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.