MLL team to recognize Stony Brook for stellar 2014 season
Young Stony Brook program proves its built to last in another season for the history books
Game to be played June 26
Game to be played June 7 at Cabrini College
Stony Brook finishes 2014 with 17 wins, tied for a single-season program record
Albany vs. Stony Brook Highlights
Joe Spallina embodies Long Island lacrosse, and after a successful run as the head coach of the Adelphi women's program, he has taken over the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team and turned it into an immediate winner. The engineer of the nation's best turnaround in 2012 and winningest coach in program history after only three seasons, Spallina has the Seawolves competing annually for the America East title while also bursting onto the national women's lacrosse scene. He returns for a fourth season in 2015 with a stellar 48-12 overall mark, a 15-2 record in America East action and 90.8 percent of his goal scoring from the nationally-ranked 2014 America East championship team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Under Spallina, Stony Brook has produced three IWLCA All-Americans, two Tewaaraton semifinalists, two conference championships and two NCAA Tournament second-round berths. SBU has been nationally ranked in at least one major poll 31 times.
The Seawolves did not rebuild in 2014; they reloaded. Despite starting three freshmen and losing 60 percent of its goal scoring from 2013 to graduation, Spallina insisted Stony Brook would be back in the NCAA Tournament. On May 4, his team proved him right and repeated as America East champions by spurning archrival Albany, 7-1, at LaValle Stadium. The Seawolves downed Towson, 10-8, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for their second consecutive second-round appearance and record-tying 17th win of the season. Stony Brook twice topped the nationally ranked Great Danes, including an 8-4 win in Albany April 12 that made Spallina the program's winningest coach with 43 wins in less than three seasons.
Regular season conference champions and the top-seed for the tournament for the second straight year, SBU was awarded a host of postseason accolades. Goalie Frankie Caridi was a Tewaaraton semifinalist, third-team All-American, unanimous first-team all-conference pick and America East Defensive Player of the Year. In total, Stony Brook racked up a league-high 16 all-conference accolades, including a conference-best four All-Rookie selections (Dorrien Van Dyke, Courtney Murphy, Alyssa Guido and Kristin Yevoli). Van Dyke became the second Seawolf to be named Rookie of the Year and was the only rookie to be named first-team all-conference. Michelle Rubino and Alyssa Fleming joined Van Dyke and Caridi on the first team, and Maegan Meritz, Yevoli, Murphy and Alyssa Cardillo placed on the second team. Three-year captain Jessica Romano and junior Marina Mestres earned All-Academic nods for their outstanding work on the field and in the classroom.
In a year that saw the young offense take shape, the Stony Brook defense produced one of the best seasons in NCAA history. Breaking its own national Division I record for scoring defense from the year before, the Seawolves surrendered a staggering 5.31 goals per game. The Seawolves held opponents to single-digit goal scoring in 19 of 21 games, to five goals or fewer 13 times and to three goals or fewer six times. SBU earned its first-ever shutout, a 13-0 win over Monmouth Feb. 19 and held three teams to only goal (Albany, 5/4; UMBC, 3/29; Bucknell, 3/18). Caridi repeated as the GAA (5.17) and save percentage (.542) champion. Her GAA ranks fifth in NCAA single-season history and topped her own conference mark. She allowed an average of three goals in the two-game span of the America East Championship, a tournament record that earned her Most Outstanding Player honors. The one goal she allowed in the title game vs. Albany was a single-game tournament low and the six total goals the unit surrendered that weekend were the fewest in championship history.
With Spallina at the helm, the squad produced its then-winningest season in program history in 2013, notching a 17-3 mark and going 6-0 in America East action. SBU remained in the national rankings in both major polls all season, cracking the top-10 for the first time in school history and receiving unprecedented national media coverage on a daily basis.
Stony Brook won its first outright regular season conference crown and earned hosting rights for the 2013 America East Championship as the No. 1 seed. On May 5, SBU punched its first-ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament by beating rival Albany, 14-3, in the America East title game played at LaValle Stadium. The historic victory marked the first America East crown for a team that won just four games in 2011.
Spallina marshaled the Seawolves to an 8-6 win over Towson in their first NCAA Tournament game, the school record 17th victory of the season. The squad broke numerous other single-season records, including goals scored (298), points (412), draw controls (259) and consecutive wins (12). SBU led the nation in scoring defense with then-NCAA record 5.65 goals against average. The Seawolves were the only team to allow fewer than six goals per game and surrendered a then-school mark of just two on three occasions.
Demmianne Cook became SBU's all-time leading goal scorer with 158 career tallies despite only playing two seasons at Stony Brook. She shattered her own single-season school mark for goals scored by netting an incredible, nation-leading 90. Frankie Caridi led the nation in goals against average (5.71) and save percentage (.530).
Claire Petersen broke the program record for points in a single-contest (13) and topped an NCAA mark with 11 assists on March 9 against Longwood.
The Seawolves were honored with multiple national and conference postseason accolades, including a Synapse Sports National Coach of the Year nod for Spallina. Cook became SBU's first-ever Tewaaraton nominee and second IWLCA All-American while also earning Synapse All-America status. Frankie Caridi joined her on the Synapse All-America, and Alyssa Fleming was named All-Rookie, a sign of the talent Spallina is developing. Cook being was honored as America East Player of the Year, the second straight Seawolf to earn the honor. Justyne Passarelli and Kaitlyn Harrison were commended for their work in the classroom and on the field with All-Academic status.
Taking over a team that had won only four games in 2011 and facing a daunting schedule that included four nationally ranked opponents, Spallina worked hard to develop the Seawolves into a winner in his first season in 2012. He brought in five high-profile transfers, mixed in nine budding freshmen and got the 12 returners to buy into his system to produce a then-program-record 14 wins.
Every week that season under Spallina, Stony Brook made history in the record books. The Seawolves recorded their first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent when they took down No. 20/17 Johns Hopkins on March 3. A week later, the team itself entered the national rankings for the first time ever at No. 19 in the Inside Lacrosse/deBeer Media Poll.
After a regular season that included a second-place finish in America East, Stony Brook was rewarded with a multiple conference honors. Claire Petersen, who later became SBU's first IWLCA All-American, was named the America East Player of the Year to headline a then-program-record six first-team All-America East selections. Joining her were Demmianne Cook, Janine Hillier, Michelle Rubino, Melissa Rotante and Jessica Romano. Spallina was named America East Coach of the Year.
In addition, the team placed three freshmen on the America East All-Rookie team. Michelle Rubino, Amber Kupres and Marina Mestres were all recognized for their outstanding rookie campaigns, and Rubino was the only freshman named to the all-conference first team.
Named Stony Brook's head coach on June 15, 2011, Spallina previously spent four seasons as the head coach at Adelphi, producing a dominant 73-2 (.973) record and an NCAA-record three consecutive Division II national championships, including in 2011 when his team defeated Limestone in the title game on its home field on May 22. The victory completed a perfect 20-0 season and was the team's 26th consecutive win. Spallina's Panthers were the wire-to-wire No. 1 ranked team in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) poll.
In all four of his seasons, Spallina led Adelphi to at least the NCAA Championship semifinals. In 2008, Spallina's first season, the Panthers won 16 consecutive games to reach the final four before falling to C.W. Post. The following season, Spallina led the program to its first-ever undefeated season with an 18-0 record and beating C.W. Post and Lock Haven to secure Adelphi's third national championship. In 2010, Spallina's team won its first 14 games for an overall 32-game winning streak before slipping up against C.W. Post. However, the Panthers avenged the loss by beating Post again in the national semifinals and then topping West Chester for a second consecutive national championship. In 2011, Adelphi's championship win marked the team's 26th consecutive victory and the program's second-ever undefeated season.
Spallina has received numerous personal accolades for his coaching efforts. He is a three-time IWLCA National Coach of the Year (2009-11) and a three-time conference Coach of the Year (Northeast-10 in 2010 & `11 and East Coast Conference in 2009). In 2011, he was named the Nassau County Sports Commission College Coach of the Year, and in 2009, he was the FieldTurf NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
Spallina has proven to be a strong recruiter on his native soil. A resident of Rocky Point, N.Y., Spallina's 2011 roster at Adelphi was 89 percent Long Island recruits, including 16 student-athletes from Suffolk County. In total under Spallina's watch, Adelphi has had 21 IWLCA All-American selections, 22 IWLCA All-Region picks and 35 All-Conference honorees. His team has also produced the IWLCA Goalie of the Year for three consecutive years and the Attacker of the Year and Midfielder of the Year for two consecutive seasons, as well as the Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. The team has also nearly swept the conference awards for the last three seasons, producing the conference Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year in all three years and Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for two of the three seasons.
Spallina's student-athletes have also produced in the classroom. Adelphi's Kristin Jones was the 2011 NCAA Div. II Elite 88 Award recipient as having the top GPA among the four NCAA Championship teams. She was also named the IWLCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In total, Spallina has had six IWLCA Scholar-Athletes, three CoSIDA Academic All-District selections and one CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree.
In addition to his duties at Adelphi, Spallina serves head coach for the New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) after serving as an assistant coach for two seasons. He helped guide the Lizards to the MLL championship game as an assistant in 2010, and took home Brine MLL Coach of the Year honors in 2012, his first season as head coach. Spallina also is director of the Pro Player Girls Lacrosse Camp in Oakdale, N.Y.
Prior to taking over at Adelphi, Spallina was the head coach of the girls lacrosse team at Rocky Point High School and led the squad to five Suffolk County finals, including three consecutive championships in his last three years, compiling an impressive 87-9 overall record. Spallina also coached the girls soccer team at Rocky Point.
Spallina is a 1996 graduate of Adelphi, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education. He was a four-year starter at midfielder on the men's lacrosse team and helped lead the Panthers to a 38-14 record and two national championships in 1993 and `95. He also lettered in men's soccer for two years. Spallina is also a graduate of Rocky Point High School, where he was All-Conference in lacrosse and All-County in soccer.
Spallina, who also earned his Master of Arts in Health Studies from Stony Brook University in 2004, resides in Rocky Point, N.Y., with his wife, Mary Beth, and four children.