Albany vs. Stony Brook
May 1, 2008
The Game Story:
Baltimore, Md. -- Corey Small had five goals and one assist in leading UAlbany to a 12-9 victory over Stony Brook in the semifinal round of the America East Conference Men’s Lacrosse Tournament on Thursday, May 1 at UMBC Stadium. The Great Danes, who reached the championship for the seventh consecutive year, will play in Saturday’s final at 7:30 p.m.

UAlbany (8-7) used a run of four consecutive goals to break a 6-6 deadlock in the third quarter. Stony Brook’s Jordan McBride, the conference rookie of the year, tied the contest with just 12 seconds elapsed in the second half by scoring from left of the crease with a two-man advantage. Small, a junior attacker who was making his first appearance since April 12 after suffering an injury, put his team ahead by ripping a shot from the left side into the top right corner with 10:02 left in the period.

The Great Danes, who earned the championship’s No. 2 seed after defeating Stony Brook in the regular-season finale five days ago, then got back-to-backs goal from Joe Pompo. The left-handed freshman converted Small’s behind-the-back pass. He later cut to the top of crease to connect off a feed from Brian Caufield. The play originated after reserve goalkeeper Dan McKeon made a save on the previous SBU possession. Jordan Levine increased the lead to 10-6 when he worked around the cage and found the net on an inside roll from right of the crease.

The Great Danes, who have pushed over the .500 mark for the first time season after starting the schedule with five straight losses, carried that four-goal margin to the final minutes. But the Seawolves closed the gap to 11-9 with a pair of scores 14 seconds apart. Owen Adams nailed a 15-yard blast after his squad caused a turnover with a double-team in the defensive end. Bo Tripodi then one-timed a pass from Rhys Duch after the Seawolves won the subsequent face-off. UAlbany’s John Alpizar sealed the outcome by hitting an empty net with 1:05 to play.

“I have been itching to get back,” said Small, whose six points was one off his career-best total. “The doctors cleared me two days ago. I definitely was winded early, but then things felt normal. We are just playing for our seniors. We don’t want their season to end.”

Stony Brook (7-7) trailed 3-2 early in the second quarter, but then reeled off three unanswered. Michal Trojanowski worked around the around the cage to score at point-blank range from right of the crease. Ryan Hughes put his team in front with a jump-shot from the right point, before Bobby Trenkle dodged a defender to convert Trojanowski’s crossing pass with 10:15 remaining in the period.

The Great Danes countered with three straight goals. Small finished off Caufield’s pass after starting goalkeeper Brett Queener cleared the ball from the defensive end. Mark Cometti drew his team even at five apiece with a low underhanded shot from the left side. The junior midfielder then spun to his right shoulder from the middle of the zone to give his team a 6-5 halftime lead with 1:29 left before the break.

“We never gave them the lead early in the third quarter when we had that unreleaseable penalty,” explained UAlbany coach Scott Marr, whose program will play for a possible fifth NCAA berth in the championship final. “We grabbed the momentum by keeping them off the scoreboard, expect for the man-down goal, and that gave us a lift. It was good to have Corey (Small) back in the lineup. He is a great finisher and adds a shooter to our attack.”

UAlbany’s Caufield had one goal and six assists, tying the second-highest total in the program’s Division I era, while Queener made 13 saves. The Seawolves’ Trenkle had two goals and one assist. Rob Camposa turned aside 11 shots.