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No. 11 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse routes Dartmouth to open 2024

Midfielder Ellie Masera (right) draws a double team against Dartmouth on Sunday, Feb. 18. Masera tallied a career-high eight goals and 10 points in a season-opening win over the Big Green. COBY NUNBERG/THE STATESMAN

Back like it never left, the No. 11 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team opened its season in runaway fashion.

On a cold Sunday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves (1-0) iced the Dartmouth Big Green (0-1) with an 18-11 beatdown. Behind a career-high eight goals and 10 points from midfielder Ellie Masera, Stony Brook set the tone early and often.

Masera sparked a 3-0 run to open the scoring by netting an unassisted goal within the first three minutes of the game. The next two scores were set up by attacker Alex Finn, who manned the X for the Seawolves and dished out assists to fellow attacker Morgan Mitchell and Masera to go up 3-0. Dartmouth scored two of the next three goals to cut Stony Brook’s lead down to 4-2, but the game never got any closer after that.

Attacker Kailyn Hart got hot quickly, answering each of the Big Green’s scores with goals of her own. With the first quarter clock winding down, Masera beat the buzzer by rifling a free-position shot past Dartmouth goalkeeper Gisele Todd to complete an early hat trick and take a 6-2 lead into the second.

Once the next quarter began, the drubbing continued. Masera sandwiched a pair of goals by Hart with two more of her own, all of which were assisted by Finn. The Big Green snapped the Seawolves’ 6-0 run with a goal by midfielder Mia Puccio at the 2:02 mark. However, midfielder Charlotte Verhulst got it right back exactly one minute later with her first goal of the season off a feed from Masera.

Stony Brook went into halftime with the game already out of Dartmouth’s reach. Five goals and an assist by Masera as well as another four scores by Hart saw the Seawolves trotting into the locker rooms up 11-3. Finn assisted on six of the team’s first-half goals and finished the afternoon with a career-high seven helpers.

Head coach Joe Spallina raved about the three stars and their impact on the team.

“For a long time, Kailyn Hart and Ellie Masera have done an incredible job of being the linchpins,” Spallina said in a postgame press conference. “Or righty lefty, Batman and Robin or Superman and Batman. They’re nasty, and they attract the best matchups and usually double teams. For us to bring in Alex Finn — you can see the element to the offense that she adds.”

The Big Green opened the third quarter with a woman-up goal by attacker Fiona O’Keeffe off a dish from Puccio, but Finn and Masera traded places to get it right back. After Masera assisted on Finn’s first goal with Stony Brook, she scored her sixth of the day without any help to give her team a nine-goal lead — its largest of the day.

Over the rest of the third period and through the first three minutes of the fourth, Dartmouth rode a 5-2 run with a pair of goals from attackers Catherine Erb and Katie Elders.

Now leading just 15-9 with 11 minutes remaining, the Seawolves turned to their midfield to nail home the victory. Just past the 11-minute mark, Verhulst embarrassed Todd with a free-position goal for her second of the day, leading to the Big Green benching her in favor of backup goalkeeper Tamer Luzi.

However, Luzi was not the hero they needed, as Masera took her to school twice within her first two minutes to restore the nine-goal cushion. The final 9:46 was all garbage time, as Elders scored twice to put the game’s finishing touches on.

Finn tallied nine total points, as she accompanied her seven dimes with a pair of goals. Most of her work was done from behind the cage, where Spallina believes the game can be fully controlled from.

“That’s a position on the field that I am really thorough with [and] understand at a pretty high level,” Spallina said. “There’s little things that you do [at] that position that can elevate everybody around you in a very subtle way.”

Hart — who finished the game with five goals — gave Finn some love after the game was over.

I’ve never been the best cutter, Hart said. I think it’s great that today I had easy layups off the crease from Finn, so Finn is a great addition to the offense.

Stony Brook had the edge on Dartmouth in most statistics. It outshot its opponent 36-22 and won the turnover battle 16-12. However, the Seawolves lost the draw control battle 16-15 and scooped up 10 ground balls to the Big Green’s 12.

Though only five players recorded a point on a stacked offense, Masera loves the unit’s current state.

“It’s really important that we have so much chemistry because of all the people that have been playing,” Masera said. “An addition that hasn’t been here for the last three years is kind of a new look which is awesome, but it’s also like everyone knows how to cut off of each other.”

In her Stony Brook debut, goalkeeper Emily Manning finished with a .421 save percentage in 19 opportunities. Manning also led the team with three ground balls and shared the top spot alongside defender Clare Levy with two caused turnovers. Todd and Luzi struggled mightily, combining for just a .333 save percentage in 27 chances.

Elders led Dartmouth with four goals, while Erb contributed a hat trick. O’Keeffe dished out four assists to pace her squad.

The Seawolves will not get much time to celebrate, as they will be back in action on Tuesday to welcome the Bryant Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are already 2-1 this year after defeating Sacred Heart 16-8 on Saturday. Opening draw is set for 3 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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