Kyle Belton (Langley, British Columbia) set a career-high with five goals as the Stony Brook men's lacrosse team captured its third straight America East regular season championship with a thrilling 12-11 win over Albany. Senior Russ Bonanno (Seaford, N.Y.) and redshirt freshman Mike Rooney (East Islip, N.Y.) tallied two goals apiece.
By virtue of Saturday's win, the Seawolves have claimed the top seed in next week's four-team America East Championship. UMBC will be seeded second, followed by #3 Albany and #4 Hartford.
Junior Sean Brady (Huntington Bay, N.Y.) stood on his head for many saves, finishing with 11 stops.
Albany tied the game at 11 with 1:33 after Joe Resetarits' fourth goal of the game, but Belton played hero. Junior Jeff Tundo (Orchard Park, N.Y.) found Belton from behind the crease for the game winner with eight seconds left.
"To be honest with you, I was looking for him (Kyle) the whole time," said Tundo, who finished with four assists. "We've been clicking recently in practice," Belton said. "I was trying to time my cuts. I saw the defense sinking in and saw an opportunity."
Belton, whose previous career-high was three, scored four of his five goals in the first half. "Kyle has been a quiet leader for this team all year," coach Jim Nagle said. "We played through some mistakes, but, at the end, we're happy to be the top seed in the tournament."
Stony Brook finishes the regular season 5-9 overall, but 4-1 in America East play. Albany, which has lost to Stony Brook six straight times, is 4-10, 3-2.
Albany led 4-1 and 5-2 in the first half on the strength of three goals from Joe Resetarits. Back-to-back goals from Belton cut the deficit to 5-4 with 5:22 left in the first half. Bonanno tied the game at five, going counter-clockwise around the crease to beat Albany goalie Max Huber through the legs.
The Seawolves made it four unanswered goals as Tundo made a move around his defender and found Belton for the score from eight yards out. With just over 10 seconds left in the first half, Tundo and Belton connected in an identical result, capping a five-goal rally.
Albany scored to snap a 15:18 scoreless drought, but Stony Brook answered right back. Albany's Jon Newhouse was called for a one-minute slash, giving Stony Brook a man-up opportunity. Rooney took a pass from junior Nick Watson (Manchester, England) and beat Huber far side.
Ty Thompson (five goals) scored back to back to give Albany a 9-8 lead, but Rooney, the nation's leading goal scorer among all freshmen (30) scored unassisted to tie the game at nine with 11:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Senior Robbie Campbell (Delta, British Columbia) scored on a feed from Belton to make it 10-9 as he was clobbered. The penalty was unnecessary roughness, giving Stony Brook the man-up opportunity for two minutes. 40 seconds later, Watson scored off a feed from Rooney to make it an 11-9 Seawolves lead.
Ty Thompson made it a one-goal game with 4:32 remaining.