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Stony Brook falls to No. 13 Princeton, dropping five of last six

Stony Brook's Ryan Bitzer (9) carries the ball

Stony Brook's Ryan Bitzer (9) carries the ball in the first quarter during an NCAA Division I men's lacrosse game between Stony Brook and Princeton on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at Stony Brook University.

Losing four of five games entering Saturday, including two straight at home, the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team was desperate for a good showing. The team has suffered from slow starts, so with No. 13 Princeton coming to LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves knew they had to be ready to fight.

Fight they did. With four lead changes and seven ties, the Seawolves put on one of their better showings in a month, but ultimately fell, 13-11, in a non-conference game.

Neither team had a two-goal lead from the 6:20 mark in the second quarter until the Tigers took a 13-11 lead with 4:29 remaining. The stats backed up how tight a contest it was as Stony Brook fired 39 shots to Princeton’s 36 with each team winning 14 faceoffs.

“I thought we came out inspired and played hard but we’re just not ready to win that game,” coach Jim Nagle said. “We need to be more accountable to our roles. It was disappointing for sure.”

With the score tied at 11, Gavin McBride scored his fifth goal to give Princeton (7-3) a 12-11 lead with 6:55 left. Dawson McKenzie added the final goal less than three minutes later.

The Seawolves’ Ryan Bitzer, who extended his point streak to 30 games, finishing with two goals and two assists, including a goal with 0.8 seconds left in the first half for a 7-6 lead. Tom Haun scored three goals for Stony Brook (5-5) and Alex Corpolongo added two. He now has scored a goal in 28 consecutive games, the second-best streak in the nation.

With the score tied at 9 entering the fourth quarter, the Tigers’ Zach Currier scored his third goal with 13:55 remaining. Bitzer helped even the score by finding Haun, who tied it at 10 less than two minutes later.

The Seawolves had six different goal scorers in the first half and a strong defensive performance limited Princeton’s chances. Goalie Michael Bollinger had five saves and Stony Brook’s defense recorded eight turnovers.

Neither team could gain a significant advantage in the third quarter, trading goals throughout. The Tigers’ tied the score at 7 on a goal by Riley Thompson 1:19 into the period. The Seawolves retook the lead on Derek Lloyd’s goal but Princeton’s Zach Currier scored 18 seconds later for the fourth tie of the game.

Corpolongo added his second goal and team-leading 23rd to give Stony Brook a 9-8 lead with 3:22 left in the third but the Tigers’ Gavin McBride scored the final goal of the quarter with 11 seconds remaining.

“It was a great game but we got to start putting some of these in the ‘W’ column,” Nagle said. “We got a team that is competitive right now but not accountable enough to get to the next level so that will be the challenge the next three weeks.”

Stony Brook has challenged itself to a tough schedule all season with Saturday being its fifth game against a ranked opponent. The loss drops the Seawolves to 1-4 in those games.

New York Sports