The Stony Brook men’s rugby team just fell short of capturing the Empire State Rugby Conference Championship on Sunday, November 8 in a nail-biting 32-28 loss against Syracuse University.
Stony Brook had the momentum heading into the game on Sunday, winning four of its last five games, with one of those wins coming against Syracuse. The Seawolves had been an offensive powerhouse as of late, outscoring their opponents 186 to 35 in the three combined games prior to the Sunday matchup.
Despite their recent success, the Seawolves struggled early in the game, trailing the Syracuse Hammerheads 24-7 at halftime.
At halftime, Assistant Coach Don Toomey said that he had faith in his team to make a comeback. “We’re capable of firing right back,” Toomey said. “We were down last time against these guys, and we won by a try.”
Stony Brook’s offense was revitalized in the second half, as the Seawolves nearly gained the lead in the closing minutes of the match. The offensive strut was led by Conor Sperzel, the first Seawolf to score in the second half. Sophomore Bryan Michel successfully hammered in the conversion, making the score 29-14.
The Seawolves scored two more unanswered trys, one by team captain and freshman Jimmy Sheridan, making the score 29-28 with just minutes left in the game. Despite their best efforts, the Seawolves were “too little, too late,” according to Head Coach Jerry Mirro. The Seawolves couldn’t regain a lead, eventually losing by 4 points after battling from a 17 point deficit.
“They just took us out in the first half,” Mirro said. “They’re a very smart team.” Mirro went on to say that the season is far from over and emphasized the importance of the following weeks.
The Seawolves are heading on the road, preparing to face Iona, one of the most difficult teams to beat, according to Mirro. Following that, the team is scheduled to face the University of Cincinnati in an American Collegiate Rugby Conference Bowl matchup. The ACRC is a bowl series being held in Charlotte, N.C. on November 20-21.
“We just have to stay focused and bounce right back,” Mirro said.