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No. 5 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse begins CAA tenure with blowout win

Attacker Morgan Mitchell passes the ball to midfielder Ellie Masera against Yale on Saturday, Feb. 25. The two connected on a highlight-reel goal against Delaware in the Stony Brook’s CAA debut. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

The No. 5 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team did not disappoint in its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) game.

After spending three weeks away from Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves (5-1, 1-0 CAA) returned to their home field on Saturday to host the Delaware Blue Hens. In their conference opener, they leveled Delaware 19-6 behind a career performance from midfielder Ellie Masera. Masera outperformed Delaware’s entire offense, scoring seven goals to lead her team to victory.

Through the first 20 minutes of the game, the Seawolves struggled to pass through Delaware goalkeeper Mercy McCarthy. Although they led 3-2 during that stretch, they left more scoring chances on the table. McCarthy recorded 10 saves, including five on free-position shots. She finished the half with 14 saves, already enough for a season-high.

Head coach Joe Spallina complimented McCarthy for her early-game efforts.

“Sometimes you just tip your cap,” Spallina said in a postgame press conference. “We have really good shooters, and their goalie was great. Their head coach is an incredible goalie coach as well, so we knew coming in that she would have her player ready to go.”

Stony Brook finally broke through with 9:31 left in the first half when midfielder Charlotte Verhulst found an opening and scored on McCarthy. Verhulst’s goal sparked a 5-1 run to finish the first half, capped off by back-to-back goals from Masera. 

Stony Brook outshot Delaware 26-8 in the first half. The significant disparity continued into the second half, as the Seawolves came out guns blazing in the third period. 

Masera opened the third quarter with another two consecutive goals, the second of which riled up the LaValle Stadium crowd. With her back turned to goal, Masera fired a between-the-legs shot past McCarthy and into the back of the net, making it 10-3 Stony Brook. 

Stony Brook scored the first five goals of the second half, giving it eight in a row to extend its lead to 13-3. After that, the game was over. Masera tacked on her seventh goal of the game to cap off the scoring streak.

Though Masera carried the offense, she credited other factors for her performance.

“I think it’s just playing the game,” Masera said. “We went in at halftime and made adjustments, it wasn’t just me. It was adjustments on the left side and behind, a build-up of everything. It worked out that I was at the end of the rainbow, but it could have been anyone.”

The Seawolves recorded their highest shot total of the season on Saturday, outshooting Delaware 41-11. For Stony Brook, 35 of its 41 shots (85.4%) landed on goal.

Stony Brook dominated the possession battle as well. The team scooped up 17 ground balls, 10 more than Delaware. The Seawolves also went 20-for-27 on draw controls. The defense forced 14 turnovers, which was twice as many as the offense committed. 

The strong defensive performance came without one of its anchors: defender Haley Dillon. It was her first missed game of the season, and Spallina called her condition “day-to-day.”

Verhulst and defender Clare Levy took most of the transition duties, recording eight draw controls apiece. Defender Avery Hines registered her first career start in place of Dillon, and recorded a caused turnover.

Goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski did not have a busy day but held her own, posting a 50.0% save percentage, which tied her season high.

Masera added an assist to score eight total points. Attacker Kailyn Hart was the team’s second-leading scorer with four goals. Verhulst and midfielder Kira Accettella both scored two goals apiece. Verhulst also added an assist.

Attacker Jolie Creo and midfielder Jaden Hampel both tallied one goal and two assists each. Midfielders Alexandra Fusco and Lexie Correia both scored one goal off the bench.

Attacker Morgan Mitchell found the scoresheet by assisting Masera’s behind-the-back goal.

Stony Brook will play another top-five team on Wednesday when it challenges the No. 2 Syracuse Orange. The Orange are 9-0 on the season and are coming off a 16-10 win over No. 15 Duke on Saturday. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m.

 

 

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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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