PISCATAWAY, N.J. — In a matchup involving two of only five undefeated men’s lacrosse teams remaining in the top 15 of the NCAA Division I rankings, Stony Brook couldn’t produce much offense Friday night.
Seventh-ranked Rutgers dominated possession early, scoring five goals before the midway point of the first quarter and winning 11 of the first 12 faceoffs, and defeated No. 14 Stony Brook, 17-4, at Rutgers’ High Point Solutions Stadium in non-conference action.
“Faceoffs were key,” Stony Brook coach Jim Nagle said. “They really were. We didn’t get very many faceoffs early on and we weren’t defending. It’s a bad combination, but it’s certainly areas we can improve on.”
Stony Brook entered the game with a 4-0 record, its best start in program history. But Rutgers, which entered on an 11-game home winning streak, including five wins over ranked opponents, looked unfazed by the Seawolves’ early-season success.
“Sometimes you win a bunch of games and even though you work hard, maybe you’re thinking you don’t really need to improve,” Nagle said. “So this is a wake-up call for us that we still have a lot of work to do.”
Rutgers (6-0) outshot Stony Brook 39-21, with 10 of Stony Brook’s shots coming in the fourth quarter. Kieran Mullins (Islip) had three goals and three assists for Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense continuously made it difficult for Stony Brook to get off quality shots. “They were a good unit,” Nagle said. “They played together and I felt we got rattled a little bit because we weren’t getting possessions and started pressing, and it kind of fed into what they were doing.”
Ryan Bitzer (Riverhead) led Stony Brook with two goals. He said even in the loss, the opportunity to play tough non-conference opponents such as Rutgers can help in the future. “It’s always good experience, especially when you have a younger team, so it’s good getting out here and playing in this stadium,” the senior said. “It’s funny, we got beat up, but definitely a good learning experience and we’re just going to get back to work and get ready for Tuesday.”
Wayne White (Glenn) added a goal and an assist for Stony Brook and Alex Corpolongo scored his 11th goal of the season. Stony Brook’s Brandon Maciejewski had 12 saves while facing constant pressure.
The Seawolves return home next week with a Tuesday night matchup with Lehigh at 7 before beginning America East Conference play at home against University of Maryland-Baltimore County at 1 p.m. next Saturday. They’ll hope to correct some of the miscues then.
“Just learn from our mistakes,” Bitzer said. “It’s early lacrosse. We’re a young team. Even though we got off to a hot start, there’s lots of room for improvement.”