No. 12/14 #Seawolves favored to defend America East title in 2014
Feb. 6, 2014
Cambridge, Mass. – The reigning America East champion No. 12/14 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team has been declared the preseason favorite to finish atop the conference standings for the second consecutive season, league officials announced Thursday as part of the preseason poll.
Stony Brook received four out of five possible first-place votes and 24 votes overall to edge Albany by two votes. Each of the conference’s six coaches received a vote in the poll and they were not allowed to rank their own team.
UMBC and New Hampshire tied for third with 14 votes apiece, and Vermont and Binghamton rounded out the poll with 11 votes and five votes, respectively.
The Seawolves won their second America East regular season championship and first tournament crown last season before advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They have made it to the conference finals in both of head coach Joe Spallina’s first two years at the helm, where they have squared off with rival Albany each time.
Stony Brook returns seven starters and 17 letterwinners from last year’s record-breaking team, including three All-America East selections. Senior netminder Frankie Caridi, a two-time first-team all-conference pick and ILWomen Preseason All-American, led the country and established a new conference mark in goals-against average (5.71). She was also the Division I leader in save percentage (.530) en route to All-Mid-Atlantic Region accolades.
Lockdown starting sophomore defenders Alyssa Fleming and Maegan Meritz helped Stony Brook set a Division I record for lowest scoring defense (5.65) and an America East mark for fewest goals allowed during the conference tournament (7). Fleming placed on the America East All-Rookie and second teams.
Three of the squad’s top five goal scorers in junior midfielders Michelle Rubino (34) and Amber Kupres (31) and senior midfielder Emily Mercier (28) are back as well. Rubino, who is also Stony Brook’s leading returner in draw controls (57) and points (46), was a second-team all-conference selection last season, and Kupres picked up All-Championship honors.
Princeton transfer Jenna Davis will add depth to the midfield line after helping the Tigers reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013. Stony Brook adds 14 decorated freshmen as the program continues to evolve and looks to become a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament.
The Seawolves are the only America East team to appear in the major national preseason polls, coming in at No. 12 and No. 14 in the coaches and media rankings, respectively. They begin their season Feb. 15 at home against Bucknell and open conference action at LaValle March 29 versus UMBC.