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Sunday, September 28, 2014

William & Mary rallies to stun Stony Brook in OT

By GREG LOGAN  greg.logan@newsday.com
Finish. It's a simple concept that so far has eluded Stony Brook's football team in excruciating fashion this season. For the better part of 59 minutes Saturday night, the Seawolves were in position to get it right against nationally ranked William & Mary in front of a record LaValle Stadium crowd of 11,301.
A brilliant stand by the Seawolves' No. 1-ranked FCS defense led to a go-ahead touchdown run by Stacey Bedell with 1:12 left in their Colonial Athletic Association opener. But it all came unraveled with a litany of last-minute mistakes as the Tribe tied it with a long touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in regulation and won a 27-21 decision on Mikal Abdul-Saboor's 13-yard scoring run in overtime.
"It was a tough loss," coach Chuck Priore said. "We did not finish . . . We played a good game. We showed we're able to compete. At the end of the day, their kid made a play that tied the game. In overtime, we had a holding penalty and a blocked field goal, and the better team won."
As well as Stony Brook (1-4) has played on defense all season, the Seawolves have been prone to giving up the big play. They did it again after Bedell, who rushed for 143 yards on 18 carries, broke two tackles on his 33-yard run for a 21-14 lead.
Facing second-and-11 with 34 seconds showing, Tribe quarterback Steve Cluley threw an out to Sean Ballard near the right sideline. There appeared to be confusion in the Seawolves' secondary before the play. Safety Naim Cheeseboro, who had a team-high 11 tackles, tried to get out to Ballard but missed the tackle as he went 52 yards to tie the game at 21.
"There was a misunderstanding, a late communication with the corner," Cheeseboro said. "As far as that missed tackle, I didn't execute the play. That was strictly on me."
William & Mary (4-1), which is ranked 12th and 13th in the two FCS polls, actually had a chance to win in regulation when SBU's Anthony Anderson fumbled the kickoff at his own 35. But the Tribe's John Carpenter was just short on a 51-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.
Stony Brook had the first possession from the 25-yard line in OT, and Bedell broke a 9-yard run on first down. But a holding penalty on guard Armani Garrick stalled the drive before Przemyslaw Popek's 36-yard field-goal attempt was blocked.
When it was the Tribe's turn, Stony Brook defensive end Victor Ochi stopped Abdul-Saboor's third-down run but was called for a face-mask penalty that gave William & Mary a first down at the 12. One play later, Abdul-Saboor, who carried 26 times for 116 yards, scored his second TD of the game to end it.
After alternating quarterbacks John Kinder and Conor Bednarski for four games, Priore settled on Bednarski as the starter and was rewarded with a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Bednarski, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 189 yards, hit three first-down passes on the opening 80-yard drive for a 9-yard TD run by Marcus Coker, then threw a short out that Adrian Coxson (seven catches for 124 yards) turned into an 83-yard touchdown.
William & Mary rallied to tie the game at 14 on a 2-yard run by Abdul-Saboor and a two-point conversion. But with a first down at its own 20 near the end of regulation, the Tribe lost 15 yards on three plays before the Seawolves took over at the WMU 46, leading to Bedell's go-ahead TD.
"We played with our heart," said cornerback Davonte Anderson, whose 13th career interception saved a first-quarter TD. "We're going to learn from our mistakes and come back strong."

Friday, September 26, 2014

All I Ever Known - By Joe Soccoa

Twenty years ago I was 3 years old. I was just learning about the great game of baseball and all the nostalgia that comes with it. My father was a Mets fan so naturally he rose – or tried to – raise his kids to be Mets fans. For a little while since I didn’t know too much I donned Mets gear. Then as I got to know the game better I learned about the other New York team. I liked what this team in pinstripes was all about. They were bad for the first couple of years I started liking them but then a kid named Derek Jeter came up to play and a guy from Brooklyn came to manage. Jeter looked like a hard-nosed baseball player who knew how to play the game the right way.
I became a fan instantly of not just a team on the verge of starting something special but of a guy who I would eventually grow up with around the game of baseball. It’s unfortunate a kid like me grew up during what would now be known as the steroid era of baseball but there were a select few that were natural ballplayers and Jeter for me was one of them. The guy could hit, he wasn’t too bad in the field and he created the jump that so many kids like I tried to mimic during little league games. Every team that I played on, little league to high school baseball my number was always 2 (with the exception of one year in which I used 91, my birth year). I became one of those kids who looked at Jeter as a role model in my baseball playing career.
Derek Jeter created memory after memory for me. Even during the intense times of rivalry and the circus of home run chases with other guys in the league. The one thing about Jeter was he always put his team first before himself which some guys in the league never did. All they cared about was personal stats. I can say as a Yankee fan like many others we were spoiled with the taste of winning. I can understand the fans of other teams showing their signs of hate towards that. There are many debates and arguments that go around the notion that the championships the Yankees won were bought but you can quickly respond to that by saying if you want to build a winning team you need to spend. The Yankees spent. In all of that spending no matter how much was thrown to big time free agents, Jeter played his game and earned every penny he got when he himself needed to get paid and rightfully so.
I was sitting in my car waiting for someone to get out of the doctor’s office when my phone went off with the alert that Derek Jeter was announcing his retirement from baseball at the end of the season. For a brief minute I didn’t believe it because this was a guy who could play past forty. I clicked on the alert and it directed me to Derek Jeter’s Facebook post letter detailing his plans. That’s when it started sinking in hard for me. At that same moment I can see someone saying to me just as Sonny told Calogero that Mickey Mantle doesn’t pay his rent (A Bronx Tale) but I wouldn’t care because even Jeter who at the end of the day got his paycheck he was still an idol to me. The news hit me hard just as it did to other’s who grew up watching Derek Jeter. There was the fair share of critics who wondered why people like us put Jeter on this high holy pedestal, Jeter didn’t heed towards his critics and neither did we because we knew Jeter was something special about the game.
This 2014 season came and went pretty fast and you don’t want it to end because you want just a little more of Jeter. His farewell tour, while bothered by some was a symbol from baseball acknowledging someone who meant so much to the game on and off the field. He may not be the all-time greatest hits leader but he ranks among the top ten and that’s something that will never be taken away. September 25, 2014 was a night to truly remember because for one final time, Derek Jeter took the field at Yankee Stadium and left it all on the field. Just as the moments through his career were able to find him, it wasn’t any different that night as number 2 came to the plate with a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth and did so with his classic Jetarian smack of the ball to the right side.
It truly was a storybook ending for Jeter to go out on his final home game of the season. Friends and family in attendance, celebrities who made their way out to see an icon go out in fashion. What made it even special is his former teammates including members of the “Core Four” were there standing on the field watching their teammate and their friend say goodbye one final time. His first manager, Buck Showalter to his father figure manager Joe Torre to his last manager, Joe Girardi it was something you could never dream of if you were Derek Jeter. It may be a day of triumph and sadness but for us the fans it something we will remember for a lifetime. For older fans of the game who were able to see great ballplayers come and go it was just another player but for us who grew up with Derek he will be the player that is all I ever known that stood at shortstop for the New York Yankees.

 With RE2PECT and gratitude,
Thank You Derek

-   Joe Soccoa

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#Seawolves lose at North Dakota 13-3

Grand Forks, N.D. - Senior John Kinder (Inwood, N.Y.) enjoyed his best game as a Seawolf, completing 12 of 18 for 172 yards, but North Dakota used a 92-yard interception for a touchdown in a 13-3 win Saturday at the Alerus Center.
Senior Will Tye (Middletown, Conn.) had five catches for a career-high 103 yards.
The defense was outstanding for the fourth straight game, limiting North Dakota to 145 yards.
Stony Brook got on the board, 3-0, in the second quarter courtesy of a fumble recovery from senior Max Martinez (Wichita, Kan.) on a muffed fair catch. But on the ensuing drive, UND's Joe Mollberg hit Dev Ferguson on a post route for a 68-yard score to make it 6-3.
Midway through the third quarter, Kinder drove the Seawolves down to the North Dakota nine, but on second and goal from the seven, Alex Tillman stepped in front of the pass and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown.
Scoring Drives
• SBU Ball 36 yd field goal, 4-3, 1:33, 3-0
• UND Ferguson 68 yd pass from Mollberg (Taubenheim kick failed), 2-72, 0:45, 3-6
• UND Tillman 92 yd interception return (Taubenheim kick), 3-13
Quotes ...
Head Coach Chuck Priore - "We just have to do a better job at finishing. Our defense and special teams were tremendous tonight. They had 145 yards of total offense and 68 were on the long pass. Great effort from those guys. We were able to move the ball effectively; just couldn't put it away."
News & Notes
• Tonight's game against North Dakota was the second all-time meeting. UND will make the return trip to Long Island in 2016.
• Stony Brook is 0-3 all-time against schools from the Big Sky Conference. In 2012, the Seawolves lost to Montana State, 16-10, in the second round of the Division I Football Championship.
• Ball's field goal in the first half was his first of the season.
• Martinez recorded his second fumble recovery of the season.
• Senior Christian Ricard (Spencer, Mass.) recorded his team-best fifth sack of the season.
• Stony Brook forced eight three-and-outs and allowed North Dakota five first downs. • Junior Naim Cheeseboro (King of Prussia, Pa.) has recorded interceptions in back-to-back games.

Up Next
Stony Brook will host William & Mary on Saturday, September 27 at 6 p.m. in the CAA opener for both teams. It's Homecoming 2014. To purchase tickets, visit GoSeawolves.org/tickets or call (631) 632-WO

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stony Brook well-grounded in easy win over AIC

By Greg Logan, Newsday
It was the kind of rain-soaked night at LaValle Stadium that was fit for neither man nor beast, but the weather conditions were perfect for Stony Brook to get back to what it does best -- run the football.
The Seawolves totaled 300 yards rushing and got 100-yard games from Stacey Bedell and James Kenner on their way to a 20-3 victory over American International on Saturday night.
The rain rendered the quarterback rotation between John Kinder and Conor Bednarski a footnote as the passing game produced a mere 26 yards, but it refreshed the running game and an offense that produced only 19 points in two opening losses.
Bedell broke a 72-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to ignite the offense. When he limped off the field with a minor third-quarter injury, he had 130 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
Kenner, who had languished at No. 4 on the depth chart after leading the Seawolves (1-2) in rushing last season, came off the bench to carry 10 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.
It was the most rushing yards by the Seawolves since they totaled 263 yards in an FCS playoff win over Villanova on Nov. 24, 2012, and the first time they had two running backs with 100 yards in the same game since then. Bedell's 72-yard touchdown was the fifth-longest in the school's Division I history and the longest run since a 71-yard TD by Miguel Maysonet on Sept. 15, 2012, at Syracuse.
"That's the first time in a long time," coach Chuck Priore said of the rushing outburst. "We didn't have one of those games last year."
Speaking of Bedell's run, Priore added: "That's the spark you look for and that you expect of our running game . . . We played our brand of football."
Division II American International (1-1) actually moved the ball effectively in the first quarter, but after reaching the Seawolves' 12-yard line on one possession, running back Adam Salvadori lost 10 yards on three runs before Jared Hulsey missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt wide right.
That defensive sequence was typical for the Seawolves on a night when they threw the Yellow Jackets for losses 16 times, including five sacks. Rover Christian Ricard, who had three tackles for losses, including one sack, said: "Hats off to AIC. They came out swinging. That was one of the most physical games I've played."
But Bedell finally broke it open on a first-down play when he swept right and won a 72-yard race to the end zone.
"It was great to find our identity," Bedell said of the run game. "[AIC] was shooting rushers in the gaps, and I bounced it outside and got a block from the wide receiver. I was confident I could get to the end zone, but it had been a long time since I ran that long."
The next AIC drive ended when safety Naim Cheeseboro made a diving interception at the Yellow Jackets' 43-yard line. The Seawolves actually stalled on a third-down incompletion at the AIC 6-yard line, but a pass-interference penalty put the ball at the 2, setting up another scoring run by Bedell for a 14-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, a Priore faux pas helped the Jackets to their only score. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct with AIC facing fourth-and-18 from its 20-yard line, leading to an automatic first down. Two plays later, AIC quarterback Shawn Brathwaite hit Stephan Davis for a 62-yard gain before he was run down by Ricard. Jared Hulsey converted a 23-yard field goal.
"I own those three points," a chagrined Priore said after the game.
But the Seawolves put the game out of reach by driving 81 yards to score on Kenner's 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter. He carried four times for 52 yards on the drive, including a 30-yard run.
"At Stony Brook, we have so many talented running backs," Kenner said. "All I tried to do was stay focused and stay hungry."
When his chance came, Kenner was ready to run.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#Seawolves defense shines in loss to Connecticut

East Hartford, Conn. -
Despite holding Connecticut to 223 yards of total offense, the Stony Brook football team fell to the Huskies, 19-16, before 23,543 fans at Rentschler Field Saturday.

Stony Brook (0-2) rallied from a 19-10 deficit to cut it to 19-16 after junior Conor Bednarski (South Pasadena, Calif.) found senior Will Tye (Middletown, Conn.) wide open in the end zone with 1:53 to play.

The Seawolves forced a three-and-out on UConn's next drive.  On the fourth down, Justin Wain's punt went two yards, but Stony Brook was called for a roughing the kicker penalty.  The Huskies next attempt pinned the Seawolves inside the 10, where Connecticut forced a turnover on downs.

Down 3-0 midway through the first quarter, senior Max Martinez (Wichita, Kan.) hit Connecticut (1-1) running back Josh Marriner, whose fumble was recovered in the end zone by junior Naim Cheeseboro(King of Prussia, Pa.).
Once again, Stony Brook's defense came to play.  UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer's pass slipped out of his hands and the ball was pounced on by sophomore Aaron Thompson (Deer Park, N.Y.).  Sophomore Przemyslaw Popek (Yonkers, N.Y.) connected for a 33-yard field goal to make it 10-3.
Connecticut took a 12-10 lead after Whitmer hit Geremy Davis in the back of the end zone with 1:51 to play in the first half.  Thompson blocked the extra point as Stony Brook trailed by less than a field goal.
Senior Luke Allen (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) career-long punt of 61 yards was returned 72 yards for a touchdown by Deshon Foxx for a 19-10 lead.

Connecticut accounted for only 79 second-half yards, with 32 coming on the ground.

Stony Brook has 12 tackles for loss, led by senior Christian Ricard's (Spencer, Mass.) 3.5, including two sacks.
Scoring Drives
• UC Puyol 42 yd field goal, 5-42, 2:16, 0-3
• SBU Cheeseboro 2 yard fumble recovery (Popek kick), 7-3
• SBU Popek 33 yd field goal, 4-4, 2:02, 10-3
• UC Puyol 27 yd field goal, 11-55, 5:29, 10-6
• UC Davis 30 yd pass from Whitmer (Puyol kick blocked), 4-30, 4-70, 10-12
• UC Foxx 72 yd punt return (Puyol kick), 10-19
• SBU Tye 14 yd pass from Bednarski (Popek kick failed), 14-88, 5:46, 16-19
Head Coach Chuck Priore - "Great all-around effort.  We certainly had our chances and I'm disappointed we didn't win the game.  I thought it was ours to win a number of times over the course of the game.  But we got better this week, but it's a loss."

Jr. DB Naim Cheeseboro - "Our defense was flying to the ball like ball hawks.  There is always things we can get better at."

Jr. QB Conor Bednarski - "I was able to get into a rhythm with the guys and executed the plays the coaches called.  It was good to get into the end zone but we needed one more when it counted."

Sr. TE Will Tye - "I was ready to be playmaker.  With that, I need to be more consistent.  There is plenty of room of improvement and we showed it in the second game."   
News & Notes
• With the first-quarter touchdown, Stony Brook has led in six of its seven FBS games.
• Popek registered the first points of his career.
• Thompson and Cheeseboro each recorded their first career fumble recoveries.
• In its seven games against FBS opponents, Stony Brook trailed at halftime in four of the contests.
• Stony Brook (0 of 7) and Connecticut combined for 1 of 14 on third-down conversions in the first half.
• Stony Brook accounted for two first downs in the first half.
• Allen has punted 21 times in the last two games.
• The last time Stony Brook allowed a punt return for touchdown was Elon's Karlos Sullivan (81 yards) on September 6, 2008.
• The Seawolves totaled more yards in the third quarter (107) than in the first two quarters (84).
• Stony Brook is 1-6 all-time against FBS opponents.
• Bednarski finished 8 of 19 for 128 yards and a touchdown.  Senior John Kinder (Inwood, N.Y.) was 4 of 10 for 68 yards.
• Tye led the Stony Brook receiving corps with 76 yards.  Seniors Adrian Coxson (Baltimore, Md.) and Jahrie Level (Miami, Fla.) each totaled 50 yards.
• Sophomore Stacey Bedell (Mastic Beach, N.Y.) had 53 rushing yards on 15 attempts.
Up Next
Stony Brook returns home to face American International, a 27-25 winner over Assumption in its season opener, of the Northeast-10 Conference on Saturday, September 13.  Kickoff is 6 p.m.  To purchase tickets, visit GoSeawolves.org or call (631) 632-WOLF. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

#Seawolves MBB announce heavily anticipated 2014-15 schedule


Stony Brook, N.Y. -
 A challenging schedule filled with opponents coming off postseason appearances awaits the Stony Brook men’s basketball team, which released its 2014-15 slate on Friday. The #Seawolves will host six non-conference games at its brand new home, Stony Brook Arena, including Nov. 14 against Columbia, which will serve as the grand re-opening of the facility. The 15-game non-conference schedule also features games against 10 different conferences, including the American, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC, and an appearance in the NIT Season-Tip Off.
“This will be the toughest schedule we have ever faced,” said #Seawolves head coach Steve Pikiell. “Our schedule has multiple teams that won 20 games last season and many of them return the bulk of their starters. They also have a ton of postseason experience, making them battle-tested. This will be a challenge for our young team, but our goals are to compete, get better and get ready for the America East regular season and tournament.”
Nine of Stony Brook’s 15 non-conference games will be against opponents who won 20 or more games last season, and all but one of those teams advanced to national postseason tournaments. In total, Stony Brook’s Div. I non-conference opponents had a .564 winning percentage and four national postseason victories last season. The diversity of the schedule is paramount as the #Seawolves will play opponents across 10 different Div. I conferences, including the American, Big East, CAA, Conference USA, Ivy, MAAC, NEC, Pac-12, Patriot and SEC.


After opening the season against Columbia, which won 21 games and advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinals, the #Seawolves will begin their participation in the NIT Season Tip-Off with a Nov. 18 matchup at Georgia of the SEC. The Bulldogs were a 20-win team a year ago and picked up a win in the NIT first round. 

Stony Brook will then head to Hempstead, N.Y., on Nov. 21 to renew its rivalry with fellow Long Island school Hofstra as the two programs meet on the hardwood for the first time since Dec. 10, 2008. Two days later on Nov. 23, in what will be a homecoming for one individual, Stony Brook will host the United States Merchant Marine Academy. At the helm of the Mariners is Steve Hayn, who played for Stony Brook from 1988-91, scored 1,157 career points and helped lead the program to the 1991 NCAA Div. III Tournament.
The #Seawolves will then resume NIT Season Tip-Off action with three games during Thanksgiving week. On Nov. 25, Stony Brook will host Western Kentucky, which won 20 games last season and is now a member of Conference USA. Two days later on Thanksgiving Day Nov. 27, the #Seawolves will face LIU-Brooklyn at Madison Square Garden, the second consecutive year and third time in the last four years that the program will play at The World’s Most Famous Arena. The game will air on ESPNU. Closing out the NIT Season Tip-Off action is a Nov. 29 home game against St. Thomas Aquinas.
Stony Brook will open December with four consecutive road contests that will challenge the young #Seawolves squad. On Dec. 2, the team travels to Cincinnati to face a Bearcats squad that won 27 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. Then on Dec. 6, the #Seawolves play at Princeton, which won 21 games and advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational last year.
On Dec. 13, Stony Brook faces another NCAA Tournament squad in Providence as the Friars won 23 games a year ago. The team squares up against Canisius in Buffalo on Dec. 18 against a Golden Griffins group that won 21 games and made an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Stony Brook closes out December with home games against Patriot League foes Loyola Maryland (Dec. 21) and American (Dec. 23) before heading out west to play Pac-12 member Washington (Dec. 28) in Seattle.
Stony Brook will play its final non-conference game of the year on Jan. 6 against Columbia, but this time in Manhattan. 
The #Seawolves will play a 16-game, round-robin America East schedule that begins Jan. 3 at home against New Hampshire. Other home games include UMBC (Jan. 14), a re-match with defending conference champion Albany (Jan. 19), Hartford (Jan. 28), Vermont (Feb. 7), Maine (Feb. 14), Binghamton (Feb. 21) and UMass Lowell (Feb. 25).
The America East Championship has moved to a new format and will now be known as the America East Men’s Basketball Playoffs. All games of the eight-team tournament will take place on the campus of the higher seed. The quarterfinals will take place March 4, the semifinals will be played March 8 and the championship game will occur on March 14.
2014-15 MBB Schedule

Monday, September 1, 2014

JUST IN: Tropeano gets called up to Astros!


Stony Brook, N.Y. -
 Former Stony Brook baseball All-American Nick Tropeano (West Islip, N.Y.) is headed to the big leagues as his contract has been selected by the Houston Astros, making him the third #Seawolves player all-time to be on an active Major League roster. Tropeano will be active for Tuesday night's home game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Tropeano joins Joe Nathan '97 and Tom Koehler '08 as Stony Brook Baseball alumni in the Majors and all three are active. Nathan, a six-time MLB All-Star, pitches for the Detroit Tigers, and Koehler pitches for the Miami Marlins.
This season, Tropeano has been stellar pitching for the Oklahoma City Redhawks of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), boasting a 9-5 record and a PCL-best 3.03 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 124-2/3 innings. He also led the PCL with a 0.99 WHIP. At midseason, he was named to the PCL All-Star Game.
Originally a fifth-round selection by the Astros in the 2011 MLB Draft, Tropeano has worked his way up the ranks in the Minor Leagues. After starting in Short-Season A in 2011, he moved up to A ball in 2012 and then AA ball in 2013 before pitching this entire year in AAA. In 90 career Minor League outings, Tropeano is 31-24 with a 3.26 ERA and 479 strikeouts in 469-2/3 innings.
Tropeano was one of the most dominant pitchers in Stony Brook history. In just three seasons of action with the #Seawolves, he ranks in the top five in program history in wins (25), strikeouts (275), ERA (2.84) and innings pitched (250-2/3). He is the only pitcher in America East history to be named America East Pitcher of the Year twice, earning the award in 2010 and 2011. 

Tropeano's 2011 season also ranks as one of the most decorated in conference and school history as he went 12-1 with a 1.84 ERA, setting America East single-season records in wins and strikeouts (119). He ranked seventh in the nation in wins and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (11.52), going on to earn All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper

Stony Brook Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron during WUSB #Seawolves Football game - 8/28/14