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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Masera’s record-breaking day takes No. 12 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse to 4-0

Midfielder Ellie Masera dodges a Villanova defender on Saturday, March 3. Masera broke the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team’s program record for most draw controls in a game. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Behind a trio of five-goal performances, the No. 12 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team cracked 20 again to sweep its opening homestand.

In the final affair of their four-game stay at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves (4-0) stifled the Villanova Wildcats (2-4) on Saturday. Midfielder Ellie Masera broke the program and Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) single-game draw control record with 17 en route to a 20-8 victory.

Overall, Stony Brook dominated in the circle, controlling 25 of the 32 draws. Masera superseded former midfielder Keri McCarthy’s 16 draw controls against Vermont in 2018 for the Seawolves’ all-time record. In regards to the CAA, Masera trounced former Monmouth midfielder Cassidy Orban’s 14 draw controls against Drexel last year to shatter the conference’s historical highmark.

Masera attributed her success in the draw circle to her entire supporting cast, including fellow midfielder Charlotte Verhulst and defender Clare Levy.

“I have so much trust in the draw unit,” Masera said in a postgame press conference. “I think that Charlotte is one of the, if not the best draw taker in the entire country. She makes my job easy. We have a great coach in Sydney Pirreca. Obviously, we have the fastest player in the country, Clare on the other side.”

Though the Seawolves dominated possession, they struggled to maintain it through the rain that slickened the turf beneath them. They turned the ball over six times through the first seven minutes of the game, which prevented them from building on the 2-1 lead that midfielder Erin MacQuarrie and attacker Alex Finn established.

Given Stony Brook’s ability to run away with games when given the opportunity, head coach Joe Spallina emphasized the importance of holding onto the ball.

“The turnovers aren’t acceptable,” Spallina said. “That’s my fault, it’s really one of the only things I talk about with our squad and being able to dire the possession, just because we are so good offensively.”

Just past the six-minute mark, the Seawolves’ loaded attack hit their stride. A free-position goal by attacker Kaylin Hart doubled Stony Brook’s lead. Three and a half minutes later, Hart scored again to make it 4-1. On each of the next two attacking sets, Finn found twine and completed a first-quarter hat trick to make it 6-1 and cap off a 5-0 run. The Wildcats got a goal back with just two seconds left in the first period, but the tally was quickly erased by the opening sequence of the next one.

To kick off the second quarter, Masera controlled the draw and finished the possession by leaving her feet to rifle one past Villanova goalkeeper Cate Gallagher for her first goal of the day.

Following Masera’s score, the Wildcats scored three of the next five goals to cut the Seawolves’ lead down to 9-5 with 4:32 left in the second quarter. With a chance to crawl even closer, Villanova midfielder Mary Moore found attacker Cara Moreau in front of the crease, but her powerful shot was stopped by goalkeeper Emily Manning ranging to her right.

After Manning’s heroics, Verhulst and midfielder Isabella Caporuscio each tucked one in over the final two minutes of the first half to enter the locker rooms up 11-5.

Just 45 seconds into the third quarter, Hart scored her fourth goal of the afternoon. However, the Wildcats stayed in it with back-to-back goals from midfielder Bella Piselli and attacker Sami Carey.

Once again, Villanova shot itself in the foot, as a pass into traffic by attacker Kayla Gulmi was intercepted by defender Avery Hines, which sparked a 4-0 run by Stony Brook to go up 16-7. Masera started the scoring streak with back-to-back goals before Verhulst took the baton and did the same.

With 14 seconds left, the Wildcats cut the Seawolves’ lead down to eight with attacker Sydney Pappas’ fourth goal of the game. After that, Stony Brook’s end line had seen enough and forced five turnovers in the fourth quarter to pitch a shutout, aided by a pair of saves from goalkeeper Aaliyah Jones.

While holding their opponents scoreless on defense, Verhulst and Hart each scored their fifth and final goals of the day to go up by 10 before Masera buried two of her own to finish it off.

The Seawolves won the battle on the ground 13-10 but lost 13-11 in the turnover department. Stony Brook outshot Villanova 40-22.

Along with all of her draw controls, Masera led the offense with five goals and three assists. Hart and Verhulst each tallied five goals and one assist. Finn scored three times and dished out a pair of dimes. MacQuarrie and Caporuscio both finished with a goal and an assist apiece. Attackers Morgan Mitchell, Jolie Creo and Caitlin Dellecave all found the scoresheet with an assist each.

Verhulst was elated with the way her team showed out on Saturday.

“Today was just fun,” Verhuslt said. “Our focus going in was on the draw, everything else was easy coming from everybody else on the field. We all really worked together.”

On defense, Caporuscio led the squad with three ground ball pickups. Hines had a field day, causing four turnovers and picking up two ground balls. Defender McKenzie Mitchell caused a turnover and scooped up one ground ball. Off the bench, midfielder Alexandra Fusco totaled two ground balls and one takeaway. Defender Jordan Forte and MacQuarrie each fielded a pair of ground balls, as well.

Manning had her best showing of the year, saving eight of the 16 shots she faced. Jones saved both of the shots that came her way. On the other end, Gallagher saved only three of the 14 shots on goal that her team let up before being pulled in favor of backup goalkeeper Makenzie Fisher, who saved only four of her 13 chances.

Pappas led the Wildcats with four goals and was followed by Carey, who scored a pair.

The Seawolves will now enter perhaps the most crucial part of their season. Their next three opponents are ranked in the top 20, and two of them are scheduled for next week.

Spallina acknowledged the importance of the upcoming slate of games for his team.

“We’re going to find out who we are,” Spallina said. “We’re ready for it, I think we’ve been here a bunch.”

Stony Brook will return to action on Tuesday and travel to Upstate New York to take on the No. 5 Syracuse Orange. The Orange are 3-2 this year after beating Duke 15-8 on Saturday. Opening draw for is scheduled for 6 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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