April 28, 2012
Stony Brook, N.Y. - Junior Claire Petersen (Wantagh, N.Y.) scored three goals, including the game-tying and game-winning goals, as she helped the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team overcome a four-goal, halftime deficit to beat New Hampshire, 12-10, Saturday at LaValle Stadium. Petersen led all scorers with seven points on the day and now leads the nation in points with 93.
The win moves Stony Brook to 13-4 overall and 5-1 in America East. Both win totals match the 2007 team for the best records in program history, and the Seawolves continue to rank as the top turnaround team in the nation, improving by nine wins from last season. Stony Brook will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming America East Championship and will draw No. 3 UMBC next Thursday, May 3, in Boston at 4 p.m. New Hampshire slips to 5-10 and has been eliminated from playoff contention as the Wildcats will miss the America East Championship for the first time since 1997.
In addition to Petersen's three goals, juniors Demmianne Cook (Nesconset, N.Y.) and Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) also notched hat tricks with three goals apiece. It was Cook's 12 hat trick of the season as she leads the country with 66 goals. Also putting up goals were freshmen Amber Kupres (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) and Michelle Rubino (East Setauket, N.Y.).
New Hampshire was led by Laura Puccia and Amber Casiano, who both scored three goals.
"Today was a character-building win," head coach Joe Spallina said. "Our kids showed the ability to adjust after a rough first half and change the tone and momentum of the game. It speaks volumes to this team, and I'm proud of them. Now we'll move on to preparing for the America East Championship."
Stony Brook started the game off hot with two quick goals in the first 90 seconds of the game, but the first half belonged to New Hampshire. In a two-minute span, the Wildcats posted three goals to take a 3-2 lead. The lead was stretched to 6-3 and then to 9-5 at halftime after a Kayleigh Hinkle goal with under a minute to play.
The Seawolves came back out in the second half a different team on both sides of the ball. Rubino began the comeback with a goal and then Hillier and Cook scored 23 seconds apart to cut the deficit to one, 9-8, with 21:05 remaining in the game.
Puccia connected on a free position attempt at the 20-minute mark to put the Wildcats up 10-8, but it was all Seawolves after that. Petersen took over the game with three goals in a seven-minute span. UNH's Erin Levesque was called for a charge, turning the ball over to SBU. Petersen then took the ball and scored unassisted to make it 10-9. UNH won the ensuing draw, but Petersen once again capitalized on a turnover and scored again unassisted at 13:15 to tie the game at 10-10.
New Hampshire once again controlled the draw, but turnovers continued to hurt the Wildcats. Sophomore Emily Mercier (Rocky Point, N.Y.) forced Rachael Nock to cough up the possession. She found Cook, who then found Petersen for a wide-open goal to give the Seawolves an 11-10 lead with 10:06 remaining in the game.
Stony Brook then won the next draw and after missing two free position attempts, the Seawolves picked up an insurance goal on Kupres' goal with 7:04 to play. The Seawolves ran out the clock, allowing only one shot on goal the rest of the way.
Defense carried the Seawolves in the second half, allowing just one goal while forcing 12 UNH turnovers. The Wildcats committed 17 turnovers in the game overall. As a team, SBU caused 10 turnovers, led by Cook, who had four on her own. She also contributed a five draw controls and six ground balls. Junior Hannah Perruccio (Rochester, N.Y.) made six saves in net to record her fifth win of the season.
Stony Brook, which is seeking its first-ever conference title and NCAA Tournament bid, makes its first appearance in America East Championship since 2007 next week when it takes on UMBC Thursday at Boston University's Nickerson Field at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to the championship game against either No. 1 Boston University or No. 4 Albany on Saturday at noon, live on ESPN3. For more information, visit America East Championship Central.