Led by Mike Rooney's five goals and four assists, the No. 17 Stony Brook men's lacrosse team advanced to the America East Conference championship game by defeating Vermont, 16-13, in the first semifinal Thursday in Albany.
The Seawolves (13-4) will face Albany (14-2) -- a 15-6 winner over Hartford in the second semifinal game -- in Saturday morning's championship game in Albany. Stony Brook lost to the visiting Great Danes, 17-15, during the regular season.
Rooney had three goals and three assists as the Seawolves outscored Vermont 11-4 in the second and third quarters. "For my game, we've been playing together for the past three years, so a lot of it is chemistry,'' he said. "I'm just trying to play hard and work on the fundamentals that coach [Jim] Nagle preaches every day. Whoever we play Saturday, we're going to play hard.''
Stony Brook's Challen Rogers had his seventh career hat trick and third this season, second against Vermont. Alex Corpolongo and Brody Eastwood recorded two goals each.
"I made a decision to go to the net a little more tonight,'' Rogers said. "I tried to draw more slides in order to create some open looks for the other guys. Some shots fell for me tonight.''
Ian MacKay scored four goals for Vermont (6-10). Cam Milligan had three goals and three assists.
"Happy to get the win,'' Nagle said. "I think Vermont improved more than anyone in the country since we last played them, so hats off to their coaching staff and players. Vermont has a couple of exceptional players and they're really good on the ground, so getting ground balls was a big focus for us this week in practice. I think it showed [Stony Brook had a 52-30 edge on ground balls]. I think that had to do with the face-off 'X.' ''
Frank Lucatuorto and Jay Lindsay contributed from the "X,'' as Lucatuorto was 11-for-18 with 10 ground balls and Lindsay was 10-for-15 with four ground balls.
"We've played 17 games this year,'' Nagle said, "so any time you play that many games, there's going to be ups and downs. The emotional side of things has kind of played our way recently.''
Lyle Thompson had five goals and four assists for Albany in the other semifinal. He has 43 goals and 58 assists this season.
Albany's Connor Fields, who had three goals and one assist against Hartford, has 52 goals and 17 assists. Seth Oakes, who had one goal Thursday, has 47 goals and seven assists.
In the regular-season game between Stony Brook and Albany, Rooney had five goals and four assists and Eastwood added four goals for the Seawolves. Fields and Oakes had four goals each and Thompson added two goals and 10 assists for the Great Danes. Stony Brook rallied to tie the score at 13-13 after falling behind 11-6, but Albany outscored the Seawolves 4-2 in the fourth quarter.
The Seawolves will make their seventh appearance in the conference championship game and are in search of their fourth title after winning in 2002, 2010 and 2012.