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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


No. 11/12 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse opens CAA play up at Towson

Several Stony Brook women’s lacrosse players celebrate a goal against Villanova on Saturday, March 2. The Seawolves will open their conference season at Towson tomorrow. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

After losing to back-to-back ranked opponents, the No. 11/12 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team is looking to take its frustration out on a Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) foe.

The Seawolves (5-2) will open up their conference season against the Towson Tigers (2-4) in Maryland on Saturday at noon. This game will be a rematch of the 2023 CAA women’s lacrosse championship game, when Stony Brook trampled Towson 19-4 to advance to the 2023 NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament.

Not much has changed for the Seawolves this time around, but the Tigers cannot say the same. Towson’s offense is last in the CAA with exactly nine goals per game. It has been heavily reliant on attackers Milana Zizakovic and Lindsey Marshall, who are really midfielders by trade.

Zizakovic leads the team and is tied for sixth in the conference with 16 goals scored. Marshall leads Towson with five assists and is tied for second on the team alongside attacker Hannah Delahaye with nine goals. Midfielder Katie Roszko has provided some offense with seven goals and an assist. Attacker Luca DeMaio has returned after being injured in the team’s season opener and has tallied two goals and an assist over three games played.

Midfielder Valerie Thompson is the only other Tiger who has played every game and averaged a point, as she has tallied four goals and two assists this year.

These numbers do not bode well for Towson, as Stony Brook’s 9.57 goals allowed per game is the second-best rate in the CAA. As a team, the Seawolves average 8.57 caused turnovers per game, which ranks fourth in the conference.

They are anchored by defenders Clare Levy and Avery Hines. Levy is one of the fastest players in the country and often deters offenses from challenging her side of the field. She has caused five turnovers this year and picked up 10 ground balls this year, which rank third on the squad. Hines has been a ball hawk all year, as her 16 caused turnovers lead the team and rank second in the conference. Her 11 ground ball pickups trail only midfielder Erin MacQuarrie’s 13 for the team lead.

Defender McKenzie Mitchell has become a starter on the endline this year and is second on the team with six caused turnovers. Defender Jordan Forte is another first-year starter after being a backup for a couple of years, and she has picked up seven ground balls in as many games this year. Off the bench, defender Rachel Rosenberg is a seven-year veteran who has caused three turnovers in six appearances.

Midfielder Isabella Caporuscio is a two-way midfielder who has collected five takeaways and nine ground balls this year. Midfielder Alexandra Fusco also gets a lot of playing time as a reserve and makes contributions on defense, as she has picked up eight ground balls this year.

Another big piece to Stony Brook’s defense is midfielder Charlotte Verhulst: a three-way player who impacts both ends of the field and handles draws. Verhulst has caused five turnovers this year, matching her with Levy and Caporuscio for third on the team.

The Seawolves will need to play at the same level to help out goalkeeper Emily Manning, who is having difficulties transitioning from the America East Conference (AE) to the CAA. After winning 2023 AE Goalkeeper of the Year with Binghamton, Manning owns the worst save percentage (.326) amongst qualified leaders in her new league. However, Stony Brook’s defense has only surrendered 14.57 shots on goal per game this year, so Manning has not been needed as much.

Opposite Manning, the Tigers are anchored by goalkeeper Jo Torres, who is second in the CAA and third in the nation with 11.33 saves per game. Torres has been peppered this year, as she has faced an average of 24 shots on goal per contest. She has saved 47.2% of those shots, which ranks fifth in the conference amongst goalies with at least 10 shots faced.

If not for Torres’ efforts, Towson may very well be the worst defense in the CAA. The Tigers’ 12.67 goals allowed per game is the third-worst figure in the conference. They rank fifth out of nine teams with 14.83 ground ball pickups per game and sixth with 6.67 caused turnovers per contest.

Defender Shannon Sullivan leads Towson’s endline with eight caused turnovers and 15 ground balls. Sullivan’s 2.5 ground balls per game ranks fifth in the CAA, while her 1.33 takeaways per contest rank eighth. Marshall and defender Blair Goodrich have each caused six turnovers in as many games. Goodrich’s 13 ground balls tie her with MacQuarrie for the 10th most in the conference and her 2.17 pickups per game give her sole possession of the same ranking.

Marshall and defender Paiton Abbott have each picked up seven ground balls. Defender Bella Wojcik and midfielder Paige Abbott — Paiton’s twin sister — have both scooped up six ground balls in as many games. Defender Alexis Aaron rounds out the starting group on the Tigers’ back end.

Towson will have to bring its best effort to slow down the Seawolves’ superstar squad of offensive players. Nobody on their team is more important than midfielder Ellie Masera, who is seventh in the nation and leads the CAA with 33 goals. She has also dished out 14 assists, which ranks fourth in the conference. Her 47 points are the second most in the country.

Behind Masera is attacker Kailyn Hart, who is second in the conference with 3.33 goals per game and fourth overall with 20 goals scored. From the X, attacker Alex Finn has added 14 goals and is tied for 10th at the NCAA Division I level with 21 assists. Verhulst is third on the team and tied for sixth in the CAA with 16 goals.

Beyond them, there are other sleeping giants on this roster. Attacker Morgan Mitchell was a 2023 All-CAA Second Team selection last season, but the addition of Finn through the transfer portal has limited her touches. However, she still contributes to the scoreboard more than once per game, as she has totaled four goals and three assists in six games this year. Midfielder Jaden Hampel was another All-CAA Second Team pick last year, but she missed the first three games of this season due to injury. She has worked her way back slowly from the second unit and has scored just two goals in four games.

Caporuscio has made an impact offensively with six goals and an assist in seven games.

Off the bench, attackers Courtney Maclay, Caitlin Dellecave and Jolie Creo all bring something to the table, as well. Maclay has chipped in four goals and an assist in six games, while Dellecave has dropped four dimes. Creo runs the X very well, although Finn’s addition has rendered her a backup. If called upon, Creo can make plays, as her 26 assists last year led the team. She has picked up two goals and one assist in four games this year.

If the game follows the law of averages, Stony Brook may very well coast its way to a 1-0 start in CAA play.

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About the Contributor
Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
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