By now, many folks in the lacrosse community have already written off Stony Brook as a major player in the NCAA tournament after the Seawolves won the America East tournament crown despite a sub-.500 overall record (7-9). Plus, they must take on No. 2 seed Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in Baltimore Sunday afternoon.
That’s not the approach Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala is taking, especially with Stony Brook’s first midfield. Junior Jeff Tundo and seniors Robbie Campbell and Russ Bonnano rank 2-3-4 on that offense in points with 42, 38 and 32, respectively.
“You’re talking about some of their leading scorers right there,” Pietramala said. “Tundo leads the team in assists, Campbell is third in points with 38 points as a midfielder. So I don’t look at them as a middle-of-the-road group. I look at them as a group that has now kind of figured out who goes where and who they are and what they are. I think they’re more dangerous now than they’ve ever been before.”
Tundo is perhaps the most likely candidate to draw sophomore long-stick midfielder Jack Reilly, but that would leave Campbell and Bonnano against Johns Hopkins’ short-stick defensive midfield duo of senior Marshall Burkhart and freshman Nikhon Schuler.
The Blue Jays could move junior Chris Lightner up from close defense to assist Reilly, but Pietramala didn’t sound convinced that double-poling the Seawolves’ first midfield was a productive strategy.
“Sure, you can do that, and teams have done that. But I don’t know if that’s particularly the best way for us to play them,” he said. “We’re still becoming familiar with them. I’ve watched about six to seven tapes of them so far. So it’s not like I haven’t seen them play now, but now you have to get comfortable with how your team should play them. Just because another team plays them a certain way doesn’t mean that is the appropriate way for us to do so.”