No. 18/19 Stony Brook enters 2013 campaign with sights set on national title

Claire Petersen became Stony Brook's first-ever women's lacrosse All-American last year
 
Claire Petersen became Stony Brook's first-ever women's lacrosse All-American last year
 
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Feb. 8, 2013

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Fresh off a remarkable turnaround, which put 18/19 Stony Brook on the national women's lacrosse map, the Seawolves are poised to continue their ascent and compete for their first-ever NCAA crown in 2013.

Stony Brook, ranked No. 1 in the 2013 America East preseason poll, returns 20 letterwinners and its entire starting lineup from the 2012 team that finished with a program-record 14 wins and competed for an America East title. SBU also adds eight promising newcomers to its roster as it continues to mold itself into a perennial title contender.

"We have a great returning group and add a solid freshman class as well as a couple of transfers," said women's lacrosse head coach Joe Spallina, the 2012 America East Coach of the Year. "Our goal is to first win the America East and make an impact in the NCAA tournament."

Attack

Stony Brook boasts a prolific scorer and preseason ILWomen.com All-American in Claire Petersen at the attack position. In her first season in Seawolves Country, the Wantagh, N.Y., native rewrote the SBU record book, tallying an incredible 101 points (a program record) on 42 goals (third-best all-time at Stony Brook) and 59 assists (a program record).  She reached a Stony Brook-record 10 points twice in a two-week span (against Iona March 27 and Vermont April 7), while also posting nine points for the third time in 2012 against Binghamton on March 31 en route garnering 2012 America East Player of the Year and IWLCA All-American third-team honors. Petersen, a team captain, enters the 2013 campaign ranked third all-time in program history in assists and ninth in points.   

The Seawolves also return junior Alyssa Cardillo, who posted nine points on seven goals and two assists in 19 games last season, to the lineup.

Stony Brook increases its depth at the attack position that helped the squad post a school-record 263 goals in 2012 with the additions of Natalie Marciniak, Kristen Palese and Shannon Coleman. Palese nabbed All-League honors all four years at Irvington High School, while also being named All-Section her junior and senior years. Coleman, who hails from Centereach, N.Y., was named All-County in 2011 and 2012 and All-Region in 2010 while playing for Centereach High School.  Marciniak, also a capable midfielder, is a two-year letterwinner in women's lacrosse at Mt. Hebron High School.

Midfield

The midfield looks to once again be the strongest unit on the field for Stony Brook as Demmianne Cook and Janine Hillier, both senior captains, return. Cook, who broke a school-record for a single-season with 68 goals last year and scored a Stony Brook-best nine goals against Monmouth, possesses explosive speed, which will help her contribute both offensively and defensively. The 5-5 Nesconset, N.Y., native led the team with 37 ground balls and was second with 61 draw controls and 19 caused turnovers last season.

After transferring from Florida, Hillier lit up the scoreboard last season with 47 goals, which is second only to Cook on Stony Brook's all-time ledger. She is a dynamic midfielder who has had a fantastic preseason and can defend, dodge and shoot.

Sophomore Michelle Rubino, the Seawolves' primary draw control option with 94 draws last season, returns to the roster after racking up 42 points in her rookie campaign. A balanced player, Rubino led Stony Brook with 24 caused turnovers last year while scooping up 29 ground balls.

Amber Kupres, a sophomore midfielder who is good on the dodge and the cut and scored 29 goals in her freshman season, also makes her way back to the field in 2013. Sophomore Marina Mestres, who saw time in all 19 games for Stony Brook last season and contributed immediately to the defense, will transition to the midfield. Her versatility and stick skills will allow them to slide into their new roles.

The Seawolves also added depth at the midfield position with the additions of Kathryn Kuerner, sister of Kelly Kuerner, Courtney Boneillo, red shirt freshman Maegan Mertiz and Marciniak, who could also see time at attack.

Defenders

Captains Jessica Romano and Melissa Rotante highlight the back line for the Seawolves with an aggressive style of play that disrupts opposing offenses. After missing all of 2011 due to a knee injury, Romano returned to the field and seamlessly transitioned from midfield to defense because of her versatility as an athlete, causing 13 turnovers and picking up 20 ground balls. Rotante, a pure 1-on-1 defender, caused 12 turnovers and registered 19 ground balls.

Alyssa Fleming is a top-notch recruit who joins the Seawolves from Shoreman-Wading River High School, where she garnered All-American and All-County accolades in 2012, was named All-County in 2010 and led the team to the state championship in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Fleming is another pure 1-on-1 defender who will help shut down the opposition.

Ganoe, a versatile athlete who played in all 19 games last year, also returns to the defensive unit, while Justyne Passarelli will look to make an impact during her senior year.

Goalkeeper

Stony Brook returns both of its netminders from the 2012 campaign which saw Frankie Caridi post a record of 8-1-0 and a save percentage of 43 percent in an injury-shortened season. Hannah Perrucio notched a 6-4 mark and made 57 stops for the Seawolves as a junior.

Schedule

SBU's non-conference slate is high lighted by matchups with a pair of 2012 national semifinalists in Florida (Feb. 20 in Gainseville, Fla.) and Maryland (March 17 at LaValle Stadium).

"To be the best, you have to play them, and we're excited about that opportunity," said Spallina.

The road contest at Florida is the second of four-straight games away from LaValle stadium to kick off the 2013 campaign. Stony Brook begins the year at Bucknell Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. and will face Duquense in Dowingtown, Pa. Feb. 20. SBU plays Central Connecticut Feb. 27 before returning to Long Island for its home opener against Longwood March 9th. The Seawolves will also host Iona March 20 and play their first America East game at Vermont.

Stony Brook wraps up non-conference play with a road contest with Siena and a home game against Fresno State at the end of March. On March 30, the Seawolves will play Albany, who ended their title run last season in the America East championship game.

SBU is on the road for the first two Saturdays of April at UMBC and New Hampshire and concludes its season with two home games against Boston University and Binghamton.