Brody Eastwood tied Stony Brook's men's lacrosse freshman record with 44 goals last season. Not bad for an attackman from British Columbia who admittedly wasn't in the best shape for U.S.-style lacrosse. Imagine what he might accomplish now that he has undergone the conditioning employed by most college programs.
Eastwood grew up playing box lacrosse, an indoor game played in smaller confines than the football field-size sport in this country.
"Back home, they don't really emphasize conditioning too much,'' Eastwood said. "We do sprints but never really any conditioning; we just play. I only played offense in box, then you come right off [similar to a line change in ice hockey]. I had to get used to a bigger field.''
He first became eligible to join the team last spring. "Kind of getting thrown into the mix, I was pretty out of shape,'' he said. "I worked hard this fall to keep my fitness up. Coach [Jim] Nagle keeps us pretty fit going on two-mile runs regularly.''
Nagle said: "That was an adjustment for him last year, just trying to get into better fitness. But he's done that. He's a lot more fit.''
Eastwood is at the forefront of an offense that Nagle expects will have several options. "It's nice to have a guy on the interior of your offense that teams got to worry about,'' he said.
"I think he's poised to have a better and more impactful year, but sometimes people may say, 'We can't leave this kid.' He may make openings for his teammates just by his dangerous nature.''
If opponents concentrate on trying to hold down Eastwood, that might give more opportunities to attackers Paul Bentz, Jeff Reh, Matt Schultz and Jake Sichenzia. East Islip's Mike Rooney, coming off consecutive seasons of at least 40 points, is poised for a big junior year. The midfield is solid with Challen Rogers, Chris Hughes, Mike Andreassi, Patrick Wood and Matt Balzano.
The defensive midfield is led by Lucas Rock, who had 20 ground balls and seven caused turnovers, and Cody Vassallo. George Benitez, Bryan Judge and Dylan Curry are close defensemen. The Seawolves have two reliable goalies, incumbent Dan Shaughnessy and NYIT transfer Patrick Fleming.
Stony Brook had issues on faceoffs last season, and Nagle thinks they have been addressed by adding freshmen Jay Lindsay and Kyle Rowe. "They haven't been battle-tested yet,'' Nagle said, "but they're certainly more technical and more skilled.''
Nagle moved Frank Lucatuorto, a good faceoff option who was injured at midseason last year, to long-stick midfielder to take advantage of the Ward Melville product's athleticism. Dominic Cerasi and Alex Harris will back him up.
Although Stony Brook appears to be vastly improved from last year's 7-9 team, the path to the conference title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament likely will require a victory over nationally ranked Albany.
"I think Albany is a front-runner with what they have returning,'' Nagle said. "I think we'll be a team poised to improve more than we have been, with less holes, more depth. We were competitive in the conference tournament last year. We're hoping we'll be there again.''