The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team began their quest for a national championship in earnest on Thursday.
The Seawolves held their first official practice of the spring semester inside the Stony Brook Indoor Training Complex.
Lofty expectations already have been heaped on the program.
Stony Brook enters the 2021 season ranked fifth in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Preseason Top 20 poll. And standout midfielder Ally Kennedy — the subject of soon-to-be aired features on Fox and ABC — landed on the cover of the January issue of US Lacrosse Magazine as the publication’s national Preseason Player of the Year.
“This is probably the realest year that it’s been to accomplish the dream of winning a national championship and getting to the Final Four — being the first Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team to do that,” Kennedy said. “I think it’s right at our fingertips this season.”
Kennedy highlights the deepest midfield of coach Joe Spallina‘s 10-season tenure at Stony Brook. That midfield group also includes USC graduate transfer and former Pac-12 first-team all-conference selection Kaeli Huff, 2019 first-team All-America East pick Siobhan Rafferty (who missed last season rehabbing an ACL tear after tallying 50 goals the previous year), Kira Accettella, Sarah Pulis, Charlotte Verhulst and freshman phenom Ellie Masera, who happens to be Huff’s cousin.
“What’s really cool about it is that everyone is constantly working and giving 110 percent,” Huff said. “It’s not like there’s a drop-off. Every single person is pushing each other and wants to get better.”
During Spallina’s now 10 seasons at the helm, Stony Brook has produced a 143-27 overall record, seven straight America East titles, and currently rides a 44-game winning streak against conference opponents.
Kennedy enters the season ranked second in program history in draw controls (242), fourth in goals (193), fifth in points (248), fifth in ground balls (133) and 10th in assists (55).
Fellow grad student Taryn Ohlmiller, an attacker, was ranked the No. 47 college lacrosse player, man or woman, by Inside Lacrosse in December. She ranks second in program history in career assists (138), third in points (305) and fifth in goals (167).
“Everybody really believes in this. We can make it to the national championship,” Huff said. “It’s really cool to have this common goal. Everybody has bought into that.”