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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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The Statesman 2023-24 Sports Awards

Stony Brook teams in action throughout the 2023-24 athletic year. All 10 sports shown alongside men’s and women’s soccer were eligible to receive votes. ILLUSTRATED BY BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

The 15 members of The Statesman’s sports section voted on 10 annual awards given to Stony Brook athletes, coaches and teams for notable performances throughout their respective seasons in the 2023-24 athletic year as representatives of the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA).

The awards are as follows: Men’s and Women’s Most Valuable Player, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Men’s and Women’s Transfer of the Year, Men’s and Women’s Rookie of the Year and Men’s and Women’s Breakout Player of the Year.

Men’s Most Valuable Player: Tyler Stephenson-Moore – Basketball, Small Forward

With eight votes, Stephenson-Moore took home The Statesman’s Men’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

The graduate student spearheaded the Seawolves’ magical run in the 2024 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship, as he averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and a steal per game during Stony Brook’s four games in the tournament, which culminated in it falling just short of an NCAA tournament appearance. For his efforts, Stephenson-Moore was named a member of the 2024 CAA All-Tournament Team.

In his final collegiate season, Stephenson-Moore registered 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game en route to earning 2023-24 All-CAA Second Team honors.

Stephenson-Moore attempts a shot against Stonehill on Wednesday, Dec. 6. He was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Men’s Most Valuable Player. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Edmond Kaiser – Soccer, Goalkeeper (six); Dylan Pallonetti – Lacrosse, Attackman (one)

Women’s Most Valuable Player: Ellie Masera – Lacrosse, Midfielder

With 12 votes, Masera took home The Statesman’s Women’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

The senior saved the best for last; in her final collegiate season, Masera posted single-season career highs in goals (77) and assists (40).

The Tewaaraton Award finalist ranked first in the CAA and sixth in the nation in goals per game (4.05) and fourth in the conference with two assists per game. Additionally, the 2024 USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American First Team honoree had the second-most points in the nation with 117.

Masera also had a crucial impact in the center circle, as she broke the program’s single-season draw control record with 145 and was second in the league with 7.63 draw controls per game.

She also took home the 2024 CAA Midfielder of the Year award and was selected to the 2024 All-CAA First Team. Furthermore, after putting up six goals and five assists in the 2024 CAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship, Masera earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award and was part of the All-Tournament Team.

Masera dodges past a defender against Arizona State on Friday, Feb. 23. She was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Women’s Most Valuable Player. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Torri Henry – Volleyball, Setter (two); Kailyn Hart – Lacrosse, Attacker (one)

Team of the Year: Women’s Lacrosse

With all 15 votes, the women’s lacrosse team unanimously took home The Statesman’s Team of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

The Seawolves were ranked for the entire season, beginning at No. 11 before finishing at No. 14. Stony Brook registered an 18-3 overall record, which included a pair of victories against ranked opponents.

Additionally, the Seawolves dominated the CAA once again, as they won all eight of their regular season conference games before claiming back-to-back CAA titles. By earning the conference’s automatic bid, Stony Brook reached the NCAA tournament for an 11th straight season, where it was ultimately eliminated in the second round of this year’s edition.

Stony Brook sported the best scoring offense (15.62 goals per game) and defense (8.08 goals allowed per game) in the league and ranked ninth and second in the nation in each category, respectively.

Players from the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team look on during the CAA’s trophy presentation after defeating Drexel in the conference’s title game on Saturday, May 4. The squad was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Team of the Year. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Coach of the Year: Ashley Langford – Women’s Basketball & Joe Spallina – Women’s Lacrosse

With five votes each, Langford and Spallina — who also took home 2023-24 and 2024 CAA Coach of the Year honors, respectively — shared The Statesman’s Coach of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

In her third year as the Seawolves’ head coach, Langford led Stony Brook to its first-ever CAA regular season championship. Under her leadership, the Seawolves posted a 28-5 overall record and went 16-2 in conference play this season. They achieved the second-highest overall win-loss percentage (.848) and highest conference win-loss percentage (.889) in program history. Additionally, Stony Brook reached the conference title game and netted the program’s first national postseason victory in the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament.

The Seawolves had three players earn CAA postseason honors. Point guard Gigi Gonzalez — the 2023-24 CAA Player of the Year — was named to the 2023-24 All-CAA First Team. Power forward Sherese Pittman and center Khari Clark were both selected to the 2023-24 All-CAA Second Team.

Langford (center) draws up a play during a timeout against North Carolina A&T on Sunday, March 3. She was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Coach of the Year alongside Spallina. CHRISTOPHER YANG/THE STATESMAN

Conversely, Spallina punched in another successful year for Stony Brook. The team sported an 18-3 overall record, which included wins over two ranked opponents. This season, the Seawolves remained unbeaten against CAA foes since joining the conference last year, as they came out victorious in all eight regular season conference games before winning a second straight CAA championship.

By securing the conference’s automatic bid, Stony Brook advanced to its 11th-consecutive NCAA tournament, where it reached the second round.

With Spallina at the helm, eight players received CAA postseason honors. Masera — the CAA Midfielder of the Year — attackers Kailyn Hart and Alex Finn alongside defender Avery Hines were named to the All-CAA First Team. Midfielders Charlotte Verhulst and Jaden Hampel with defender Clare Levy were selected to the 2024 All-CAA Second Team. Lastly, midfielder Isabelle Caporuscio earned an appearance on the 2024 CAA All-Rookie Team.

A number of players also collected national acknowledgment. Masera was named to the USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American First Team. Levy was selected to the 2024 USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American Second Team, Hines received 2024 USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American Third Team honors and Finn, Hart and Verhulst were 2024 USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American Honorable Mentions.

Spallina (background) talks to seven of his players during a practice. He was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Coach of the Year alongside Langford. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Ryan Anatol – Men’s Soccer (three); Matt Senk – Baseball (two)

Men’s Transfer of the Year: Cam Santerre – Baseball, Outfielder

With eight votes, Santerre took home The Statesman’s Men’s Transfer of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

The graduate student proved to be an impactful bat in the Seawolves’ lineup, as his .459 on-base percentage (OBP) was the highest mark among qualified hitters on the team. Santerre led Stony Brook with two triples and racked up seven doubles, one home run and 16 runs batted in (RBIs).

The newcomer’s ability to get on base was put to good use, as he was tied for fifth in the CAA with 18 stolen bases during the regular season on 21 attempts. Additionally, he dazzled on the field, making just two errors on 80 total chances.

Santerre lays off an incoming pitch against Manhattan on Tuesday, April 23. Santerre was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Men’s Transfer of the Year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Chris Maidoh – Basketball, Center (seven)

Women’s Transfer of the Year: Alex Finn – Lacrosse, Attacker

With nine votes, Finn took home The Statesman’s Women’s Transfer of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

After three seasons of similar scoring and assisting numbers with the University of Massachusetts, Finn leaned further into her facilitator side in her one and only year with the Seawolves while surrounded by several prolific goalscorers.

As Stony Brook’s primary X player, the graduate student dished out a single-season career-high 53 assists to go with 32 goals. Finn led the conference with 2.52 assists per game and was selected to the All-CAA First Team.

She also earned national recognition for the first time in her collegiate career, as Finn was a All-American Honorable Mention by USA Lacrosse Magazine.

Finn prepares to receive a pass against Hofstra on Sunday, April 21. She was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Women’s Transfer of the Year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Khari Clark – Basketball, Center (six)

Men’s Rookie of the Year: Erik Paulsen – Baseball, First Baseman & Pitcher

With 13 votes, Paulsen took home The Statesman’s Men’s Rookie of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

The two-way freshman put together an outstanding rookie season, culminating in Paulsen being named the 2024 CAA Rookie of the Year and, consequently, earning a selection to the 2024 CAA All-Rookie Team. Also a 2024 All-CAA Team Honorable Mention, he ranked seventh in the conference in doubles (16) and joint third in saves (six) during the regular season.

Paulsen had a big year at the plate, as he slashed .299/.392/.458 with four home runs. Additionally, he was a key run producer for the Seawolves. Paulsen plated the third-most runs on the team with 24. Out of the bullpen, he pitched to a 3.21 earned run average over 42 innings.

Paulsen stands on third base alongside associate head coach Jim Martin during a game against Manhattan on Tuesday, April 23. He was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Men’s Rookie of the Year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Anthony Johnson – Football, Wide Receiver (two)

Women’s Rookie of the Year: Ava Jackson – Volleyball, Pin Hitter

With 10 votes, Jackson took home The Statesman’s Women’s Rookie of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

The freshman tallied the fourth-best mark on the Seawolves in total points (189.0), total kills (161) and kills per set (2.21) en route to being named to the 2023 CAA All-Rookie Team. Additionally, Jackson ranked fifth on the team with 2.59 points per set.

Although she came off the bench for most of the season, Jackson was integral to Stony Brook’s 17 wins, the program’s most since 2018. She had 10 or more kills in five of the team’s last six regular season games, which helped push the Seawolves up the standings and eventually settle in as the fifth seed for the 2023 CAA Volleyball Championship.

Jackson serves the ball against the University of North Carolina Wilmigton on Saturday, Nov. 4. She was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Women’s Rookie of the Year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Isabella Caporuscio – Lacrosse, Midfielder (four); Janay Brantley – Basketball, Point Guard (one)

Men’s Breakout Player of the Year: Olsen Aluc – Soccer, Forward

With four votes, Aluc took home The Statesman’s Men’s Breakout Player of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

After an injury-riddled first season with the Seawolves last year, the senior bounced back in a big way despite still not being fully healthy. Aluc led the team in goal contributions, as he scored six goals and assisted four others.

The versatile forward took many roles within Stony Brook’s offense and earned a 2023 All-CAA Third Team selection. Aluc finished ninth in the conference in goals and 10th in shots on goal per game (1.06).

Aluc (center) dribbles a defender against St. Joseph’s on Tuesday, Sept. 26. He was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Men’s Breakout Player of the Year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: J.T. Raab – Baseball, Pitcher (three); Tommy Wilk – Lacrosse, Goalkeeper (three); Anthony Williams – Football, Defensive Lineman (three); Johnny Pilla – Baseball, Second Baseman (two)

Women’s Breakout Player of the Year: Naiah Ackerman – Softball, Second Baseman/Shortstop

With five votes, Ackerman took home The Statesman’s Women’s Breakout Player of the Year award for the 2023-24 athletic year.

Following her 2023 CAA All-Rookie Team nod, Ackerman avoided a sophomore slump by setting career highs in all major offensive categories. As a stalwart in the middle of the Seawolves’ lineup this year, she set single-season career highs in batting average (.288), home runs (five), RBIs (28), runs scored (21), walks (17) and on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.839).

The sophomore finished the regular season tied for 10th in the conference in homers. Additionally, Ackerman ranked joint third on Stony Brook in walks, fourth in both slugging percentage (.456) and doubles (six) and fifth in both OPS and OBP (.383).

Ackerman improved vastly from her freshman year, when she unexpectedly became the team’s starting shortstop after Kyra McFarland suffered an early season-ending injury. After being thrown into the fire as a rookie, Ackerman hit just .208 with two home runs, 18 RBIs, eight runs scored, 10 walks and a .545 OPS.

Ackerman greets head coach Megan Bryant as she rounds the bases against Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday, April 17. She was voted as The Statesman’s 2023-24 Women’s Breakout Player of the Year. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Other vote recipients: Kerry Pearson – Soccer, Defender (four); Avery Hines – Lacrosse, Defender (four); Abby Stanwood – Volleyball, Outside Hitter (one); Leoni Kunz – Volleyball, Outside Hitter (one)

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About the Contributors
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.
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.
Anthony DiCocco
Anthony DiCocco, Assistant Sports Editor
Anthony DiCocco is an Assistant Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports derives from years of playing dek hockey and watching his favorite teams, the New York Islanders, New York Mets and New York Jets. He is the beat reporter for Stony Brook’s hockey and softball teams. He has also covered football, baseball, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper the Devil’s Tale at Plainedge High School. He is a local product from North Massapequa, N.Y.
Kenny Spurrell
Kenny Spurrell, Assistant Sports Editor
Kenny Spurrell is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a senior English major and journalism minor at Stony Brook University. He began covering sports for The Statesman during the Fall 2021 semester. Since then, he has covered men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse and football. His passion for sports derives from his many years of playing basketball, football and baseball. He is a Long Island native from Selden, N.Y. and has dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
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