Bryant was hanging with – even besting – the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team early in Saturday afternoon’s non-conference game. But once it got to the later stages, goalie Anthony Palma and the rest of the Stony Brook defense put a stop to that.
Palma made 16 saves and allowed only one goal in the second half as No. 20 Stony Brook defeated visiting Bryant, 14-8, at LaValle Stadium. Cory Vanginhoven and Mike McCannell both scored three goals for Stony Brook, which outscored Bryant 7-1 in the second half and erased a 4-0 first-quarter deficit.
"We knew it was going to be a prize fight," Stony Brook coach Anthony Gilardi said. "They’re going to hit some punches, we’re going to hit some punches, and it came down to who was going to keep swinging."
At the very least, Palma kept saving. He made nine of his 16 saves in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter.
"I think he was just locked in," Gilardi said. "We’ve seen that from Anthony for the year and a half I’ve been at Stony Brook. He has that in him, to get hot. He’s been really consistent this entire year. We knew he would settle in."
Bryant (1-1) scored four goals in the first five minutes of the game. Stony Brook (2-0), which rolled against Sacred Heart last week, answered with four straight of their own, capped by a Matt Anderson equalizer with 1:08 left in the first quarter.
"Our defense knows that we know how to play the game," said Palma, a junior from East Islip. "…We just came out a little flat but we never lost composure. We took a time out, we knew what we were doing. We knew we were the better team"
Palma continued: "The first four (minutes), they got a couple shots in. The big thing there is not to freak out….It’s all about the next save."
The second quarter saw much of the same. Bryant opened up with two consecutive goals and Stony Brook’s offense powered up late to tie it. Matt DeMeo’s man-up goal with 48 seconds left in the second quarter tied the score at 7, where it stood until Wayne White’s goal with 6:33 left in the third gave Stony Brook an 8-7 lead.
After Bryant cut the Stony Brook lead to 9-8 late in the third quarter, the Seawolves scored the final five goals of the game.
Bryant won the faceoff battle decisively, with Nathan Laliberte controlling 18-of-26 draws. Miller Place’s Jake Buonaiuto had an assist and four shots on goal for Bryant.