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Stony Brook Athletics

Stony Brook University’s head women’s basketball coach, Ashley Langford. Photo courtesy SBU

By Daniel Dunaief

Ashley Langford’s college basketball life is coming full circle.

This time, instead of dishing assists as a guard, she’ll be patrolling the sidelines as head coach.

After three successful years as head coach for Stony Brook University’s women’s basketball team, including the first ever postseason win in the WBIT, Langford is replacing the retiring Lisa Stockton, her former coach at Tulane University. Langford, who was a star guard from 2005 to 2009 at Tulane, will become the seventh head coach of the women’s team and the first African American to lead the team.

“I didn’t even think I’d be coaching,” said Langford in an interview from Tulane just hours after touching down in the Crescent City. Stockton “is the one during my senior year who thought I should start coaching. It’s ironic that I’m now taking over for her.”

In a wide ranging interview, Langford, who is Tulane’s career leader in assists, assists per game and minutes per game and was inducted into the school’s athletics Hall of Fame in 2018, reflected on the recent record-setting audiences for the women’s games in March Madness, her time at Stony Brook and her new opportunity as coach at Tulane.

March Madness

While Langford didn’t watch much of the tournament, as she prepared the Seawolves for their postseason games and was contemplating a move back to New Orleans, she did catch the Final Four.

At the end of a Final Four game watched by a record 14.2 million people between the University of Connecticut and Iowa, Connecticut was behind by one point with the ball and seconds left on the clock.

An official called a foul on a moving screen on Connecticut’s Aaliyah Edwards, who was blocking Iowa’s Gabbie Marshall. Numerous prominent basketball pundits thought the call was either incorrect or inappropriate.

“That call has been made all season long,” Langford said. “In my opinion, they call that a moving screen. It’s up to the ref making the best decision in that moment.”

Officials “aren’t supposed to make calls depending on the time of the game,” she added. “To me, they called that all season long.”

Langford thought a final between Iowa and South Carolina expected a more competitive game because she thought Iowa had a deeper team than Connecticut, a perennial powerhouse that had been dealing with injuries.

For the first time ever, the TV audience for the women’s final far outdid the men’s final, with a peak of 24 million viewers for the women’s game on Sunday compared to the 14.82 million for the men.

In the final, Langford was “looking for some good basketball” and thought it was exciting that South Carolina became only the 10th women’s team to finish the season without a loss.

Langford was rooting for the Gamecocks and their coach, Dawn Staley, who was also a standout player before joining the coaching ranks.

Staley has “been a great representative of black women,” Langford said.

Her SB legacy

As for her time at Stony Brook, Langford is pleased with how well the team came together and with the school’s winning culture, which she anticipates continuing.

“I told the team when I departed, ‘No one will be able to take that away from us. This team is etched in Stony Brook history,’” she said. “We have a great group of women who were great in the classroom and on the court. They were able to achieve a lot of success.”

Indeed, Stony Brook finished first in the Colonial Athletic Association, winning the conference with a record of 16-2 and an overall record of 28-5 in Langford’s final season as coach. The team went 13-1 on their home floor.

The Seawolves were one win away from entering March Madness, when they lost 68-60 in the conference championship game to Drexel.

“We played one of our worst games of the season on one of the most important days,” Langford recalled. “There’s shots that we normally make that we didn’t make and there’s shots that they made that they don’t normally make.”

Langford doesn’t want to take anything away from Drexel, as she recognized that they were “the better team that day.”

When she started at Stony Brook, she had several goals. She was thrilled that Gigi Gonzalez earned CAA Player of the Year honors for 2023-2024.

In guiding Stony Brook, Langford was voted 2023-2024 CAA Coach of the Year.

“The only thing that didn’t happen was that we didn’t go dancing” at March Madness, she added. She’s proud of everything the team accomplished.

Tulane approach

As for her start at Tulane, Langford plans to play an uptempo game, encouraging her players to score in the first seven seconds and average around 70 points per game, with about 15 to 20 points coming from transition baskets.

Langford believes games are won on the defensive end of the court.

In balancing between academics and athletics, Langford described her top job as helping the students on her team get a degree, which involves time management.

She encourages players to tap into the academic resources at the school and be proactive as student athletes.

As a head coach, she has learned to be patient.

“I realize I can’t get everything right away,” Langford said. “I’m going to need that patience again as I’m starting a new chapter.”

She needs to chip away each day until she’s helped build and shape the program into a conference champion. In the 2023-2024 season, the Tulane women’s team finished last in the conference, at 3-15, with a 12-20 overall record.

During each halftime, she focuses on statistics, encouraging her team to turn the ball over less or to focus on any rebounding disadvantage.

The game has changed since she played, with considerably more parity across teams. During her heyday as a guard, Tennessee and the University of Connecticut were the powerhouses.

Players are also more versatile, with post players who can shoot three pointers.

Settling back in at Tulane, she feels her most important role is getting to know her current players.

After recovering from a broken ankle earlier this year, she plans to get on the court and work with her players.

“I love getting on the court,” she said. “It’s fun for me.”

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook University men’s lacrosse team got back in the win column, picking up a decisive 13-8 victory over Drexel on April 6 at LaValle Stadium. Nick Dupuis (five assists) and Dylan Pallonetti (five goals) each tallied six points, while Jack Dougherty scored four times to propel the Seawolves to the win.

Will Danowski opened the scoring just over three minutes into the contest, scoring on an assist from Pallonetti. Drexel evened the score at 1-1 with a goal on the advantage. After the two sides traded another pair of goals back and forth, Stony Brook ripped off four straight tallies that spanned eight-plus minutes of second-quarter action.

The Dragons scored twice in the final 64 seconds of the first half, trimming the Seawolves lead to two goals, 6-4, heading into the half. Dougherty opened the second half on a heater, scoring three times to help Stony Brook jump out to a 9-6 lead. Pallonetti caught fire after Dougherty, scoring the final two goals of the third period to extend Stony Brook’s lead to 11-7. Pallonetti was responsible for the Seawolves’ two goals in the fourth quarter, helping Stony Brook close out a 13-8 victory over CAA foe Drexel.

“I’m pumped up for the guys. I thought the last two weeks, we’ve had our best weeks of practice,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said. “Opportunity to continue to compete and grind; we’ve got a long haul ahead of us here and we’re ready to keep getting better.”

Up next, the team returns to action on April 13 on the road at Delaware. The Seawolves and Blue Hens get going at noon on FloLive.

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Coach Joe Spallina earns 200th win at Stony Brook

Stony Brook women’s lacrosse used an offensive explosion to defeat Delaware, 17-4, on Senior Day, April 6. The Seawolves were led by graduate attack Kailyn Hart who scored a career-high seven goals, six of which came in the first half of play.

With the win, Stony Brook head coach Joe Spallina earned his 200th victory with the Seawolves. Spallina improves to 200-39 over his 13 seasons at Stony Brook and 273-41 over his head coaching career.

Hart led a trio of Seawolves who tallied hat tricks in the win. Senior midfielder Ellie Masera and graduate midfielder Charlotte Verhulst each found the back of the net three times apiece.

Stony Brook also dominated on the defensive end as it limited Delaware to a season-low four goals. The Seawolves outshot the Blue Hens, 32-7, and recorded 26 shots on goals to Delaware’s six. The Seawolves also won the battle of the turnovers as they forced 22 turnovers, nine of which were caused, and only turned it over 13 times.

Junior defender Avery Hines helped anchor the defense as she caused a career-high six turnovers and scooped up three ground balls. Her six caused turnovers are the most in a game by a Stony Brook player since Haley Dillon forced six turnovers vs. Vermont on March 26, 2022.

Stony Brook opened the game on an 8-0 scoring run, with Hart rattling the cage four times over the span. Senior attack Maggie Reznick and senior attack Hayden Lachenmeyer each scored their first career goals in the first quarter.

The Seawolves added to their lead in the second quarter and took a commanding, 11-2, lead into the halftime break. Stony Brook surrendered just three shots in the first half and forced 14 turnovers.

Stony Brook continued to cruise in the second half as it outscored Delaware, 6-2, over the final 30 minutes on its way to the 17-4 victory. Masera scored all three of her goals in the second half, while Verhulst scored two of her three goals. 

Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Mia Haynes was dealing on March 31, hurling a one-hit shutout to lead Stony Brook past Towson, 1-0, at University Field.

Haynes went the distance for Stony Brook, giving up one hit, walking two and striking out 10. She earned her sixth victoy of the season in the circle. In the batter’s box, Julianna Sanzone drove in the lone run of the contest with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.

The Seawolves took the lead for good in the sixth, scoring for the first and only time in the game when Alyssa Costello came across to score on a Sanzone sacrifice fly to the opposite field.

“This was an important series for us and I’m so proud of how our team responded,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said. “Each game was different; today was a pitcher’s dual and Mia was exceptional. We stayed locked in, made plays and scratched across the run we needed. Very gritty by our group.”

Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

No. 15 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse wrapped up the month of March with an 18-8 victory against Monmouth at Kessler Stadium on March 29. The Seawolves picked up their fourth straight win, moving to 9-2 (4-0) on the season while Monmouth dropped to 5-6 (1-3 CAA).

The team was led by graduate student Kailyn Hart who scored four goals on the afternoon. Graduate student Charlotte Verhulst and junior Courtney Maclay each netted three goals, while senior Clare Levy added two. Six more players finished off one goal on the afternoon. Stony Brook tallied nine assists on Friday, led by graduate student Erin MacQuarrie and senior Jaden Hampel with two each.

Graduate student McKenzie Mitchell picked up three ground balls and Levy added two, while Mitchell and Emily Manning caused two turnovers each. Manning made six saves in the second half, allowing just two goals, while senior Aaliyah Jones got the start and made four stops on a .400 save percentage. In the circle, Levy collected a career-high nine draw controls while Verhulst contributed four of her own.

 Monmouth was led by Maddie Flynn who put up a hat trick, while Shea Berigan and Ella Spears each scored twice. Goalkeeper Katie Sullivan made eight saves on the afternoon.

 “Excited to be 4-0 in conference, and for our players to get a few days off to refuel and get right as we head into another very difficult part of our schedule,” said head coach Joe Spallina. “I really love this group and I know our best lacrosse is ahead of us.”

The team heads home to continue conference play, facing Delaware on April 6 at LaValle Stadium. Opening draw is set for noon on FloLive and Stony Brook will honor its women’s lacrosse seniors prior to the game. Stony Brook is 5-0 all-time against the Blue Hens, winning 18-6 in both the regular season and the conference tournament last year.

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

No. 14 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse scored the game’s first 16 goals en route to a dominating 21-3 victory over Campbell at LaValle Stadium on March 24.

 The Seawolves moved to 8-2 (3-0 CAA) in their first 10 games while Campbell dropped to 3-7 (0-3 CAA).

 Stony Brook was led Kailyn Hart with five goals, and the graduate student added two assists for seven points. Classmate Alex Finn set a career high with eight assists, while graduate student Jolie Creo added three. Classmates Morgan Mitchell and Charlotte Verhulst each had hat tricks while senior Jaden Hampel and sophomore Alexandra Fusco each scored twice.

 The defense was led by graduate student Kira Accettella and junior Avery Hines with two caused turnovers, while five others caused one. Stony Brook got two ground balls each from Hines, Verhulst and senior Clare Levy. Four different goalkeepers played on the afternoon, with senior Aaliyah Jones making four saves without a goal against in her first career start. Sophomore Francesca Viteritti also made four stops on the afternoon while freshman Hannah Hudson made two saves.

In the draw circle, Stony Brook was led by Levy with five draw controls, while Charlotte Verhulst added four and Hampel and freshman Isabella Caporuscio each added two.

Lexi Goff scored twice for the Camels while Mattie Riter added the other tally.

The Seawolves scored all 10 goals in the first quarter, with three coming from Mitchell and two each from Fusco and Verhulst. Finn dished out five assists in the first quarter alone. Hart scored four of Stony Brook’s five goals in the second quarter, extending the lead to 15-0 at halftime. Aaliyah Jones kept the game scoreless with two saves in each of the first and second quarters. Hampel and Millen each scored in the third, as Stony Brook carried a 17-2 lead into the fourth. Viteritti made four saves in the third period on a .667 save percentage.

Four different players scored in the fourth, with three goals coming from freshmen, as Stony Brook extended the lead as big as 21-2.

Up next, the team wraps up the month with a matchup at Monmouth on March 29, with first draw against the Hawks scheduled for 1 p.m. on FloLive. 

Catcher Chris Leone congratulates pitcher JT Raab after Sunday's game. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Junior Matt Miceli racked up four hits to help power the Stony Brook Seawolves baseball team over the William & Mary Tribe 12-3 on March 24, earning their first CAA victory of the season. 

Junior JT Raab (1-0) started on the mound and picked up the win for Stony Brook (10-12, 1-2 CAA). The right-hander went seven innings, giving up three runs, all of them earned, on seven hits, allowing one walk and striking out seven. Junior Colton Book also made an impact on the mound for the Seawolves, throwing two shutout innings while allowing no hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.

In addition to his four hits, Miceli had four RBI to lead the Seawolves. Senior Cam Santerre compiled a noteworthy performance at the plate as well, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and two RBI. Senior Matt Brown-Eiring also contributed for Stony Brook, putting together two hits in six trips to the plate while adding a double and an RBI.

The Seawolves got on the board immediately, starting their scoring in the top of the first inning. Stony Brook scored two runs in the frame, highlighted by a two-RBI double from Santerre. 

Stony Brook kept the pressure on by tallying two runs in the next inning. Senior Matt Brown-Eiring tallied an RBI double, while graduate Brett Paulsen had an RBI-knock.

After stranding two runners in the first inning, W&M scored two runs in the second inning off Raab to push the score to 4-2.

The squad scored two runs in the third and and one in the fourth, taking a 7-2 advantage. Freshman Eric Paulsen and Miceli knocked in the runs for the Seawolves. The Tribe answered back in the fifth inning by scoring a run on a sac-fly. 

After Miceli reached on a fielder’s-choice that brought home Nicholas Solorzano in the sixth, Raab sat down the Tribe in order for the sixth inning. 

The Seawovles tallied another run in the seventh and two in the ninth to secure the 12-3 victory. Brown-Eiring would score on an error in the seventh, while Carson and Miceli had RBI-knocks in the ninth inning. 

Book finished the final 2.0 innings of the game by striking out two batters and not allowing a hit. 

Up next, the team hosts College of St. Charleston on March 29 at Joe Nathan Field. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.

#12 Jack Dougherty during Saturday's game. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team fell to No. 16 North Carolina, 12-8, on March 16 at LaValle Stadium. Dylan Pallonetti spearheaded the Seawolf attack with a team-high three goals.

Stony Brook jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Jack Dougherty and Pallonetti both found the back of the net. The Tar heels answered back, notching back-to-back goals just 13 seconds apart to even the score at the 7:01 mark of the first quarter. The teams then traded a goal each to conclude the opening period tied at 3-3.

After both teams scored a goal in the opening five minutes of the second quarter to even things at 4-4, the Tar Heels broke the tie with a pair of goals to head into the locker room with a 6-4 lead.

North Carolina exploded for four straight goals to open the third quarter. Stony Brook got on the board in the final seconds with a goal from Pallonetti that narrowed the deficit to five goals heading into the final frame.

A late push from the Seawolves brought the game within four, but the Tar Heel defense held strong to secure the victory at LaValle Stadium.

“Proud of the effort; I thought we had a great week of practice and played hard today, which is what we asked them to do,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said. “I think it’s some of the same things for us; we have to play smart lacrosse. Conference play is here.”

Up next, the team stays at home for a CAA matchup, facing off against Monmouth on Saturday, March 23, at noon from LaValle Stadium. The meeting will stream live on FloLive.

Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook University softball team completed a weekend sweep of Charleston, topping the Cougars 10-8 on March 17. 

Emily Reinstein racked up four of the Seawolves’ season-high 16 hits, while Catherine Anne Kupinski and Julianna Sanzone drove in a pair of runs apiece. In addition to her four hits, Reinstein had two doubles and an RBI to lead the Seawolves. Kupinski put together a noteworthy effort as well, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Sanzone also chipped in for Stony Brook, putting together two hits in four trips to the plate while adding a double and two RBI.

Ashton Melaas earned the victory out of the bullpen for Stony Brook. The right-hander went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs, both of them earned, on nine hits, allowing one walk and striking out three.

The Seawolves got on the board immediately, starting their scoring in the top of the first inning. Stony Brook scored three runs in the frame, highlighted by a two-RBI double from Sanzone.

The Seawolves lost the lead they built in the first, but got back on the board in the second, tying the game at four. Alicia Orosco tied things up by beating out an infield single, scoring Reinstein from second base.

Charleston broke that tie and again took a lead moving into the third, but Stony Brook re-took the lead, 7-6, after three innings. Naiah Ackerman, Reinstein and Corrine Badger all plated a run in the frame.

Stony Brook held the Cougars without a run then added an insurance run in the fourth. Kyra McFarland crossed home plate on a fielding error with two outs, pushing Stony Brook’s advantage to 8-6.

After Charleston got within one run again, Kupinski blasted a two-run homer to make it a three-run lead heading to the bottom of the sixth. 

Charleston put one run on the scoreboard before the game was over, but the Seawolves held on for the 10-8 win.

“We really had to earn this win today and I’m proud of our team for fighting for it. It was a team effort, with RBIs from six different players, and multiple players coming up with huge defensive plays,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said. “Ashton was excellent in relief and finished the game strong. The series sweep helps us immensely. Most importantly, we are improving as a team and figuring out what it takes to be successful.”

#2 Nicholas Rizzo from East Islip struck out four players during Saturday's game. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook men’s baseball team took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and never surrendered the advantage on the way to a 4-3 victory against the Siena Saints on March 9.

Nick Rizzo (2-1) started on the mound and picked up the win for Stony Brook (7-7). The southpaw went seven shutout innings while giving up three hits, allowing one walk and striking out four.

Ty Stout also made an impact on the mound for the Seawolves, throwing 1.1 shutout innings while allowing one hit, with no walks and two strikeouts. Matt Brown-Eiring led the way offensively for the Seawolves, going 2-for-4 in the ballgame with a double and an RBI. Cam Santerre put together a noteworthy effort as well, going 2-for-4 with a double. Erik Paulsen also contributed, going 1-for-4 for Stony Brook with a double and an RBI.

The Seawolves got the scoring started early, putting one run on the board in the bottom the first inning with the game still scoreless. Stony Brook plated two runs off of Siena pitching, one of which was driven in on a run-scoring double off the bat of Paulsen.

The Seawolves then held the Saints scoreless before expanding their lead in the fifth inning. Santerre came across to score the lone run of the inning for Stony Brook, which brought the score to 3-0 in favor of SBU.

Stony Brook kept Siena without a run before building their lead to 4-0 in the seventh inning. Siena put three runs on the scoreboard before the game was over, but Stony Brook still held on for the 4-3 win.

“Anytime you can sweep a series, home or away, it’s always fun,” said Stony Brook head coach Matt Senk. “Despite it being early in the year and the temperatures and weather, we had some really good crowds which helped us get it done… It’s good to see us play this well.”

Up next, the team will return to the diamond on March 15 at Seton Hall in Orange, New Jersey.