It was exactly the kind of result the men’s lacrosse team was looking for — a big road win against a ranked opponent. The No. 9 Bears (2-0) knew there was a lot on the line in their trip to No. 19 Stony Brook, and they made sure to take advantage of the early-season opportunity, beating the Seawolves 16-14.
“It’s huge obviously — Stony Brook is a really good team and one we hadn’t seen before,” said Alec Tulett ’17. “It’s really exciting to see us off to another hot start: reminds me of the first couple games last season, and I know we’re all getting fired up for another big one against UMass next Saturday.”
If you like goals, Saturday’s contest between two of the nation’s highest-scoring offenses was for you. The Bears outlasted the Seawolves in a fast-paced, highly entertaining contest that saw an impressive 30 tallies. For a team that preaches a “fast, frenetic pace” and “free of fear” style of play, it was exactly the kind of game Bruno expected, said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’04.
Despite the barrage of goals, the Bears’ difference maker was goalie Jack Kelly ’16, who made 20 saves — several of which were worthy of any highlight reel.
Tiffany and Tulett both praised the goalie for his role in the win. “He absolutely stood on his head, making one of the best saves I have personally ever seen at the end of the first quarter,” Tulett said.
On the offensive end, Dylan Molloy ’17 paced the attack with three goals and an impressive six assists. The high assist tally is a promising sign for a player who is likely to get double-teamed throughout the season after a breakout sophomore campaign. Henry Blynn ’16, Kylor Bellistri ’16 and Brendan Caputo ’16 each tacked on three goals as well.
At the face-off X, the Bears were aided by the stellar play of Will Gural ’16, who captured 20 of 30 attempts. Tiffany credited Gural’s ability to generate possessions as a key reason for the Bears’ win.
When the opening whistle blew Saturday, Bruno got off to a quick start, scoring two goals within the first four minutes. But the Seawolves climbed right back into the game, evening things up just minutes later.
The teams then went on to trade pairs of goals until Molloy scored unassisted with under two minutes remaining in the first frame to give the Bears a 5-4 lead. Stony Brook looked to have a great opportunity to tie things up at the quarter’s end, but Kelly dove to block the shot in what could be a save-of-the-year contender come season’s end.
The second period was a back-and-forth affair until the Bears grabbed three of the quarter’s last four goals to take a 10-7 lead going into the half. While that scoreline might seem like a fitting final score for a lacrosse game, that was anything but the case for these two high-powered offensive teams.
In the third frame, the Bears pushed their lead to four goals, putting themselves in a solid position to take home the victory. But the Seawolves had no intention of making it easy. They stormed out of the gate in the fourth, scoring twice within the first three minutes of the period to grab the momentum. Luckily for the Bears, Tulett brought a momentary halt to the comeback bid a mere 14 seconds later, scoring a spectacular goal from about 15 yards out after receiving a pass from Molloy.
“The first couple minutes of every quarter have a lot of potential to swing the momentum of the game, and unfortunately Stony Brook rallied for the first two of the fourth quarter,” Tulett said. But “our fast tempo style of play often results in several multi-goal runs throughout the game, and that’s what we started when Molloy hit me in transition for our 14th of the game.”
But Stony Brook remained unfazed, pouring in another two goals to bring the margin to just one. With under seven minutes left and the pressure building, Bruno kept its composure and scored twice courtesy of Bellistri and Caputo. The three-goal lead proved to be enough of a cushion, with the final score settling at 16-14.
The Bears are now right where they want to be after outlasting a difficult Seawolves side and having dismantled Quinnipiac in their opening contest. Up next is the home opener against UMass, which fell to No. 14 Harvard in overtime Saturday. The Minutemen, who have already beaten then-No. 11 Ohio State, will certainly provide a tough test for Bruno. The contest will also mark the 49th rendition of New England’s oldest lacrosse rivalry.
“This is always a huge game for us,” Tulett said. “I still haven’t forgotten the humbling loss against them freshman year, and I guarantee practice this week will reflect the energy that we will bring to our home opener against them Saturday.”