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Masera and Hart join 200-goal club in No. 15/16 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse’s win

Attacker Kailyn Hart (14) celebrates a goal against Rutgers on Tuesday, April 9. Hart and midfielder Ellie Masera (12) each reached 200 goals for their careers in the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team’s victory. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

In a brief return to nonconference action, the No. 15/16 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team bent but did not break.

Nearly a year after an upset loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-8, 0-5 Big Ten), the Seawolves (11-2, 5-0 CAA) exacted revenge on Tuesday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. On a day where attacker Kailyn Hart and midfielder Ellie Masera each reached 200 career goals, Stony Brook defeated its New Jersey foe 13-10.

Hart and Masera became the fifth and sixth players in program history to join the 200-goal club, respectively. 

Head coach Joe Spallina expressed pride in his superstars.

“I could not be more proud,” Spallina said in a postgame press conference. “I’ve watched these women grow up and they’re incredible people. I remember them on their recruiting visits. I think they buy in and do it the right way.”

Thanks to contributions by the Seawolves’ star tandem, they held a comfortable 12-5 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. However, things went sour from there.

After controlling 10 draws apiece through the opening three quarters, Rutgers won all seven draws in the final period. It translated the first three wins into goals to make it a 12-8 game before Stony Brook forced a shot clock violation the fourth time around.

However, defender Rachel Rosenberg turned the ball over on a clear attempt, leading to another tally for the Scarlet Knights. After controlling the ensuing draw, Rutgers cut the Seawolves’ lead to just two goals.

Spallina attributed the onslaught to fatigue.

“You make some stops, then you turn it over, you’re playing so much defense,” Spallina said. “People are tired and they’re unable to clear the ball. When you’re gassed like that, everything looks different. It’s why we ask our attack to be the brains of the operation, because our middies are running up and down the field and they don’t always think rationally.”

After cutting their deficit to just a pair of goals, the Scarlet Knights approached with a chance to cut into the lead even more. On that attacking set, Rutgers attacker Lily Dixon mishandled a pass on the endline, allowing the ball to roll out of bounds.

On the clear, defender Jordan Forte lost control of the ball, giving it right back to the Scarlet Knights. They had two free-position attempts on that approach but opted to pass it out both times. Eventually, a pass by Rutgers midfielder Alexa Corbin in the midst of three Seawolves defenders ended in a ground ball that was scooped up by Rosenberg, who single-handedly cleared the ball to finally give Stony Brook an attacking set in the fourth quarter.

Spallina emphasized the crucial nature of Rosenberg’s play.

“Rachel had a tough time clearing the ball tonight,” Spallina said. “She had a couple of key turnovers. But, to Rachel’s credit, she also maybe had the most important clear of the game. Trust our players, they’re going to make plays [and] they’re going to make mistakes. It’s sports, not everything is perfect.”

The Seawolves could not capitalize on the turnover, as midfielder Charlotte Verhulst was stripped by defender Madison Karpe as she was ready to unleash a shot.

However, defender Avery Hines caused a turnover to retrieve the ball immediately after for Stony Brook, leading to a goal by Alex Finn that made it 13-10 with 2:44 left in the contest.

Hines — who was named the IWLCA National Defensive Player of the Week before Tuesday’s game — pointed to the defense’s collectivism as the deciding factor down the stretch.

“The second half was a different team that we saw,” Hines said. “We adapted a little too late in the game. After those last few goals, we really came together and were like, ‘we need these stops right now. If we’re not getting them on the draw, we will be the ones to get it back.’ And I think we did.”

Following Finn’s tally, the Scarlet Knights continued their success in the draw circle. However, a wide shot by midfielder Cassidy Spilis closed the door on their comeback attempt.

The Seawolves outshot Rutgers 27-18. They were +7 (17-10) on the turnover differential and scooped up 13 ground balls compared to the Scarlet Knights’ 12. However, the 17-10 advantage against Stony Brook in the draw control category was its largest discrepancy of the season.

Hart — who achieved the 200-goal milestone by scoring the Seawolves’ first two goals — attributed her aggressiveness right out of the gate to a thirst for revenge.

“We were hungry for this win,” Hart said. “It was Rutgers, we lost to them last year and we wanted payback. I saw Ellie was being locked up and they were locking off Finn behind, so I knew I had to step up and get the team going.”

Overall, Hart finished with a hat trick along with a trio assists. Verhulst also netted a hat trick.

Masera tallied a pair of goals and an assist, while Finn posted two goals and two assists. Attacker Courtney Maclay, midfielder Erin MacQuarrie and defender Clare Levy all scored a goal apiece.

Levy had to be helped off the field with two minutes left due to a non-contact injury. On a clear attempt, she stopped on a dime and appeared to hurt her left knee. Spallina was optimistic about her condition, as her X-ray came back negative. 

Midfielders Jaden Hampel and Alexandra Fusco each dished out an assist each.

Hines caused four turnovers. Behind her, goalkeeper Emily Manning played the whole game for Stony Brook and made seven saves for a .412 save percentage.

Conversely, goalkeeper Sophia Cardello was also in the cage for the entire 60 minutes for Rutgers and stopped eight shots for a .381 mark.

Spilis led the Scarlet Knights with a hat trick and nine draw controls.

The Seawolves will return to Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) action on Thursday in Virginia where they will take on the William & Mary Tribe. The Tribe are 4-9 overall and 0-4 in CAA play this season. They are coming off a 14-5 loss to Towson. Opening draw is set for 5 p.m.

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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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