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No. 5 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse beats second-straight ranked opponent

Midfielder Charlotte Verhulst eluding a Yale defender on Saturday, Feb. 25. Verhulst had the best game of her career to date on Saturday as the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team won 13-7. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Light flurries of snow were no bother for the No. 5 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team, as it defeated another ranked opponent for a second-straight win.

On Saturday, the Seawolves (2-0) hosted the No. 21 Yale Bulldogs at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. In a well-rounded performance that featured seven goal-scorers and 15 caused turnovers, Stony Brook pulled off a 13-7 win.

The Seawolves were in the driver’s seat from the get-go and never trailed throughout the contest. Quick strikes on offense to begin each quarter catalyzed Stony Brook. The team scored on each of its first three possessions in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. 

Midfielders Ellie Masera and Alexandra Fusco, along with attacker Morgan Mitchell, all scored within 2:45 of one another. A second goal by Mitchell allowed Stony Brook to take a 4-2 lead into the second quarter.

Head coach Joe Spallina attributed the offense’s success to its collectivism.

“We share the ball,” Spallina said in a postgame press conference. “They play real smart and take what’s there. [Yale] put a zone out there, and we did a great job getting to that. Then they went to man, and we were able to get to our spots and get good looks.”

Stony Brook went on another scoring run early in the second quarter, striking twice within its first three possessions of the frame to take a 6-2 lead. Midfielder Jaden Hampel assisted attacker Kailyn Hart’s first goal of the day before following with an unassisted score of her own. 

Hart tacked on two more goals in the quarter before Yale attacker Jenna Collignon scored twice in a row, cutting the lead to 8-4 by halftime. Collignon’s goals came from free-position shots, which is how Yale generated most of its offensive opportunities in the game. The Bulldogs attempted eight free-position shots and scored on three of them.

Despite Yale’s late rally at the end of the first half, Stony Brook distanced itself in the third quarter. The Seawolves allowed just a single goal on defense while scoring three, causing five turnovers in the process.

“We played a lot of defense today,” Spallina said. “I thought it was Stony Brook-esque.”

The fourth quarter was the only frame in which Stony Brook did not outscore Yale, as both teams scored two goals apiece. For Stony Brook, Hampel scored another unassisted goal. Just over a minute later, midfielder Charlotte Verhulst scored her second goal in as many games. 

Defensively, Verhulst set career highs across the stat sheet on Saturday. She recorded four caused turnovers and three ground balls for Stony Brook.

Goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski saved 46.2% of the shots that came her way, which included a pair of saves on free-position shots.

Hart continued her strong start to the season with another hat trick, along with two assists. She leads the team in both points and assists through the first two games. In addition to being a proficient scorer, Hart has become a key distributor for the offense.

“If someone is going to slide early to me, I’m going to dump it to the wide-open player,” Hart said. “We have people all over the field cutting for me, and I’m dodging with my head up, so it just makes my job a lot easier.”

It was not all pretty for Stony Brook, as the team struggled on clears — going just 15-for-22 against Yale after going 14-for-14 against Michigan in the season opener. The Bulldogs also gained the upper hand in the ground ball department, scooping up 16 ground balls while the Seawolves only totaled 13.  

Stony Brook is now the only unbeaten team remaining in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) through the first three weeks of play. Next week, the Seawolves will be away from home for the first time this season when they travel to San Diego. They will take on the San Diego State Aztecs on Wednesday. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. The Aztecs sit at 1-4 on the season after falling to USC 16-7 on Friday.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger, Assistant Sports Editor
Alex Streinger is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is the beat reporter of the Stony Brook men’s soccer and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse teams. He interns at Movendi International, the largest independent global social movement for development through alcohol prevention.
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