Long Island players contributed mightily to top-ranked Maryland's 11-8 men's lacrosse victory over Stony Brook on Saturday.
Senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk scored four times and another St. Anthony's grad, junior faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa, secured possession three straight times to cool Stony Brook's frantic fourth-period rally.
As Maryland (5-0) mounted a six-goal lead halftime lead, freshman attack Tim Rotanz (Shoreham-Wading River) picked up two goals within 17 seconds. Joe LoCasio (St. Anthony's) and Michael Ehrhardt (Chaminade) each finished with an assist.
"I know this game meant a lot to those guys," Maryland coach John Tillman said of his Long Island players. "It was great to get them back up here to their home."
Raffa called it "great fun. I haven't played on Long Island in a real game since at St. Anthony's, back at Hofstra, so it was awesome to come back."
Of course, there were plenty of friends and family in the crowd of 2,964. But, of course, Stony Brook (2-3) also had plenty of Long Island lacrosse blood, and demonstrated itself capable of stirring up a real challenge.
Maryland was cruising with a 9-3 lead and got four nifty saves from senior goalie Nick Amato in the third period before Stony Brook senior Challen Rogers finally slashed to the net and scored with 13:45 left to make it 9-4.
Not two minutes later, sophomore Matt Schultz (Smithtown West) whipped an over-the-shoulder bullet past Amato from five yards out. Maryland's lead was down to 9-5. Another minute-plus and Schultz fed a lovely pass from behind the goal that was converted by charging senior Cody Vassallo (Sewanhaka). Now it was 9-6.
And after sophomore Frank Lucatuorto (Ward Melville) caused a Maryland turnover, Schultz scored again, assisted by sophomore Chris Hughes (Oceanside). That made it 9-7 with 8:24 left.
"It was fun to come back and compete with a top team," Schultz said. "Momentum shifted once we started sharing the ball, and once you see that ball in the back of the net, your confidence goes up."
Alas, Raffa -- who had been given a rest through most of the third period while Stony Brook's Kyle Rowe began to control the faceoffs -- returned to ensure more Maryland possession, and the visitors quickly scored twice, including Chanenchuk's fourth goal.
"We knew Stony Brook would make a run," Chanenchuk said. "So when they got a few goals in the fourth, I just looked at the guys and said, 'Just settle down. Just get back to basics. No need to panic.' ''
For Stony Brook, stocked with so many young players, the comeback "helps us believe," coach Jim Nagle said. "But I don't know if you can hang your hat on a loss. The future is bright. But we want the future to be now."
On Long Island.