The No. 16 men’s lacrosse team (5-1) defeated the Stony Brook University Seawolves (4-2) 10-7 Saturday at Stevenson-Pincince Field. Playing through a heavy downpour for much of the game, the teams’ normally explosive offenses — Brown is ranked 11th in the country in goals per game and Stony Brook is 14th — fell far short of their track records, with each team registering over 20 turnovers.
“On both teams, it was pretty sloppy,” said Head Coach Mike Daly.
The Bears’ offense scored a combined four goals in the first, second and fourth quarters, but a six-goal flurry in the third — which included four from attacker Devon McLane ’23 — gave Brown all they needed for a victory. On the defensive side, goalie Connor Theriault ’24 made a career-high 18 saves, including several tremendous stops in the fourth quarter to frustrate the Seawolves’ hopes for a comeback.
“He’s been unbelievable all season,” McLane said of Theriault. “It’s huge having him in net for our defense.”
Brown opened the scoring just 39 seconds into the game when attacker Darian Cook ’22 cut from behind the net and wrapped his shot around his defender for an acrobatic finish.
Following Cook’s goal, Brown turned the ball over three times in a minute and a half, and Stony Brook midfielder Mike McMahon soon equalized with a shot in the top corner.
With six minutes played, Cook replicated his successful opening effort, again starting from behind the cage before dodging to the front and finding the back of the net. Cook, who finished the game with a hat trick in addition to a pair of assists, entered the game 19th in the country in points per game with an average of 4.6.
Stony Brook again evened the score before the end of the quarter, while Brown went scoreless for the final eight minutes.
Brown’s offense continued to struggle during the second quarter as the rain picked up its intensity. Both teams struggled with the conditions, exchanging frequent turnovers, but while the Seawolves were able to find some space in the attacking zone, the Bears’ offense was repeatedly frustrated in its efforts to get past the Stony Brook defense.
After the Seawolves scored two more to make it a 4-2 game, Brown gained a two-man advantage for 30 seconds following a Stony Brook double penalty. Even then, Brown struggled to find the net, with Stony Brook goalie Anthony Palma making a save on an open shot from midfielder Ryan Aughavin GS.
But later in the quarter, with the shot clock ticking down, Aughavin picked up possession near the restraining line and made several spin moves to try to create a small window. He finally found one and unleashed a howler that ripped past Palma to end the Bears’ 19-minute-long scoring drought.
Stony Brook added a fifth goal later in the quarter to finish the half with a 5-3 advantage.
Notably absent from the Bears’ first-half scoring sheet was McLane, who entered the game eighth in the NCAA with an average of six points per game and just joined Aughavin on the official watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, given to the best player in college lacrosse. McLane had two turnovers and two shots in the first half.
For the first five minutes of the second half, the Brown offense continued to struggle as McLane committed another turnover.
With a little more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter, another Brown possession stretched on as the shot clock neared zero. But with six seconds left to shoot, Cook made a precise pass from behind the net to attacker Brian Antonelli ’22, who caught the ball and shot in one motion to draw Brown within one.
The goal seemed to light a spark under the Brown team. A minute later, Cook completed his hat trick to even the score.
The Bears were not helped by their performance at the face-off X. Stony Brook face-off man Renz Conlon won 16 of the game’s 21 face-offs. Conlon ranks 7th in the NCAA with a .646 face-off winning percentage.
But the swarming Brown defense made up for the team’s draw deficiencies. With the energy on the Brown bench growing, a huge hit from midfielder Kevin Sweeney ’24.5 brought a Stony Brook player to the turf, causing a turnover.
“I thought the players came out and were more physical and made the plays they needed to get us out on the run,” Daly said. “That defensive performance really spearheaded the offense and kept us on a roll.”
Following the Stony Brook turnover, McLane, still without a goal, took over.
Halfway through the quarter, he caught the ball facing away from the goal, turned in a flash and fired a ripping shot into the net to return the lead to the Bears.
Three minutes later, McLane doubled the margin on a wide-open shot coming from a cross-net pass from Cook.
“We were getting the same looks as the first half but … I was just able to finish a couple of those,” McLane said.
McLane scored two more goals in the next two minutes to total four straight goals and give Brown a 9-5 lead.
Stony Brook pulled one back before the end of the quarter, but in the fourth, McLane would pick up where he left off, cutting from behind the net to score his fifth of the game.
“Our offense just kept moving the ball and getting guys open and I just happened to be on the back side of some of those,” McLane said.
After that brief scoring outburst, Brown again struggled to create chances for the rest of the game and committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter.
But Theriault and the Brown defense picked up the slack. After conceding halfway through the quarter, Theriault denied the rest of the Seawolves’ shots and, in the final two minutes, made a trio of incredible saves on hard-bouncing shots.
“It was my defense … I (have to) thank them for doing everything they can to give me the best (possible) chance to block the shot,” Theriault said of his 18-save performance.
Daly agreed, saying, “Those saves are team stats because if we do a good job and keep them to shots where he can handle them, that’s when we have success.”
Theriault said he was happy with the team’s performance, despite the offensive inconsistency. “I think we played really well,” he said. “Obviously, lacrosse is a game of runs. We took a few hits and gave a few more back.”
“We’re looking for that consistency still,” Daly said. “We’ve had some flashes of great play and now we need to put as many of those minutes consecutively together” as possible.
Brown will open up Ivy League play at Harvard next Saturday.