When the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team last faced off against Stony Brook University, it won by a margin of one goal, defeating the Seawolves, 12-11 in 2015.
On Tuesday, Lehigh fell behind 7-2 after the first quarter and was not able to recover, eventually losing the game 16-6 to the No. 12 ranked team in the nation at Frank Banko Field.
Coach Kevin Cassese said Stony Brook’s team has more older players, while Lehigh’s team has fewer upperclassmen. He said the Seawolves have almost the same team they had last year and had to lean on their upperclassmen leadership.
“I think a lot of (Stony Brook) guys learned from losses like that last year,” Cassese said. “And they came in and played really well. So I think a lot of it has to do with them to be honest with you. For us, we’re young — in general — and we had a few guys go down this week, which made us even younger.”
In last year’s game, six of the starters were graduating seniors, and four of them contributed half of the goals. Only two of the then-junior starters in last year’s game, senior attackman Reid Weber and senior defenseman Tripp Telesco, started in this year’s game.
Weber scored one goal this year, yet in last year’s game he contributed four goals and one assist.
Junior attackman Matt Raposo had two goals both this year and last year.
“(Stony Brook’s) offense was just clicking on all cylinders tonight,” Raposo said. “I think we had trouble stopping them and we had trouble offensively.”
Stony Brook’s junior attackman Ryan Bitzer scored five goals and one assist this year, yet he did not contribute to any points in last year’s game. Additionally, the Seawolves’ then-senior midfield Mike Rooney was the only Stony Brook player who scored three goals in last year’s game. All other players who scored only had one goal each.
Raposo said injuries also contributed to the loss.
“That hurts us on the leadership side and on the field,” he said. “Obviously, that really hinders us.”
Sophomore faceoff specialist and midfielder Matt Ernst was unable to play due to an injury but had nine faceoff wins in Lehigh’s last encounter with the Seawolves. Other seniors such as defenseman Casey Eidenshink and midfielder Ray Mastroianni were also out due to injuries.
“It just makes it tough to compete when they have a lot of upperclassmen who have kind of been there done that,” Cassese said. “I think that was the biggest difference tonight. Their older guys are seniors, and for us we didn’t have a lot of those guys out there.”