Stony Brook men's lacrosse coach Jim Nagle believes the season really will begin when the America East Conference slate opens Saturday at Vermont.
With a roster loaded with underclassmen, Nagle treated the nonconference schedule as a learning experience. And the young Seawolves were handed a lesson in a 10-9 loss to Bryant Saturday at LaValle Stadium.
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"We treat this as the preseason and we're 0-0,'' Nagle said. "For a young team, we have had a lot of composure throughout the year, but today we did not. I didn't think we really stayed together.''
The game was tight throughout and Stony Brook (5-4) had a chance to tie it late. Bryant turned the ball over on a 30-second shot-clock violation, setting up Jeff Tundo's wide shot with 43 seconds remaining.
Bryant's Rob Goeren was flagged for slashing on the play, giving Stony Brook a man advantage for the final 42 seconds. After a Bryant timeout, the Seawolves worked the ball around until Mike Andreassi fired a shot that missed high with five seconds left. Stony Brook, which was 0-for-5 with a man advantage, was unable to get off another shot as time expired.
"[Bryant] did a nice job with their man-down unit kind of throwing some junk at us,'' Nagle said. "We got out of rhythm so we were just trying to stay out of our guys' way and move the ball. I felt like we did what we needed to do; we just didn't pull the trigger.''
Shane Morrell had three goals and three assists for Bryant (1-7), which had lost twice in overtime and four times by two goals.
"It's an unbelievable Bryant team,'' Stony Brook goalie Pat McGushin said. "Obviously, they've had a tough schedule. I think they just came out a lot hungrier than we did.''
McGushin had 13 saves in his second straight start in place of Dan Shaughnessy, who should be ready to return from a knee infection this coming weekend. Nagle said he hasn't yet decided on the starter against Vermont.
"Last week was definitely tough, but I just had to keep my head up,'' McGushin said of a 12-10 win over Sacred Heart. "Especially at the goalie position, it's all mental. I feel a lot more confident after this game.''
Brody Eastwood scored four goals and Tundo added three goals and two assists to lead Stony Brook. Eastwood scored all of his goals in the first half.
"Our midfielders just did not shoot the ball very well today,'' Nagle said. "I think they were packing it in, so the ones that Brody got early were a little surprising because they were giving us 8-, 10-yard shots from the center of the cage and we were hitting the goalie in the chest.''
SBU missed faceoff specialist Frank Lucatuorto, who suffered a broken sternum against Sacred Heart and isn't expected to return until the end of the season. Bryant's Kevin Massa held a 19-3 faceoff edge. "I thought their faceoff guy was really good and we're kind of working through some stuff there, so that was hard,'' Nagle said. "He's a very good player, so I thought he had a lot to do with their success.''