Stony Brook, Albany Advance to Men's Lacrosse Title Game
Albany's Joe Resetarits scored four times and Stony Brook's Mike Rooney tallied five points as the league's Player and Rookie of the Year led their respective teams to wins in the semifinals of the America East Men's Lacrosse Championship Wednesday evening. The top-seeded Seawolves downed fourth-seeded Hartford, 9-8, while the third-seeded Great Danes thwarted second-seeded UMBC, 19-8.
With the victories, Stony Brook and Albany earned spots in the league championship game and will decide the league champion for the second time in three years. The title game will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Seawolves' LaValle Stadium and air on ESPN3 with a subsequent airing on Sunday on ESPNU at 10 a.m.
On Long Island, Stony Brook (6-9) controlled the first quarter, fueled by Matt Bellando's two scores and led 3-0 after one period. The Seawolves, who will be making their fourth straight title game appearance and seventh overall, extended their lead to 4-0 in the opening minutes of the second as Cole Millican charged down the field and scored with 12:38 left in the frame.
Hartford (6-10) turned things around over the final two thirds of the quarter, holding the Seawolves scoreless and finally breaking through on the scoreboard. All-Rookie selection Kevin O'Shea made the score 3-1 at the 3:29 mark while first-team all-conference selection Carter Bender, who had a team-high four points, drew the reigning champions within two as his blast from straight away with five seconds left made it 4-2 going into the locker room.
The Hawks cut the deficit to one heading into the fourth quarter as second-team all-conference midfielder Jared Franze scored twice in the frame and Ryan Compitello scored with 1:57 left to make it 7-6 Stony Brook heading into the fourth.
But while Hartford was able to get within one several times, Stony Brook, the league's top defensive team allowing just 9.43 goals per game, never lost the lead. Rooney, who upped his season goal total to 33, started the fourth-quarter scoring 3:39 in to give his team an 8-6 advantage. After Hartford's Rory Nunamacher again made it a one-goal game, Millican added his second score of the night to push the lead to 9-7.
Aidan Genik scored to make it 9-8 and the Hawks regained possession on a turnover but first-team all-conference goalkeeper Sean Brady made a key stop and the Seawolves were able to run out the clock to hold on for the win.
In Baltimore, Albany's offense exploded for 19 goals to send the Great Danes to the league title game for the ninth time in their 11 seasons in America East.
UMBC (5-8) took a 1-0 lead on first-team all-conference attacker Scott Jones's score, but the Great Danes would score 10 of the halves' next 12 goals. First-team all-conference attacker Miles Thompson set the tone in the first quarter, scoring three times as the Great Danes took a 5-3 lead into the second.
Albany (5-10), which has won four of its last six, scored all five of the game's second quarter goals as Resetarits, Ty Thompson and Lyle Thompson all scored twice.
The Retrievers, who were looking to get back to the league title game for the first time since 2009, controlled the third quarter, putting eight shots on net but only Matt Gregoire and Zach Linkous could get shots by Albany's Max Huber, who made six of his 11 saves in the frame.
Albany took the momentum back in the fourth, scoring six of the quarter's first seven goals, including two by Miles Thompson, who had five for the game, to seal the win.
Stony Brook and Albany will be meeting for the fourth time in the America East title game. The Seawolves hold a 2-1 edge, including an 11-7 win in 2010.