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No. 11 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse wins its first-ever CAA tournament

Several Stony Brook women’s lacrosse players in a huddle during a timeout against Hofstra on Friday, April 28. The Seawolves won their first-ever CAA tournament on Saturday at the Towson Tigers. VIKRAM SETHI/THE STATESMAN

The No. 11 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team kept its streak going and will now be competing in the NCAA tournament for the 10th consecutive season.

The top-seeded Seawolves (14-3, 7-0 CAA) embarrassed the second-seeded Towson Tigers on their own home field on Saturday, dismantling them 19-4 to win the 2023 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament. Stony Brook never let Towson see the light of day and clinched the CAA’s automatic bid without much of a fight.

After being blanked on their first attacking set of the game by Towson goalkeeper Jo Torres, the Seawolves responded with goals in each of their next six possessions. The scoring outburst came with some All-American flash, as well.

Midfielder Ellie Masera made a quick cut to get open, and attacker Kailyn Hart fed her with a high pass. All in one motion, Masera leapt to grab it and bounced her shot past Torres. On the next possession, Hart put a Tiger defender in the spin cycle for an unassisted goal. Less than a minute later, attacker Jolie Creo received the ball at the X, spun to the inside of the defender, and deked out Torres with a high pump fake. With Torres’ stick up high, Creo slipped a shot beneath her to make it 3-0 Stony Brook.

Stony Brook did not slow down, as it controlled the next three draw controls and set up three more goals from Masera, Hart, and midfielder Charlotte Verhulst, respectively. Verhulst doubled down on the Seawolves’ early onslaught and scored again after a successful save by goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski.

Towson attacker Milana Zizakovic finally stopped the bleeding by scoring her team’s first goal with three minutes left in the first quarter. It was all for nothing though, as Creo restored Stony Brook’s seven-goal lead with a free-position goal at the buzzer.

Stony Brook’s defense forced four turnovers in the opening period, while Duchnowski shined with three tough saves.

After Towson midfielder Katie McCormick scored the first goal of the second quarter, Stony Brook scored another six in a row to close out the first half. The game was so out of reach that running time was put into effect with 5:55 left before halftime.

The Seawolves’ defense kept their foot on the Tigers’ throats in the second half, allowing only one goal in both the third and fourth quarters. Stony Brook’s offense scored five more times during that stretch to put the finishing touches on the historic win.

Duchnowski picked a good time for one of her finest performances this year. She saved five of the eight shots that landed on the cage, including one on a free-position attempt.

Stony Brook was significantly more efficient with its opportunities than Towson. The Seawolves landed 25 of their 28 shots on the cage, while the Tigers challenged Duchnowski and goalkeeper Aaliyah Jones only 10 times in 17 shots.

The Seawolves’ advantage in shots stemmed from their success in the draw circle. They controlled 15 of the 24 draws. Stony Brook also won the battle on the ground 13-9 and was +3 in turnover differential.

Masera, who was given the Most Outstanding Player award, led the Seawolves with five goals and three assists. Hart finished with four goals and an assist. Attacker Morgan Mitchell scored three goals and dished out two assists. Creo scored a pair of goals and co-led Stony Brook with three assists. Verhulst had two goals and one assist.

Midfielders Isabella Germani and Alexandra Fusco each joined the scoring bonanza in the second half. They both tallied a goal apiece. Midfielders Jaden Hampel and Erin MacQuarrie had an assist apiece.

After not scoring a goal throughout the entire regular season, defender Clare Levy scored her second goal of the tournament in as many games. She also controlled four draws.

Defenders Haley Dillon and Lindsay Rongo each caused a pair of turnovers.

Stony Brook shut down attacker Lindsey Marshall, Towson’s leading scorer. For only the second time this season, she did not record a point in a game. Zizakovic, McCormick, attacker Gabby Garrett and midfielder Valerie Thompson scored the Tigers’ goals.

Torres struggled mightily, as she gave up a season-worst 18 goals before being pulled with just over three minutes left. She saved six shots.

Stony Brook’s 19 goals and +15 goal differential were both all-time records in a CAA title game.

For their efforts, Masera, Duchnowski, Hart and Levy were all named to the 2023 CAA All-Tournament team.

Now with their ticket punched to the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Seawolves will be tuning into the selection show on Sunday night at 9 p.m. to find out who they play next.

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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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