to win one of the two conference games and hope the math works in its favor. "Disappointing, clearly,'' coach Jim Nagle said. "The guys had a good week of practice; we just didn't come up with the results. We're still in the playoff hunt and that's what I told our guys. We've got two games left in the season and I think we've got a great shot of making the playoffs.''
Stony Brook's best sequence came in the waning minutes of the second quarter when it took a 7-4 lead on goals by Brody Eastwood, Jeff Tundo and freshman Jake Sichenzia, each of whom scored three times. But Stony Brook couldn't pad its lead. "We pressed a little bit on the offensive end,'' Nagle said. Two quick goals by UMBC and the lead dwindled to 7-6 at halftime.
UMBC scored the first two goals of the second half to go ahead 8-7, but Mike Rooney tied it at 8. Sichenzia's third goal gave Stony Brook a 12-11 lead with 5:04 to play but UMBC scored the final two goals.
Plenty of work lies ahead for the defending conference champion. "That's the ultimate goal, to get to the America East championship,'' said Tundo, whose five points increased his team-leading total to 51.
Stony Brook has a non-conference game at Yale Monday. "Two one-goal losses, maybe we need a big win like that to send us back on track,'' Tundo said. "I think we can get there. You've got to work hard in practice. It's as simple as that.''