SBU Sports: Women’s lacrosse wins second consecutive CAA championship

SBU Sports: Women’s lacrosse wins second consecutive CAA championship

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

For the second year in a row, the No. 14 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team has won the CAA Championship after defeating the No. 2 seed Drexel, 9-6 on May 4. With the win, the Seawolves earn their 11th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a streak that dates back to the 2013 season and they extended their season-long winning streak to 12 games in a row.

Stony Brook captured its 10th conference championship title in program history (two CAA, eight America East) and won its ninth at home inside Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

The Seawolves were fueled by a standout defensive effort en route to victory as they limited the Dragons to just six goals, 15 shots, and eight shots on goal. In addition, the Stony Brook defense forced 18 turnovers and held Drexel’s top scorer Corinne Bednarik to just one goal and a season-high seven turnovers.  

 After trailing 2-0 midway through the second quarter, Stony Brook senior defender Clare Levy charged towards goal with a full head of steam and found the back of the net for the Seawolves’ first goal of the game. The Stony Brook crowd erupted when Levy scored, and it gave the Seawolves the momentum that it needed to close out the first half.

Drexel took a narrow 3-2 lead into the halftime break after the teams traded goals to close out the second quarter. Stony Brook took control of the game in the second half and used a 6-0 run to take the lead and never looked back.

The run was fueled by five different goal scorers as Ellie Masera (scored twice), graduate attack Kailyn Hart, graduate midfielder Charlotte Verhulst, graduate midfielder Erin MacQuarrie, and graduate attack Morgan Mitchell all tallied goals over the run.

Masera led all players with a game-high three goals to pace the scoring for the Seawolves. Hart registered a pair of goals for her 15th multi-goal performance of the season and 11th in a row. The aforementioned Levy, Verhulst, Mitchell and MacQuarrie all tallied one goal apiece.

 Verhulst helped the Seawolves win the battle for the draws as she recorded a season-high seven draw controls, which allowed Stony Brook to out-draw Drexel, 12-5. Masera added a pair of draw controls and set the Seawolves’ single-season record for most draw controls with 136. The senior moved past Kerri McCarthy, who previously held the record with 135 draw controls in 2018.

Defensively, Hines continued her dominance as she caused five more turnovers and she too set a Stony Brook single-season record. With her 60 caused turnovers, Hines moves past Brook Gubitosi (55 in 2017) for the most caused turnovers in a single season in program history.

Four Seawolves earned All-Championship Team honors for their standout play in the tournament. Masera, Verhulst, Hart, and Levy were named members of the All-Championship Team, with Masera taking home the Most Outstanding Performer honor.

Head coach Joe Spallina is now 21-1 in conference tournament games as Stony Brook head coach and the Seawolves have won 20 consecutive conference tournament games under him.

“What a crazy game, right? I’m really happy for our players,” said Coach Spallina postgame. “Drexel came in and played a hard game. … I’m proud of how our players responded. Defensively I thought we were phenomenal the entire game, and I thought we played really good offense. For the seniors to go out with a win at LaValle Stadium, that’s apropos,” he said.

Up next, the team is set to take on MAAC Champion Niagara in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament in Syracuse on May 10, at 2 p.m., as announced during the Selection Show on May 5. The winner of the first round matchup will face No. 3 seeded Syracuse on May 12.