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No. 15/16 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse looks to feast on William & Mary

Members of the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team huddle together following a goal scored against Rutgers on Tuesday, April 9. The Seawolves will square off against William & Mary in Virginia on Thursday. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

In a true David and Goliath encounter, the No. 15/16 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team will hope to take care of business.

A matchup between two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) standings will feature the Seawolves (11-2, 5-0 CAA) visiting the struggling William & Mary Tribe (4-9, 0-4 CAA) in Virginia on Thursday. The last time the sides met on Stony Brook’s senior day last year, it celebrated appropriately with a 20-6 thumping of William & Mary. Opening draw for this one is set for 5 p.m.

Although the Tribe has not been particularly impressive in any aspect of lacrosse this season, they have been especially poor offensively. William & Mary has the worst attack in the conference, as it scores just 9.69 goals per game. Additionally, the Tribe does not generate many opportunities, as they are last in the league in shots per game (25.08).

One bright spot on William & Mary’s offense is midfielder Paige Gilbert. She leads the Tribe with 27 goals and is ninth in the CAA with 5.85 shots per game. In four conference games, Gilbert has tallied 10 goals. She has also dished out a pair of assists this year.

William & Mary’s best dual-threat attacker is midfielder Kate Draddy. She has reached double-digits in goals (14) and assists (10). Other weapons for the Tribe on that end of the field include attacker Ainsley Huizenga and midfielders Maresa Moyer and Finley Hoffman. The trio has combined for 33 goals and 12 assists.

Those five players will need to have the game of their lives to give William & Mary any chance at upsetting the Seawolves, who happen to possess the best defense in the league. Stony Brook allows just 7.98 goals per game, which is also good for fourth best in the nation.

Defender Avery Hines is the linchpin of the Seawolves’ endline. The reigning IWLCA National Defensive Player of the Week is second in the conference and fifth in the nation with 2.69 caused turnovers per game. She also leads the team with 25 ground balls.

Hines’ batterymate on Stony Brook’s defense is usually defender Clare Levy. She is second on the team with 23 ground balls and has caused nine turnovers. However, Levy suffered a non-contact knee injury in the Seawolves’ last outing. Although her X-ray came back negative, the opponent’s quality suggests she will be out.

Other contributors on Stony Brook’s endline include defenders McKenzie Mitchell, Jordan Forte and Rachel Rosenberg. As a trio, they have caused 20 turnovers and scooped up 27 ground balls for the Seawolves.

Stony Brook’s goalkeeping has been its only subpar area this season. Goalkeepers Emily Manning and Aaliyah Jones have shared time in the cage. However, Manning has taken most of the minutes. She ranks ninth in the conference in both save percentage (.361) and saves per game (four).

Conversely, Jones ranks second in the CAA in save percentage (.548). However, her time on the field has not been busy, as she sits at 10th in the conference with 2.13 saves per game.

Minding the opposite net will be William & Mary goalkeeper Marin Wilhelm, who has been mediocre this year. She has the seventh-highest save percentage in the league with a .403 mark and sits fifth in the CAA with 7.73 saves per game.

Along with her middle-of-the-road play, Wilhelm’s defense has not done her any favors. The Tribe has the second-worst endline in the conference, as they concede 14.07 goals per game.

The starters on William & Mary’s defense are defenders Jaylin Locke, Kathleen Cozzi and Courtney Vasquenza. Locke has been the Tribe’s best playmaker on their endline, as she leads her team with 14 caused turnovers to go alongside 19 ground balls. Cozzi and Vasquenza have combined to cause 14 turnovers as a tandem. Vasquenza leads her team with 26 ground balls, while Cozzi has picked up 13.

Another integral piece of William & Mary’s defense is defender Claire Doto. Although she has missed four games this season, she still has forced seven turnovers and collected 12 ground balls.

The Tribe’s defense will have their hands full in dealing with the Seawolves’ offense. They own the best attack in the league and are 10th in the nation with 15.77 goals per game. Stony Brook also takes the most shots (33.08) and gives out the most assists per game (9.15) in the CAA.

Midfielder Ellie Masera and attacker Kailyn Hart — who both reached the 200-goal mark in their respective careers during their last time out — spearhead one of the best offenses in the nation.

Masera has tallied 46 goals and 17 assists this year despite missing a pair of games. She ranks first in the conference and sixth in the nation with 4.18 goals per game. Masera is also sixth in the league in assists per game (1.55) and leads it in shots per game (10.09).

Hart sits just behind Masera in multiple categories on the CAA’s leaderboards, as she is second in goals per game (3.67) and shots per game (8.42). Overall, Hart has scored 44 goals and dished out 13 assists this season.

The Seawolves’ main facilitator is attacker Alex Finn. She often roams the X for Stony Brook and has racked up a CAA-leading 43 assists to go alongside 19 goals. Finn’s assist total ranks fourth in the nation as well.

Midfielder Charlotte Verhulst has been crucial to the Seawolves’ success on that end of the field with her 31 goals and eight assists. She is 10th in the league with 2.38 goals per game.

The only other double-digit goalscorer for Stony Brook is attacker Courtney Maclay. She has tallied 10 goals and a pair of assists.

Attackers Morgan Mitchell and Jolie Creo alongside midfielder Jaden Hampel have seen their roles diminish this year with the addition of Finn. However, they have still combined for 19 goals and 14 assists.

Midfielder Isabella Caporuscio is another contributor offensively. She has posted six goals and two assists.

Midfielders Erin MacQuarrie and Alexandra Fusco are two-way players for the Seawolves. MacQuarrie has started every game for Stony Brook and put up five goals, four assists, 16 ground balls and five caused turnovers. Mostly off the bench, Fusco has tallied four goals, three assists, 13 ground balls and six caused turnovers.

On paper, the only area where William & Mary can realistically pose a threat to the Seawolves is in the draw department. The Tribe sits fifth in the CAA with 12.38 draw controls per game. Their unit is manned by Draddy, who has 55 draw controls and is fourth in the conference with 4.23 controls per game.

Still, Stony Brook has the edge in that category, as it ranks second in the league with 15.15 draw controls per game. Masera has played a major part in that area, as she also ranks second in the CAA with 7.91 draw controls per game.

With the Seawolves favored everywhere on paper, they should secure a seventh straight victory with ease on Thursday barring a complete collapse.

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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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