Bears With Sticks: The Remarkable Rise of Stony Brook Lacrosse

Barrett Nixon ’97 filets a Harborfields attackman

[Updated May, 2017]

The Stony Brook lacrosse team was a powerhouse, putting together one of the greatest stretches of success in the history of Stony Brook Athletics. During that time the Bears garnered two Suffolk County Championships and multiple Division titles while sending alumni to the top college programs in the nation. Former Bears have gone on to earn five All-American nods and nine National Championships in the college ranks. The beginning of our lacrosse story is one worth remembering. “On three, Mosh. 1-2-3 Mosh!”

John Kenney in 1979

Before 1979, track and field had a stranglehold on the spring sports season at Stony Brook. With 17 League Championships, including an incredible twelve in a row from 1956 to 1967, it appeared that there was little room for another team once the warm days arrived. When John Kenney set foot on campus in the fall of 1979 he was determined to rebut that theory, though the road would not be without its challenges.

It took eight long years for coach Kenney to field a team, but his dream came to fruition in the spring of 1987. The quantity of players was encouraging, despite their lack of experience. 28 boys strode out to the field on the first day of practice, only three of whom had previous lacrosse experience. As the season commenced the Brook lost their first seven games, but on April 21st a milestone in Stony Brook lacrosse history was made as the Blue and White took down Commack North, 7-6, on Eric Korneffel’s score with 6:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. The first season was a difficult one as the raw crew went through its growing pains. “It was a baptism by fire,” said Kenney in the Summer 1987 Stony Brook Bulletin. “We are gaining experience in one of the best lacrosse areas in the country.” Though the season’s results were marred by defeats, hope shone in the team’s youth as 7th graders and future stars Toby Hanchett and Jeremy Linzee earned varsity letters for the Shrikes (we became the Bears in 1987-88).

Stony Brook’s inaugural lacrosse team in 1987

Improvement was readily seen in the spring of 1988 as the Bears went 4-5 in the league and 6-6 overall behind the leadership of seniors Jamie Coane, Steve Peters, and Hank Czerwinski. The fourth game of the season was an indication that the Bears were on the rise. After falling to Rocky Point’s established program 14-3 the season before, the Brook took the Eagles to the brink, eventually falling 10-9. However, the Blue and White would snare the first of many subsequent meaningful victories and a measure of revenge with a 5-4 decision over Rocky Point later in the season. Other wins in the second season included: 3-1 vs. Deer Park, 8-5 vs. Knox, 8-3 vs. Commack North, 2-1 vs. Babylon, and 10-2 vs. Commack North. Jamie Coane led the team in scoring with 18 goals and 4 assists and the future of the program continued to look bright as the first year junior high team went 6-2.

1989 brought with it a beloved tradition as Stony Brook played host to the 1st Annual Bear Shootout and with the team finishing 11-6 it appeared that the Bears were gaining traction in the lacrosse world. The Bears began the year with four straight wins over Rocky Point (12-3), Deer Park (8-2), John Glenn (11-0), and Trinity (11-1). The Blue and White also claimed victories over Kings Park (9-3), York Prep (9-2), Babylon (8-2), Harborfields (7-4), Fordham Prep (15-2), Half Hollow Hills West (11-2), and Knox (12-4). James Hagn led the team in points with 55 (29 goals, 26 assists) followed by Lael Campbell (47), Tom Keating (39), Greg Mahland (36), and Toby Hanchett (33) for a balanced scoring attack.

1990 saw another first for the team as they began competition at the varsity level. As the season got underway the Bears laid claim to the 2nd Annual Bear Shootout title with victories over Fordham Prep (15-5) and St. John the Baptist (6-5) in the championship on Tom Keating’s goal with 1:47 remaining in the game. Goalie Ben Heinsohn took home MVP honors with 12 saves in the two wins. The Blue and White finished a remarkable 9-9 which included two upset victories over Class A schools Kings Park (10-8) and Deer Park (13-3). Further encouraging Kenney and Co., of their nine losses, three came in overtime and six were by 2 goals or less. 1st Team All-League honors went to offensive catalysts Joe Loiacono (29 goals, 27 assists), Toby Hanchett (33, 26) and James Hagn (33, 27). Ben Heinsohn found a place on the 2nd Team with his 165 saves. In only the program’s fourth season and first at the varsity level, the Bears were establishing themselves among the best teams in the league as evidenced by an article in Newsday, “Watch Out for Little SBS”:

The Stony Brook School may be one of Long Island’s smallest schools, but it may have the biggest percentage of lacrosse players. Fifty-six of the school’s 120 boys play the sport. Little wonder Stony Brook has fared well in its first year of public-school competition.

“We only have one senior,” coach John Kenney said. “We should be a contender in League V in the next two years.”

Jim Bickley runs through a check in the ’93 edition of the Bear Shootout

A slight dip in success marked the 1991 season as the squad went 3-11 in the league and 6-11 overall with two setbacks coming in overtime and eight by two goals or less. Still, there were some positives for the team to hold onto as they looked ahead. First, the team won the 3rd Annual Bear Shootout for the second straight year with triumphs over Poly Prep (7-1) and Jamaica High (9-5). Matt Bell grabbed MVP honors with 3 goals and an assist in the championship.

Then came a sensational victory on the spring break trip to Virginia. The Brook tangled with St. Anne’s Belfield, a team that has won seven Virginia state crowns since 1980 and is perennially ranked in the upper echelon of the powerhouse mid-Atlantic region. As if the challenge were not great enough, the Bears were missing three starters who were unable to make the trip and were additionally hampered by a Virginia lacrosse rule about the number of long poles on a team, requiring Todd Weiss and Nate Carlson to play with short sticks for the first time. Despite these hurdles, the Saints were handed an 8-5 defeat by their northern visitors as Hagn scored 3 goals while Sam Hanchett and Matt Bell notched two apiece. Bell remembered what it was like to beat St. Anne’s on their home turf: “When we were walking around the University of Virginia community the day before and people would ask us who we were playing, they were so confident we were going to lose. But we had great coaches and great players and wanted to show what we could do.”

The last bright spot came after the Bears’ season had concluded. In the weeks after Commencement, Toby Hanchett earned a place on the Empire State Lacrosse Team, one of only twenty spots handed out to Long Island players, and helped the islanders grab the gold medal later that summer. Jeremy Linzee landed a spot on the Suffolk County All-Stars, which played over the summer, by way of his outstanding play on defense. Postseason honors went to Toby Hanchett (31 goals, 16 assists) who became the school’s first All-County lacrosse player while Matt Bell (22 goals, 12 assists) garnered 1st Team All-League and Ben Heinsohn (.779 save %) and Chris Lunati received the 2nd Team nod.

(L-R) Lunati, Heinsohn, T. Hanchett and Bell (MVP) with the 1991 Bear Shootout trophy

The Bears upward climb continued in 1992 as they made another successful spring break trip below the Mason-Dixon Line. This time the Bears traveled to North Carolina to battle Nasemond Suffolk of Virginia, coming out on top. After returning home, the Blue and White secured their third straight Bear Shootout title over former Ivy League adversaries Horace Mann (11-4) and Poly Prep (9-5). The Bears finished 6-9 and were led by a balanced offense: Alex Radin (25 goals, 9 assists), Rich Droscoski (21, 11), Peter Miller (20, 8), freshman Sam Hanchett (14, 11), and 8th-grader Jake Kenney (16, 1). A solid defense was bolstered by Chris Gladding, Tom Weiss, Jeremy Linzee, and Nate Carlson. 1st Team All-League went to Droscoski, Radin, and Linzee while Carlson, Gladding, and Miller earned 2nd Team honors.

Sam Hanchett

In 1993 the Bears were on the cusp of becoming a truly great team, showing their potential in an 11-8 defeat to rival and perennial power Comsewogue in the season opener. The Blue and White also earned their first playoff victory with a 9-6 triumph over Rocky Point in the quarterfinals of the Suffolk County Class B Championships. The Brook eventually fell to Islip 8-6 in the semifinals, but for the first time in team history the Brook finished over .500 with a 10-6 record. Alex Radin led the team in scoring with 48 goals and 18 assists while Sam Hanchett chipped in 26 goals and 16 assists. Honors abounded for the Bears as Droscoski, Radin, and Linzee were named to the All-County Team, joining Toby Hanchett as the only All-County stickmen in school history. Carlson and Jake Kenney earned 1st Team All-League and Hanchett, Jim Bickley, Matt Avitable, and Spencer Niebuhr garnered 2nd Team recognition. Additionally, Kenney was named the League VI Rookie of the Year.

Game balls from the ’94 & ’95 County Championship victories

Optimism surrounded the 1994 team as eight starters returned to the squad. The rest of the league was not as hopeful of Stony Brook’s chances, as the coaches picked them to finish 4th behind Comsewogue, Rocky Point, and Harborfields, but Newsday mentioned Stony Brook as “a potential dark horse” in the race for the Class B crown. An early indicator of the team’s potential was a 3-2 victory over Sachem, the 1993 New York State Champions, in an early season scrimmage. Their season opener was a foreshadowing of the County Championship as the Bears met Half Hollow Hills West, falling 6-1. They followed the loss with victories over Rocky Point (8-4) and Deer Park (7-1) before an 8-6 setback to Comsewogue. In the following game the Brook showed their championship mettle by overcoming a 6-1 deficit to defeat Babylon 9-8 in double-overtime on a goal by Sam Hanchett. The Bears would win six of their next seven games, including a two-game stretch in which they beat Shoreham-Wading River and Wyandanch by a combined score of 35-11, before once again succumbing to the Warriors of Comsewogue. The Bears would recover to win their last three games of the season over Rocky Point (11-3), Babylon (9-4), and Deer Park (10-4) to finish 12-4 and clinch their first Division II Title.

In the postseason, the #3 Blue and White met #2 Comsewogue for the third time with a place in the County Championship on the line. Knotted at 2-2 after the 1st quarter, the Bears surged to a 5-3 halftime lead. The Brook still led 5-4 entering the 4th quarter, but with 6:05 left in the game the Warriors grabbed their first lead of the contest, securing a 6-5 advantage. For much of the final six minutes both teams were locked in a defensive standstill until Jim Bickley found Spencer Niebuhr for a miracle goal with 6 seconds left to tie the game at 6-6. Jake Kenney opened up the scoring with only 1:14 gone in the first overtime on a pass from Niebuhr as Stony Brook took a 7-6 advantage. The Bears scored 2 goals in each of the two overtime periods to finally defeat the Warriors in a 10-7 thriller to earn a place in their first County Title game.

Their opponent was #1-seeded Half Hollow Hills West, the reigning County Champions. In a game defined by defense, the Bears triumphed 4-3 over the Colts as John Kenney saw his eight-year project finally blossom into a championship program. Goalie Matt Avitable registered 11 saves including two crucial stops in the final two minutes to preserve the program’s first title. Jake Kenney tallied 2 goals, Hanchett notched a goal and 3 assists, and Niebuhr added a goal. It was a watershed year for the Bears as they were ranked in the state for the first time in team history at #13 among the small schools and ranked #9 in the entire county behind such perennial powers as Ward Melville, Sachem, and West Islip. Postseason honors abounded once again as Jake Kenney, Hanchett, and Jonas Fischer made the All-County Team. Niebuhr, Bickley, and Ed Hughey joined those three on the All-League 1st Team while Alistair Green, Dave Johnson, Matt Avitable, Dave Metz, and Evan Tiska made the 2nd Team for a total of eleven boys distinguished for their accomplishments on the field. Additionally, Derek Kenney followed his brother Jake as the Division II Rookie of the Year.

The 1994 Suffolk County Champions

The Bears returned all ten starters from the ’94 County Championship team and began 1995 right where they left off, setting fire to the league with a 9-0 start marked by victories over Lower Marion (PA), Wyandanch, Deer Park, and a 16-0 drubbing of Shoreham, just the program’s second shutout. The season was also highlighted by two victories over heated rival Comsewogue. Along the way Jake Kenney became the first Bear to score 100 goals and Sam Hanchett became the program’s all-time points leader with 166. But the boys saved their best for the postseason, galvanized by the offense of Liam Banks, Jim Bickley, Jake Kenney, and Spencer Niebuhr and the goalie play of Derek Kenney. Our boys won a second straight Suffolk County Championship over Half Hollow Hills West, 8-7, and earned a spot in the Long Island Championship.

In the LI title game played at Hofstra University it took the Manhasset Indians until sudden-death overtime to defeat the Bears, 9-8, in a fevered battle. Manhasset went on to win the New York State crown, 14-4, over Corning East.

Once again the postseason teams were littered with Bears as Hanchett, Jake Kenney, Niebuhr, and Bickley made the All-County Team while Metz, Hughey, and Derek Kenney joined them on the All-Division II 1st Team. 2nd Team recognition went to Evan Tiska, Luke Fischer, and Eaghmon Banks. John Kenney and Dave Castle were deservedly named the Division II Coaches of the Year. When summer arrived Team Long Island’s Empire State Games roster was flooded with Bears as both Kenneys, Niebuhr, and Clark helped secure the team’s first gold medal in three years.

Specialist Dave Metz faces off in the 1995 County Championship

1996 marked the tenth year of the Stony Brook lacrosse program and the Bears entered the season ranked #1 in the county in class B. The team finished 12-2 in the league (12-4 overall), their best record in history. The season was punctuated by several milestones as the Blue and White won their 100th game in a 13-6 win over Babylon and Jake Kenney became the first and only high school All-American for the Bears’ lacrosse team. A squad that sported nine future college players, with six going to Division I schools, the Brook captured the Division II Championship and met Rocky Point in the County semifinal. The Eagles took an early lead and seemed destined to upset the two-time defending champs, but the Bears reeled off six 4th quarter goals, all coming in the final five minutes of the game, to snare a 12-7 win. Comsewogue awaited in the County Final eager for revenge after falling to the Bears in the semifinals the previous two seasons. In a heart-breakingly close affair that required overtime, they saw their string of Suffolk County Championships stopped by the Warriors, 10-8. Jake Kenney, Derek Kenney, Liam Banks, and Spencer Niebuhr were voted to the All-County Team while Metz, Chris Clark, Peter Litman, and Charlie Hanchett joined them on the All-Division Team. Derek Kenney made Team Long Island’s Empire State Team and helped the islanders win gold for a second straight year.

In 1997 there were several indicators that showed Stony Brook had firmly established itself on the lacrosse landscape. Coach and program founder John Kenney received the Lacrosse Honor Award from the New York State Coaches Association while the 9th Annual Bear Shootout was inundated with requests from schools all across the country, as far away as California. In the season opener the Bears faced the powerful West Islip Lions, ranked #10 in the state among the large schools, in a non-league tilt. 3 goals apiece from Liam Banks and Charlie Hanchett and 10 saves from Derek Kenney helped the Blue and White secure a 7-5 upset win. After a 5-4 setback to Bethpage, the Bears reeled off wins against Islip, Harborfields, and Hills West before falling to Comsewogue 10-8. Six straight wins followed in which the Brook outscored its opponents by a combined 83-23 with massacres against Babylon (12-3), Rocky Point (13-2), Shoreham-Wading River (16-4), Islip (19-6), Hills West (11-3), and Harborfields (12-5). Their win streak was stopped in the Coca Cola Classic under the lights against Comsewogue before 1,000 fans. The Bears battled valiantly, coming back from a 4-0 halftime deficit, but eventually succumbed to the Warriors, 7-6. The Bears closed the season by dismantling Babylon in the Bear-Panther Faceoff, 18-2, and Rocky Point, 15-1. Behind the play of Hanchett (29 goals, 31 assists), Banks (48, 53), Jay Miaritis (31, 10), Barrett Nixon, and Kenney (.762 save %), the Bears went 12-2 (14-4 overall) for the second straight year and once again captured the Division II Championship.

The Brook went on to defeat Harborfields 14-6 in the County semifinal behind 4 goals from Banks and 3 each from Dennis Cassidy and Kevin McCrain, giving them a fourth consecutive berth in the Suffolk County Finals. But the Bears were unable to recapture the County title, falling once again to the Comsewogue Warriors, 11-7. On the merits of their outstanding seasons, four Bears were selected All-County: Banks, Kenney, Nixon, and Hanchett. All-Division went to Miaritis, McCrain, and Kevin Graves. Nate Kenney also became the third Kenney brother to win Division II Rookie of the Year honors. When June arrived Derek Kenney played for the Empire State Team, winning a third gold medal with Team Long Island. At the season’s end the Blue and White were ranked #6 in New York State by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

In ’97 4 Bears were among the best in the County. (L-R) Hanchett, Banks, Kenney, Nixon

By 1998 college scouts routinely showed up to watch the Bears continue their winning ways, but the word that defined the ’98 campaign was “adversity” as the team lost two of the best players in the County and an additional four starters to injuries. Three of the replacements had never played lacrosse before and two freshman had to fill holes in the starting lineup. Stony Brook preaches character, and the character of captains Jay Miaritis and Kevin Graves had to be strong for the Blue and White to overcome. The season opened on a high note as the boys dismantled Islip 17-4 behind a combined effort of 9 goals and 2 assists from Sean Metz and Jay Miaritis, 11 saves from Dave Pike, and nine of twelve faceoffs won by Jim Stanek.

Despite their many hurdles, it was a triumphant regular season as the Brook posted an 11-4 overall record, arranging a County semifinal showdown with Shoreham-Wading River, whom the Bears had dispatched 16-0 three years earlier. The Brook had no such comfort level in the rematch as the Wildcats took a 4-3 lead into halftime. “We told Miaritis at halftime that he’s one of the few seniors that has been here since we won the title in 1995,” said John Kenney to Newsday, “and it’s going to fall to the seniors to do that kind of job.” Down 6-3 in the third quarter, the Bears responded as Sean Metz scored one of his four unassisted goals with 2:44 remaining in the quarter. Stony Brook tied the game at 6-6 just 1:35 into the fourth on goals by Mike Titus and Nate Kenney. Shoreham grabbed the lead right back, netting a shot 36 seconds later, but Miaritis tied the game just 37 seconds after that. The Bears then took their first lead since early in the opening quarter when Metz scored on a dodge from behind the cage. The day seemed to be Stony Brook’s, but the Wildcats put the celebration on hold, knotting the contest on a 15-yard bullet with a mere 47 seconds remaining. The moment cried out for a leader and one clad in blue and white responded. With 29 seconds on the clock, Miaritis rose to the challenge given by coach Kenney, providing the winning score on a bounce shot that seemingly traveled 5 mph, kissed off the net and fell along with the dreams of SWR.

The Stony Brook boys lacrosse team needed a lift from someone who had been there before, a battle-tested veteran who had endured his share of playoff wars over the past four years. And with the new kid on the block giving the Bears everything they could handle, senior attackman James Miaritis stepped up and delivered.

Newsday on Miaritis’ game-winner vs. Shoreham

“We had the experience and we knew what it took to win this game,” said Miaritis to Newsday, “and we went out and did it.” The Bears had overcome all the odds to earn an unprecedented fifth straight berth in the County Final. However, they again came up empty, falling to perennial foe and eventual State Champion, Comsewogue. Sean Metz made the Empire State Team and helped Team Long Island win a fourth straight gold medal later that summer.

The celebration is on after Jay Miaritis nets the game-winner vs. Shoreham

After losing to the arch-rival Warriors in the County Final for the third straight year, the Bears would get a measure of revenge in 1999. Comsewogue was ranked #4 in the nation and came to Stony Brook riding a 26-game winning streak. They were led by Kevin Cassese, who would go on to become a three-time All-American and ACC Player of the Year at Duke. Few on either side of the bleachers thought the Bears stood much of a chance in the face of the offensive juggernaut, but the boys in white believed and showed it from the outset. The Bears held a 2-1 lead after the 1st quarter, but two turnovers in the final 30 seconds of the 2nd quarter allowed the opportunistic Warriors to take a 6-3 lead into the half. Coach Kenney’s halftime speech was not a long one. “We told them this was their game, it was on their shoulders, and they had to go out and win it back,” recounted Kenney to Newsday. The Bears responded with a 3-0 run to begin the third, knotting the game at 6-6, before “The ‘Wogue” took a 8-7 lead going into the final frame. Mike Titus scored early in the 4th to tie it at 8-8 and a defensive stalemate ensued. It was senior Sean Metz that finally took advantage, providing the game-winner with 1:52 left on the clock on an assist from Jay Smith. The Warriors would have one final chance on a Cassese cannon with four seconds remaining, but the hopes of the blue and gold were finally snuffed out by goalie Dave Pike. Metz finished with 3 goals and 3 assists with the remaining scoring provided by Titus (2), Nick Miaritis (2), Chris Albert (1), and Smith (1).

The story of the game; however, was the Bears’ defense that held Comsewogue to two second half goals and shut them out in the fourth quarter. Nate Kenney put a firm stamp on the game with his short stick defense, holding Cassese to just one goal by running him ragged and constantly frustrating his efforts. Pike sparkled in goal, making 11 saves. In a thrilling triumph, one of the greatest in the program’s history, the Brook prevailed 9-8 accomplishing what 26 other teams had tried to do but had failed as the last loss for the Warriors came in a Long Island Championship defeat to Garden city in June of 1997. With the win, the Blue and White again proved that they were one of the Island’s most dangerous teams. The Bears finished the season by locking up their sixth straight Division II crown, the last Championship of the Stony Brook lacrosse empire. After the season Nate Kenney became the latest in a long line of Empire State Games participants, helping Team Long Island to a silver medal.

Over a span of 13 years John Kenney and Dave Castle took a program from infancy to maturity proven by a number of banners in Swanson Gymnasium. In 1999 John Kenney departed for Detroit Country Day School in Michigan and Dave Castle followed suit in 2001 by accepting a position at Annapolis Area Christian School in Maryland. While Stony Brook lacrosse soldiered on without its two mainstays, producing great individual talent along the way like Greg Titus and Conor O’Keefe, the Bears would never regain their past glory, eventually fizzling out entirely after the spring of 2006, twenty years after its inception. While the end of the program’s first chapter is a sad one, the page turns to the next.

In the spring of 2017 the program was resurrected with the help and support of numerous alumni and friends of the program. It is only a matter of time until the Bears reclaim their place as one of the most feared teams on Long Island.

Stony Brook Alumni

  • Ben Heinsohn ’91 – Hampden-Sydney College | All-ODAC in 1995… member of ODAC Champions.
  • Jeremy Linzee ’93 – Harvard University | Harvard’s Most Improved Player in 1995… All-Ivy League in 1996… 1997 Preseason All-American by Collegiate Lacrosse Magazine… Academic All-Ivy League in 1997.
  • Nate Carlson ’93 – Johns Hopkins University
  • Rich Droscoski ’93 – Lehigh University
  • Alex Radin ’93 – Villanova University
  • Toby Hanchett ’93 – Gordon College | 1997 Preseason All-American… Gordon’s 5th-highest assists (37) in a season in 1997… Gordon’s 5th-highest points (80) in a season in 1997.
  • Alistair Green ’94 – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Jonas Fischer ’94 – Colgate University
  • Ed Hughey ’94 – Dartmouth University
  • Eaghman Banks ’95 – Hampden-Sydney College
  • Sam Hanchett ’95 – Gettysburg College
  • Evin Steed ’95 – Williams College
  • Jim Bickley ’96 – University of Maryland
  • Chris Clark ’96 – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
No rivalry can come between brothers: Jake Kenney and Jeremy Linzee’s squads meet in 1997
  • Jake Kenney ’96 – Princeton University | 1997 & 1998 National Champion
  • Peter Litman ’96 – Whittier College
  • Dave Metz ’96 – Drexel University | Dragons’ best faceoff man in 1998 (.691%).
  • Spencer Niebuhr ’96 – Hobart College | 7th on the team in points (14) in 2000.
  • Charlie Hanchett ’97 – Gettysburg College | Member of 4 straight Centennial Conference Championship teams… 3 assists in 2001 Conference Championship… goal in 2001 National Championship…4 goals and 1 assist in 2001 NCAA tournament… 6th on the team in points in 2000 (26) and 2001 (28).
  • Kevin McCrain ’97 – Gettysburg College
  • Barrett Nixon ’97 – University of Pennsylvania
  • Derek Kenney ’98 – University of Virginia | 1999 National Champion… started in goal as a freshman, first player at UVA since 1979… 13 saves in 1st collegiate game vs. Syracuse… 14th in the nation in goals against average (8.87)… 10 saves in the ACC Championship vs. Duke including two in the final 20 seconds to preserve win… 15 saves in National Semifinal vs. Hopkins… 12 saves in National Championship, one of only six freshman goalies in history to start on a National Championship team… 1999 NCAA All-Tournament Team with more saves than goals allowed in 3 games… 110 saves (.512%) in 2000, anchoring 10th best defense in nation that surrendered only 8.4 goals per game.
  • Liam Banks ’98 – Syracuse University | Member of U.S. U-19 All World Team in 1999… 2000 National Champion… Most Valuable Player of 2000 National Championship, scoring 6 goals (on 6 shots), the most in a Championship since 1981… 2000 & 2001 Honorable Mention All-American… 2nd on the team in points (66) in 2000… 14th in the nation in assists (27) in 2000… 4th on the team in points 2001 (50) & 2003 (33)… Played Major League Lacrosse from 2005-2009 for the New Jersey Pride, San Francisco Dragons and Chicago Machine.
  • Jay Miaritis ’98 – Cornell University
  • Ben Bitonti ’99 – University of Massachusetts
  • Sean Metz ’99 – Drexel University | 7th on the team in points (10) in 2003.
  • David Pike ’99 – Drexel University
  • Nick Miaritis ’01 – Georgetown University | 2005 Honorable Mention All-American… captain in 2005… 7th on the team in points (10) in 2003… 4th on the team in points in 2004 (26) and 2005 (25).
  • Nathan Kenney ’01 – University of Virginia & Syracuse University | 2003 National Champion… 4 goals as a freshman in 2002… game-changing hit in final minutes of 2003 National Championship, helping seal the 9-7 win over Hopkins… ripped a hole in the net on a shot in the 2006 Final Four vs. UVA… played professionally for the Denver Outlaws in 2007.
  • Conor O’Keefe ’03 – Nazareth College | 2007 Honorable Mention All-Empire 8… 7th on the team in points (21) in 2005… 6th on the team in points (27) in 2007.
  • Greg Titus ’03 – Salisbury University | 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 National Champion… 3 goals in 2007 Championship… 2 goals and 3 assists in 2008 08 Championship… finished college career undefeated… 2007 & 2008 Honorable Mention All-American… led nation in goals (76) and 5th in points (91) in 2007… 16 hat tricks in 2007 including a 7 goals, 2 assists vs. Mary Washington… scored five goals 14 times… 133 career goals.
  • Adam Kenney ’03 – Penn State University
  • Eric Everitt ’04 – University of Mary Washington
  • Dan Hickey ’04 – Gordon College | 2007 Honorable Mention All-Commonwealth Coast Conference… captain in 2008.
Titus in the 2007 National Championship



  1. I was on that 1987 “Inaugural Team”. I am right behind David Morken who is wearing the number 14 jersey. I “ended up” on the lacrosse team after going out for tennis, getting in a fight with Mr Jordan and deciding that I did not want to play tennis. It was a great experience. I am not sure who the three with any experience you are referring to, but two of the three were David Joinnides and John David Hardt. I enjoyed being on that team immensely. We did have fun, we learned a lot. The football players on the team would occasionally get flattened by “wussy” soccer players and the soccer players would occasionally get out finessed by the “neanderthal” football players. Thanks for posting this blog.

    Greg Shields ’87


  2. Oh, it should be noted that the inaugural lacrosse team was NOT the Bears, we were, and always proudly will be, Shrikes!


  3. Dan, great job putting this together! It brought back a lot of fantastic memories. I came to Stony Brook hardly knowing what lacrosse was. Learning the game from great coaches like John Kenney and Dave Castle was literally a life changing experience for me. Now I have the joy of teaching and coaching my kids in the game that we all love.


  4. A great recap! It brings back many fond memories, and it’s easy to see how the sport lead to great collegiate pursuits for many of the players. Coaches Kenney and Castle were also two of the strongest positive influences I’ve ever had in my life. I’m forever grateful for their commitment to the team, the program, the players, and the school. The game has really opened a number of doors for me, and I’m still playing in the 30+ league each season here in Denver, CO.

    Thanks for putting this together Dan, hopefully one day the program will make a strong return!


  5. Just saw this posted on Facebook- and it was an amazing read. So happy to see pictures of the guys we cheered on to so many victories. I just started a youth lacrosse league in Jersey City- where NOONE has lax experience. Dave Metz (’96) came and helped out at a clinic we had- would love some more SBS representation!

    Thanks for putting this together. I can not even imagine SBS without lacrosse. But you put it well. Coach Kenney and Coach Castle were inspriational to us all- even the girls who didn’t play for them. Awesome work. -Emily Litman (1994)


  6. Wow…. What a great post.. @Nate remember that… short sticks on D….

    “and were additionally hampered by a Virginia lacrosse rule about the number of long poles on a team, requiring Todd Weiss and Nate Carlson to play with short sticks for the first time.”

    I had to borrow a friends stick for the game against STAB…..


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