Concert photography for NYSMusic.com, taken in Schaghticoke, New York, on May 20-22, 2016. Bands include Anthrax, A Day to Remember, Trivium, Sevendust, Ghost, Sixx:A.M., Coheed and Cambria, Megadeth and Shinedown.
Originally published in The Statesman.
The Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse team’s season ended against Syracuse on Sunday afternoon, as the Orange used a late four-goal push to defeat the Seawolves, 7-6, and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals.
Stony Brook held senior midfielder Kayla Treanor, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year, without a point, a shot attempt or even a ground ball in the contest.
But the Syracuse star’s presence made a difference in the draw circle. Treanor, the most effective self-drawer in the country, controlled eight faceoffs herself, while the Orange as a team beat the Seawolves in the category, 11-4.
“Possessions matter,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “I like to think that if we had the ball seven more times on offense, we’d be up two or three.”
Stony Brook’s defense had success through much of the first half. The team assigned a single player to follow around and “faceguard” Treanor — a tactic uncommon from the Seawolves zone — and the Orange did not score in the contest’s first 19:50. Treanor finally got the team rolling with strong faceoff play, however.
“She’s just so fast in the way she turns it back,” freshman midfielder Kasey Mitchell, who took the bulk of Stony Brook’s draws in the game, said. “You just have to try to keep it away from her, honestly. It’s a respect thing, you can’t try to beat her.”
With Stony Brook’s star’s facing double-teams, Mitchell scored three goals in the contest, the most in her young career, the third of which was 3:17 into the second half and gave the Seawolves a 5-3 lead.
“They were helping onto our main girls and someone had to step up,” Mitchell said. “I was just at the right spot at the right time.”
By virtue of dominance on the draw, Syracuse rallied back. Senior midfielder Kelly Cross scored off a quick pass from senior attacker Halle Majorana. Later in the half, the Orange scored on a pair of free-position goals — first from senior Gabby Jaquith then from redshirt sophomore Taylor Gait — to tie and go ahead, 6-5.
Treanor won the draw and Syracuse sought to kill the clock. Stony Brook senior defender Alyssa Fleming was assessed a yellow card on a stick-to-the-head call. With Fleming sidelined for two minutes, madness ensued.
Syracuse senior midfielder Erica Bodt struck post on the power play and the ball ricocheted all the way to the offensive zone line and out of bounds. Amid the commotion it was unclear which team would be awarded possession. In lacrosse, possession after a shot goes out of bounds is awarded to the player nearest to the ball when it crosses the line. Much to Spallina’s chagrin, the Seawolves were not given the ball in what would have been a chance to tie the game.
“It was a bad call,” Spallina said. “It’s a race to the ball, but their player was out of bounds before the ball went over the line. Once you’re out of bounds you’re not part of the play anymore. We had two players, still inbounds, closest to the ball.”
Syracuse was granted possession, getting a two-player man-up situation when sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller was granted a yellow card.
“What the ref sees they have to call,” Ohlmiller said. “But when it’s a close game like that I think it has to be our ball. First of all, we were there first and second of all, I did not swing at her head.”
The Orange extended the lead to 7-5 on a free-position shot by Bodt. Stony Brook’s Samantha DiSalvo cut the score to 7-6 off an Ohlmiller feed, but Mitchell turned the ball over after winning the next faceoff.
The Seawolves’ attempts to force a turnover proved futile as the Orange ran out the clock to end the game. Stony Brook’s season ends with a 17-4 record, with three of the four defeats coming by 7-6 scores.
Stony Brook will return 96.8 percent of its goal-scorers next season, including junior midfielder Courtney Murphy, who scored her 100th goal of the season in the game, becoming the first player in Division-I lacrosse history to achieve the feat.
“You name it, offensively, they’ll be back,” Spallina said. “I love our talent, I love our system. This won’t be the case next year.”
But in the interim, the loss stings for a Stony Brook team that had national title aspirations.
“We want people to be scared to play us,” Ohlmiller said. “They were scared to play us. We had it in the bag, it was just a couple plays that we had to finish.”
Originally published in The Statesman
The game was tied with mere seconds remaining. The ball lay nestled in the stick of Stony Brook freshman midfielder Kasey Mitchell as the crowd — speckled with Stony Brook red and Albany purple alike — stood collectively with anticipation.
Watching most of the contest from the sideline, Mitchell had not recorded a single statistic all day. But with the America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship on the line, the freshman had a free-position chance to win the game at the buzzer.
Mitchell took two steps in from the left and shot the ball under the crossbar and into the net, sending the Stony Brook bench and crowd into eruption. The Seawolves defeated the Great Danes, 10-9, to claim their fourth consecutive conference title.
So what was going through Mitchell’s head as she stepped to the free-position line, preparing for the game-deciding shot?
“Honestly, nothing,” Mitchell said. “I was just praying to God that it went in.”
Head coach Joe Spallina, who said he had never won a lacrosse game with a buzzer-beater in his life — not as a player nor as a coach at any level — had complete faith in the freshman to keep composure in the highest of stakes.
“Ice in her veins, man,” Spallina said. “She’s a tough kid.
“I think when you’re a little kid, it’s like that situation, you know, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, mighty Kasey at the bat,” he said, grinning at his pun. “She hit it out of the park.”
The game could not have been much closer, as Stony Brook and Albany were tied eight times in the contest. Neither team took a lead larger than two goals, a stark contrast from last Saturday’s regular season meeting when the Seawolves annihilated the Great Danes, 13-4.
“I think they played their offense a little differently,” junior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke, who scored four goals in the game, said. “They definitely had more of a fight today.”
With 4:14 remaining in the game, Albany senior midfielder Rachel Bowles scored on a free-position shot to give the Great Danes a 9-8 lead, their first of the second half.
Albany controlled the ensuing draw and looked to burn as much time as possible. America East co-Defensive Player of the Year Alyssa Fleming forced junior attacker Dakotah Savitcheff into a critical turnover and secured the ground ball. Stony Brook cleared the zone, taking offense, where Spallina called timeout with two minutes remaining.
“Pretty much when you go down and people are stalling in the women’s game it’s almost impossible to get the ball back,” junior attacker Courtney Murphy said. “Flem won the game for us, she came up with that ball … I think people would forget about that play, but if it wasn’t for her they would have been celebrating on our field.”
When play resumed, the ball cycled around the field. It eventually found junior attacker Alyssa Guido, who found Murphy crashing to the front of the net for a quick catch-and-shoot to tie the game, 9-9. Scoring her 95th goal of the season, Murphy leapt wildly with celebration, having kept her team’s championship hopes alive.
“We just needed a goal,” Murphy, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, said. “By any means necessary, we had to do it. Guido’s awesome, she found me. I closed my eyes and I heard it hit the pipe — we had hit the pipe on two shots before that — so I was like ‘No way, oh my god it’s going to pipe and out,’ but it went in and we got the momentum.”
Murphy scored four goals in the game, creeping closer to the NCAA single-season goals record, 98, set by Delaware’s Karen Emas in 1984.
Savitcheff also scored four goals in the game, as the Great Danes star was a constant threat. Perhaps her finest play of the offensive player’s night came on defense, however. With just over seven minutes to play, Savitcheff stripped the ball from Stony Brook junior attacker Taylor Ranftle in the neutral zone. She garnered the loose ball and hurled a deep pass for junior midfielder Sarah Martin, who scored on a breakaway to tie the game 8-8.
“We just had some breakdowns,” Spallina said of his defense. “[Savitcheff]’s a really good player, they put her in good spots, she made plays.”
But the game will be remembered for the unlikely heroism of Mitchell, the freshman whose nerves kept cool enough for Stony Brook to win the game and clinch its spot in the NCAA Tournament.
“That finish, I mean, I don’t even know how you can write it up because I don’t even have words for it,” Van Dyke said. “It was awesome.”
Originally published in The Statesman
The game had it all — behind-the-back goals, controversial calls and overtime — but in the waning seconds of the extra period, Marist freshman attackman Thomas Rago slipped behind the Stony Brook defense, took a pass from junior attackman J.D. Recor and scored to give the Red Foxes a 10-9 upset victory over the eighth-ranked Seawolves on Tuesday night.
Stony Brook had several opportunities to win the game, most notably in the final minute of regulation. With 55 seconds to play, the Seawolves led, 9-8, and Marist senior attackman Joseph Radin missed the net wide of the goal. Stony Brook backed up the shot, gaining possession with a chance to run down the clock.
Stony Brook senior defenseman Lucas Rock had the ball near his own goal. Marist sophomore goalkeeper Brian Corrigan abandoned the net, as the Red Foxes pressed in search of a turnover.
Head coach Jim Nagle told Rock to shoot at the open goal, despite being 70 yards away, so he did, launching the ball across the field, over the net and out-of-bounds. It appeared that Stony Brook was closest to the wayward shot attempt, which would give the Seawolves possession. But after brief deliberation, the officials awarded possession to the Red Foxes instead, leaving the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium crowd stupefied.
“The guy initially made the call, red [Marist’s jersey color],” Nagle said. “I don’t think he thought it was a shot, and then he conferred with the other guy. My question was, why did he need to confer? If red was closest, and it was a pass, then it’s red ball either way. So they conferred, and then they stuck to his call, which I didn’t really understand.”
Marist gained possession, cleared its zone and tied the game with 13.1 seconds left, as sophomore midfielder Gannon Morrison scored past Stony Brook sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Maciejewski. The contest headed to overtime, where the Seawolves had two offensive possessions — one of which ended in a turnover and the other of which ended in an unsuccessful shot attempt from senior midfielder Chris Hughes.
“From an offensive standpoint, we weren’t executing well,” senior attackman Brody Eastwood said. “We had a few costly turnovers, and it definitely hurt us in the end.”
Eastwood scored three goals, but the team struggled on offense as a whole. Stony Brook’s nine goals tied its fewest this season, set against Fairfield last month. The Seawolves finished the game with 12 turnovers, compared with the Red Foxes’ five, as ball insecurity contributed to the contest’s outcome.
Throughout the entire game, the lead switched back and forth. Neither team built a three-goal lead at any point in the evening. The first half ended at 3-3, as offense was scarce, but in the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, both teams’ attack picked up.
With 14:13 remaining in the game, senior attackman Matt Schultz received a pass from junior attackman Ryan Bitzer and shot the ball behind his back, tying the game, 6-6.
Minutes later, Marist responded, as Radin, the 2015 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, beat Maciejewski on a behind-the-back goal of his own to give the Red Foxes an advantage.
Junior midfielder Alex Corpolongo used a screen from senior midfielder Challen Rogers and whipped in a perimeter goal from the right side. Seven seconds later, junior faceoff specialist Jay Lindsay won the draw to himself, stepped into the offensive third of the field and launched a second Stony Brook goal, putting the team up, 8-7, against Marist with 6:44 to play
“Any time you score two goals in that short of time, it’s a big boost,” said Lindsay, who won all eight fourth quarter faceoffs he attempted. “It helps the morale on the bench and gets everyone more into the game.”
But the change in momentum did not last, as Radin scored his fourth goal of the game just one minute later to tie the game, 8-8.
Eastwood gave the Seawolves a 9-8 lead with 4:32 remaining in regulation, finishing in traffic after receiving a pass from Rogers, but the potential game-winning goal was negated by Morrison’s heroics in the final minute.
Stony Brook’s overall record fell to 9-3 with the loss. Its only two losses before playing Marist were to Brown and Albany — two teams ranked in the top-10 of both major polls. Marist entered Tuesday’s game with a 5-5 record.
“To be honest, I thought our guys were going to be better than this team,” Nagle said. “We have a lot of upperclassmen, and it’s pretty disappointing. I think sometimes when you don’t expect to be in a tight game, and you are, you start to tighten up and choke a little bit. We did that tonight.”
Stony Brook returns to action on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m., when the Seawolves host the UMass Lowell River Hawks.
Originally published in The Statesman
After losing in four of the last five America East Championship games, the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball team finally appeared in its first-ever NCAA Tournament on Thursday night. However, Stony Brook’s first chance came against eight-time national champion Kentucky. The Seawolves’ inexperience in the big dance showed, as the Wildcats won the first round game, 85-57, at Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
The length and size of Kentucky’s defense stifled the Stony Brook offense throughout the game. Head coach Steve Pikiell’s team shot just 26.3 percent from the field, as Kentucky blocked an NCAA Tournament record 15 shots in the contest, including six from freshman forward Skal Labissiere.
After trailing 33-19 at halftime, Stony Brook was unable to cut into the deficit. The Wildcats made 76 percent of their shots in the second half, which included a 21-6 run, to pave the way for a comfortable victory as the Seawolves ended their season with a 26-7 record.
“They were being Kentucky. They are a great defensive team. They were really athletic,” senior forward Jameel Warney said. “You can’t take away from their athleticism, and it’s a different level being face-to-face than just seeing them on TV.”
Kentucky freshman guard Jamal Murray, the third-leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, scored 19 points for head coach John Calipari’s team. Freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, who will face the Indiana Hoosiers in the second round on Saturday.
Warney notched his 60th career double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds for the Seawolves in what became the final contest for the three-time America East Player of the Year and the Seawolves’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Warney’s success came despite being double-teamed on nearly every possession.
“I will tell you that the respect we had for him we never played him one-on-one,” Calipari said. “Think about that. The guys that have watched me coach know that very rarely do we do that. Like, we just don’t play that way. So we did today.”
“I thought [senior forward] Alex Poythress did a great job of trapping,” Calipari added before praising Warney again. “Skal [Labissiere] did a great job of making shots tough and he still got 23 points. He still got 23.”
No other Seawolves player topped 10 points in the contest. The Stony Brook backcourt struggled as senior guard Carson Puriefoy and junior guards Lucas Woodhouse and Ahmad Walker combined to shoot just 6-for-35 from the field in the game. Senior forward Rayshaun McGrew shot 2-for-11 in the game.
The Wildcats may have led by an even larger margin if it had not been for the Seawolves’ rebounding success. Stony Brook led Kentucky in total rebounds, 46-44, including a 30-23 advantage at halftime, with Warney alone grabbing 10 rebounds in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Stony Brook’s 25 offensive rebounds in the game were the most that Kentucky allowed all season.
In the first half, the Seawolves’ poor offensive execution allowed the Wildcats to take a significant lead, setting the tone for the onslaught that followed. Stony Brook made only three of its first 27 field goal attempts, as Kentucky jumped out to a 28-13 lead with 3:56 remaining in the half. Calipari’s team took a 33-19 lead into the locker room on the way to the victory.
Stony Brook and Kentucky were teams on two different levels, and it showed on Thursday night.
While the Seawolves are perennially near the top of the America East Conference, the game gave the team a sniff of what it strives to be in the future, as Warney even said after the game that Kentucky will make the tournament’s Final Four.
“We have to play who they put us in the bracket with, and we played a great, great program,” Pikiell said. “55th trip to the tournament. Maybe our 55th time we’ll look like them, too.”