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No. 10 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse set for showdown with No. 9 Loyola Maryland

Defenders Lindsay Rongo (left) and Ella Whitehouse (middle) playing in a defensive zone while goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski (right) anticipates a shot. Stony Brook’s defense will face off with one of the best offenses in the nation on Sunday. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

After surviving the opening round of the 2023 NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament, the No. 10 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team will try to make it out of Baltimore alive against the hometown team.

After eliminating Penn State in round one, the Seawolves (15-3, 7-0 CAA) will now partake in a top-10 showdown with the No. 9 Loyola Maryland Greyhounds. As the eighth seed in the tournament, Loyola Maryland will host Stony Brook at its own home stadium: Ridley Athletic Complex. Opening draw is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Both teams earned automatic bids to the tournament, as Stony Brook won the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in its inaugural year in the conference. Loyola Maryland conquered the Patriot League for a fourth-time running. Both teams ran through their conferences without a loss.

Stony Brook enters the matchup with plenty of depth on both sides of the ball. The team is led by midfielder Ellie Masera. After breaking onto the scene last season, she has improved across most categories in her third year as a Seawolf. Masera leads the team in goals (70), points (91), ground balls (33) and draw controls (118). She also ranks third on the team in assists with 21 and fourth in caused turnovers at 16. Those numbers led to her being named the 2023 CAA Midfielder of the Year. She was also named to the 2023 All-CAA First Team. She dominated the conference’s postseason tournament as well, leading to a selection to the 2023 CAA All-Tournament Team. She was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Her performance this year has garnered national recognition. She was named to USA Lacrosse Magazine’s 2023 All-American First Team.

Joining Masera in the Seawolves’ loaded offense is attacker Kailyn Hart, who was also named to the All-CAA First Team. She places second on the team in goals (51) and assists (23). After recording a hat trick against Penn State, Hart has now scored at least three goals in nine consecutive outings, the second-best streak of her career. For her efforts this year, Hart was a 2023 All-American honorable mention by USA Lacrosse Magazine and was once again beside Masera on the CAA All-Tournament Team.

Attacker Morgan Mitchell is another vital piece of Stony Brook’s offense. She comes in third on the team in goals with 43 and is one of five Seawolves with at least 20 assists. Mitchell has also stepped up for her team on big occasions this season. In Stony Brook’s six games against ranked opposition thus far, she has tallied 16 goals, which includes a seven-goal effort against the then top-ranked team in the country, Syracuse. Mitchell was included on the 2023 All-CAA Second Team.

The Seawolf with the most assists on the team is attacker Jolie Creo, who has 26. She has also scored 13 goals, giving her the fifth-most points on the team with 39.

A pair of key two-way contributors for Stony Brook are midfielders Charlotte Verhulst and Jaden Hampel. Both made the All-CAA Second Team. Verhulst has scored 25 goals, dished out nine assists, scooped up 18 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers. Head coach Joe Spallina uses her to take on draw duties in the circle. She has picked up 54 draw controls this year, which is the third-most on the team.

Hampel has tallied 30 goals, 20 assists, 23 ground balls and nine caused turnovers. She has also controlled 31 draws this year.

Midfielder Erin MacQarrie is another player that features predominantly on both ends of the field. She has 17 points this year to go along with 22 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.

Stony Brook had two defenders make All-CAA teams. Defender Clare Levy was an All-CAA First Team selection. She is fourth on the team in ground balls (27), fifth in caused turnovers (15) and second in draw controls (58). She was also named by USA Lacrosse Magazine to the 2023 All-American Third Team for her performance.

In what is the final season of her NCAA career, defender Haley Dillon made the All-CAA Second Team. She leads the team in caused turnovers (28) and is third in ground balls (31). Defenders Ella Whitehouse and Lindsay Rongo are also key defensive assets for Stony Brook. The two of them have caused 17 turnovers each. Whitehouse has picked up 20 ground balls, while Rongo has scooped up 17.

The Seawolves goaltending responsibilities have mostly belonged to goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski this year. She has played every game and struggled in most of them. Duchnowski has posted a 37.0% save percentage. That number has slightly improved as of late. She was named to the CAA All-Tournament team for saving 43.8% (7-for-16) of the shots that came her way. However, she only stopped 5 of the 13 shots (38.5%) that she faced against Penn State. Her backup — goalkeeper Aaliyah Jones — has fared better than her in limited action, saving 48.5% of the shots that landed on cage.

Stony Brook’s starting goalkeeper will have a tall task with the high-powered Loyola Maryland offense. The Greyhounds have three players with 50 or more goals scored. They also have seven players who have scored over 20 goals this year.

Loyola Maryland midfielder Jillian Wilson is her team’s leading scorer with 58 goals. The 2023 Patriot League Midfielder of the Year has also dished out 17 assists, scooped up 33 ground balls and caused 18 turnovers. Wilson has played a massive role in the draw circle for a Loyola Maryland team that is first in the nation in draw control percentage at 69.7%. She has 189 draw controls this year. Wilson’s performance earned her a spot on the USA Lacrosse Magazine’s All-American First Team and the 2023 All-Patriot League First Team.

Attacker Sydni Black and midfielder Chase Boyle round out Loyola Maryland’s 50-plus goals club. Both joined Wilson on the All-Patriot League First Team. Black is second on the team in goals (52) and third in assists (24). Boyle’s 50 goals are the third-most on Loyola Maryland’s roster.

The 2023 Patriot League Attacker of the Year is Loyola Maryland attacker Georgia Latch. She leads her team with 43 assists. Latch has also chipped in 44 goals and earned an All-American honorable mention nod by USA Lacrosse Magazine. She was also selected to the All-Patriot League First Team. Loyola Maryland attacker Emily Wills has been great next to Latch, as she has scored 30 goals and dished out 41 assists this season. She was honored with an All-Patriot League Second Team selection.

Loyola Maryland attacker Anna Ruby is the team’s seventh-leading scorer with 25 goals and 12 assists this year.

Loyola Maryland Midfielder Meg Hillman is another feature of the Greyhounds’ stacked offense, as she has 31 goals to go along with eight assists.

The Greyhounds defense has put up some great numbers this year as well. They rank second in the nation in goals against average, allowing just 6.63 goals per game this season.

One of the anchors of Loyola Maryland’s defense is defender Katie Detwiler. She is second on her team in caused turnovers with 16, and has also played a part in the Greyhounds’ draw-circle dominance. Detwiler is second on the team with 75 draw controls picked up. She earned All-American First Team honors from USA Lacrosse Magazine, won the 2023 Patriot League Defender of the Year award and made the All-Patriot League First Team.

Joining Detwiler on Loyola Maryland’s defense are defenders Logan Olmstead and Lily Osborne. Both were selected to the All-Patriot Second Team. Olmstead is fourth on the team in caused turnovers with 14. Osborne is sixth on the team in caused turnovers (10) and ground balls picked up (15).

Rounding out Loyola Maryland’s superteam in the Patriot League is goalkeeper Lauren Spence. She ranks second in the nation in goals against average (6.05) and third in save percentage (54.2%). For her efforts, Spence was selected to USA Lacrosse Magazine’s 2023 All-American Third Team and the All-Patriot First Team. She also took home 2023 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year honors.

If the Seawolves overcome the Greyhounds, they may get another crack at a top-seeded team. Stony Brook was eliminated each of the last two seasons by No. 1 North Carolina, but the new best squad in the nation — No. 1 Northwestern — lays on the horizon. The Wildcats will take on No. 15 Michigan on Sunday. The winner of the Stony Brook-Loyola Maryland game will go on to face the winner of the Northwestern-Michigan game.

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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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