The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team has had the wind at its back for most of this season, piling up victories and remaining in the national rankings. Sunday’s competition from the weather and a resilient America East opponent in Vermont did not deter the Seawolves from the task at hand.
No. 12 Stony Brook (8-2, 2-1) secured a 13-10 victory on an April day more reminiscent of January. Strong winds created wind-chills in the teens. Fans wore heavy coats, scarves and hats. The players had nothing but their uniforms.
“Obviously, you’re waking up to the wind howling,’’ said Stony Brook midfielder Alex Corpolongo, who scored four goals. “I think we’re just ready to go. It’s game day.’’
Attack Matt Schultz, who also scored four goals, added: “I don’t really want to use [the wind] as an excuse. It’s tougher to hear calls, I guess. It’s still playing lacrosse, and I don’t think it has anything to do with your skill or throwing the ball or moving the ball around. Maybe just communication-wise, it’s a little tougher.’’
Stony Brook is 17-0 all-time against Vermont. The Catamounts fell to 5-6 overall and 1-1 in the conference, but they had lost four of their previous games by two or fewer goals.
“We’re excited to get the league win against the team that was second place in the standings,’’ coach Jim Nagle said. “Every league win is a big win for us . . . We’re so happy to get the win. On a windy day where we didn’t clear the ball well, we still came up with the W.’’
Stony Brook led 5-4 at the half, then had a 9-5 lead dwindle to 9-8 when Dawes Milchling scored with 12:02 left in the final quarter. Stony Brook knew Vermont was not going to fold.
“Any league game, you can’t go in thinking just because their record isn’t as good, we can’t rely on their record and say, ‘Oh, this team’s not that good,’ ’’ Schultz said. “There’s parity all over college lacrosse now. Everyone’s beating everyone. So if you don’t show up, you’re going to lose.’’
Ryan Bitzer’s second goal made it 10-8 and was the first of four straight by the Seawolves. Schultz scored two more and Corpolongo’s final goal, and 27th on the season, gave Stony Brook a 13-8 advantage with 6:26 left.
Stony Brook’s losses have come against two other nationally ranked teams, No. 3 Brown and No. 9 Albany. The Seawolves could face Albany in the conference tournament for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. A strong overall record could yield an at-large bid.
“All of our goals are still in front of us,’’ Schultz said. “The America East is still there. We’re just trying to win the America East and get into the tournament.’’
Notes & quotes: Brody Eastwood scored one goal and is 11 away from breaking Jordan McBride’s program record of 175 . . . Challen Rogers had a goal and three assists.