Despite making the NCAA Tournament last season, I don't think that anyone associated with Stony Brook lacrosse would tell you that their 2012 campaign was anything more than average. After consecutive seasons of double-digit wins in 2010 and 2011 (including coming thisclose to knocking off Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in 2010, potentially throwing the Earth off its axis and thereby creating the opening necessary for the robots to start their revolution against their former human masters), the Seawolves' 7-10 campaign last season -- which didn't include a win against a team with at least a .500 record -- was a bit of a step backward to where Stony Brook looked like they were headed.
Second-year head coach Jim Nagle, most recently of Colgate, will have some solid talent to work with on the North Shore of Long Island next spring, but folks out that way are going to want to see some stronger results in 2013 in what should be, again, a winnable America East for the Seawolves. The schedule isn't impossible for Stony Brook next season, but there are some traps and some possibilities for explosion to show the country just where, exactly, the Seawolves are headed.
Let's tear this apart.
Slay the Dragon
February 23: Virginia; March 10: @ Maryland
Stony Brook has been whispered for a while now as having the potential for being "the next big thing," whatever that means. With a university that is throwing resources at their athletics programs and holding a geographic location that is square in the middle of some of the best prep lacrosse in the country, the Seawolves have the potential to challenge their neighbors to the east -- Hofstra -- as the Island's offering to sit among the elite. Games against the established elite -- Virginia, a five-time national champion, and Maryland, a two-time national champion and a strong contender to take a run at their third in 2013 -- are the opportunities that Stony Brook needs to embrace. Getting the Cavaliers at home at LaValle Stadium is a huge coup for the Seawolves, and playing the Terrapins in early March when really weird stuff always seems to happen could benefit the Seawolves as well.
There's nothing but benefit in playing these games if you're Stony Brook. They just need to win one to show everyone that the status of the program is strong.
I'm Like You; You're Like Me
February 9: Fairfield; February 26: @ St. John's; March 5: Siena; March 23: Bryant; April 15: @ Yale
It's these games -- games against what is perceived to be competitively equal programs in the non-conference -- that define where non-elites are going to end up at the end of the year. These games are the difference between a 7-10 effort and a 10-7 one. If Stony Brook fairs well in these games, contests against Marist, Rutgers, and Sacred Heart don't put the fear of God into the Seawolves; if Stony Brook drops a fair portion of the above-noted games, contests against teams that are, likely, below the Seawolves in terms of competitive quality become pressure-filled nightmares, and it's rare that good times come out of those situations.
The America East is Still a Lacrosse League
March 30: @ Vermont; April 6: Binghamton; April 13: UMBC; April 20: @ Hartford; April 27: Albany
Yup. I don't have much to say about this other than this: The UMBC game comes just two days before Stony Brook's big game against the Elis in New Haven. That stinks to high heaven like trouble.