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No. 9 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse clinches top seed in CAA playoffs

Attacker Kailyn Hart scores a goal against William & Mary on Saturday, April 15. Hart scored three goals and added an assist in a win against Towson. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

In a battle for first place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), the No. 9 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team took care of business to clinch the regular season title.

Coming in without a conference loss on either side, the Seawolves (11-3, 6-0 CAA) locked down the number one seed in the CAA tournament with a tough win at the Towson Tigers. Stony Brook jumped out to a big lead right away and rode it all the way to victory, but Towson did give it a run for its money.

Towson started off on the right foot, scoring on three of its first four attacking sets to take an early 3-1 lead. The Seawolves took control from there on out, with their offense running through attacker Jolie Creo. She consistently received the ball from the X position and facilitated the offense, dishing out six assists in the first quarter alone.

Attacker Morgan Mitchell benefitted the most from Creo’s craftyness, as four of her five first-quarter goals were created by Creo. Stony Brook finished the period on a 7-0 run to take an 8-3 lead into the second quarter.

Head coach Joe Spallina was thrilled with his team’s performance in the victory.

“Proud of our kids to secure the CAA, at least a share of the regular season championship and the one seed in the tournament,” Spallina said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We took nearly 40 shots and most of those were high quality … Fired up for our home finale Friday night.”

That five-goal cushion paid off in the long run for Stony Brook. In the middle quarters, the Seawolves’ offensive explosion came to a halt, as they scored on just three of their next 17 shots. Towson outscored them in both periods, cutting their lead down to just two goals entering the fourth quarter.

Within the first three minutes of the final frame, attacker Kailyn Hart gave the Seawolves some breathing room when she scored a man-up goal. Just under two minutes later, Towson midfielder Lindsey Marshall responded with a man-up goal of her own.

With Stony Brook leading 12-10, both defenses tightened up. The teams traded wide shots and turnovers for the next three and a half minutes before the Seawolves’ defense made the play of the game.

Standing right in front of the Tigers’ goal crease, Towson midfielder Samantha Intrieri lobbed an errant pass to midfield that was intercepted by midfielder Jaden Hampel. In transition, she found fellow midfielder Ellie Masera down the field, who had no challengers except for Towson goalkeeper Jo Torres. Masera faked out Torres and restored the Seawolves’ three-goal lead.

With just 4:07 remaining, Hart scored again to put the dagger in Towson. The Tigers scored with 2:21 left in the game, but goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski slammed the door on their comeback with a big-time save on the ensuing possession.

Spallina was impressed with the way his team closed out its surging opponents.

“Towson is a great team that always brings it when we play each other,” Spallina said. “I thought we weathered the storms well and responded at opportune times.”

Stony Brook dominated possession, as it was +8 in turnover differential and controlled 16 of the 26 draws. Masera led the team by picking up nine draw controls. This allowed the Seawolves to generate more opportunities as well, attempting 39 shots to the Tigers’ 21. Towson did have the advantage in some departments, winning the ground ball battle 20-11 and scoring three free-position goals without surrendering any.

Mitchell recorded a career high in points with eight. She led the team with five goals and added three assists.

Masera and Hart each had a hat trick. Hart also dished out an assist. Hampel contributed one goal and two assists. Midfielder Kira Accettella scored her third goal of the year in the third quarter. As part of Stony Brook’s first-quarter scoring onslaught, midfielder Isabella Germani scored the first goal of her NCAA career.

Creo’s eight assists were the most by a Seawolf since attacker Taryn Ohlmiller on May 16, 2021, who also had eight. Every Stony Brook goal was assisted, and the team’s 14 assists was a season high.

Outside of her clutch save, Duchnowski struggled, as she saved just 31.3% of the shots that she faced. Her counterpart had a much better day, as Torres saved 13 of the shots.

Marshall led Towson with six points, as she scored five goals and recorded an assist. Towson attacker Gabby Garrett was right behind her with five points, totaling two goals and three assists.

The Seawolves will have the opportunity to complete a perfect CAA regular season on Friday in the Battle of Long Island. They will host the Hofstra Pride, who are 4-11 on the year and 1-5 in the CAA. They are coming off an 18-6 loss to Drexel. Opening draw for the regular season finale is scheduled for 6:31 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger
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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