Reload & Repeat: 2014 #Seawolves season in review
June 11, 2014
Stony Brook, N.Y. - People wondered if the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team, which lost 59.7 percent of its scoring from the 2013 America East championship team, would even come close to repeating last year's success.
With one of the best defenses in Division I NCAA history and three freshmen in the starting lineup, the No. 20/18 Seawolves proved they were more than a team but a program that is built to last. Stony Brook won an America East title, an NCAA Tournament game and a program-record 17 times for the second consecutive year.
Regular Season Recap
SBU made headlines immediately thanks to a couple of young scorers and its incredible defense. Courtney Murphy tallied school freshmen debut records of eight points and seven goals as the Seawolves downed Bucknell, 18-1, in their opener Feb. 15. Classmate Dorrien Van Dyke scored five times, and Kristin Yevoli tallied one goal and two helpers. The one goal Stony Brook allowed was the fewest in single-game history--but not for long.
Stony Brook blanked 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier Monmouth, 13-0, for its first shutout in program history Feb. 19. Rubino led the balanced attack with four goals and three assists. After a hard-fought, 8-7 loss at nationally-ranked Notre Dame, Stony Brook rebounded with a 16-6 win at Drexel Feb. 26 on the back of a seven-point effort from Van Dyke.
The Seawolves suffered a double-digit setback to Florida--the only double-digit loss of the season for the squad--March 1. The team came together after that, rattling off 11 straight wins including an 8-4 win at then-No. 18/17 Albany that all but locked up the top seed for the America East Championship. The win over the Great Danes was the 43rd of head coach Joe Spallina's Stony Brook career, making him the program's all-time winningest coach in less than three seasons. SBU fell at Vermont, 8-7, in overtime in its regular season finale but still owned hosting rights for the conference tournament.
Kiss the Rings
Some thought it was Albany's year to reclaim the America East crown. With an upperclassmen-heavy lineup and an offense that ranked fourth nationally in goals per game at 15.07, the Great Danes figured to be a formidable opponent. First up; however, was a semifinal matchup with New Hampshire. Stony Brook overcame a sluggish start and used six goals from Courtney Murphy to beat the Wildcats, 13-5, and advance to a third consecutive America East title game.
For the third straight year, archrivals Stony Brook and Albany battled it out for America East supremacy. SBU fell behind 1-0 early after Sarah Martin scored on a free position shot less than 10 minutes in--the only time Albany could get anything past one of the best defenses and goalies in the country. Dorrien Van Dyke tied things up midway through the first half, and Stony Brook took a 2-1 advantage 44 seconds into the second stanza when Alyssa Cardillo found Amber Kupres on the doorstep. The two sides deliberately slowed the pace for nearly 20 minutes, but Rubino broke through when she dodged through traffic and ripped a shot past goalie Anna Berman to spark a flurry of five goals over a span of 7:19. Murphy, Emily Mercier, Van Dyke and Murphy again scored during the spurt that secured the program's second conference title and NCAA Tournament berth.
The Big Dance
For the second straight season, Stony Brook drew Towson in the NCAA Tournament and once again, the Seawolves survived and advanced. SBU stormed out to a 9-0 lead in the first half, becoming the 16th team in NCAA Tournament history to shutout an opponent in a half and first since Florida in 2012 (vs. Penn State, NCAA Quarterfinals). Towson rallied in the second half, but the Seawolves held on for the 10-8 win. Dorrien Van Dyke and Amber Kupres each netted hat tricks, and Alyssa Cardillo finished with four assists.
Despite a game-high four goals from freshman Courtney Murphy, Stony Brook's fantastic season ended in the second round with a 13-6 loss to eventual national runner-up No. 2/2 Syracuse May 11.
Stony Brook was ranked in at least one major national poll all season and finished at No. 20 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll and No. 18 in the Brine Media Poll. The Seawolves have been nationally ranked in at least one major poll 31 times during Joe Spallina's three-year tenure as head coach and have finished the season ranked in both in back-to-back years.
Senior goalie Frankie Caridi produced one of the finest seasons in Division I history, graduates as the most decorated Stony Brook goalie ever and was tabbed Goalie of the Year by both Lacrosse Magazine and ILWomen.com. The anchor of a gem of a defensive unit, Caridi made a career-high 11 saves at Notre Dame Feb. 22 and at Rutgers March 8. She picked up a conference-record six Defensive Player of the Week nods, was a unanimous first-team all-conference selection and an easy choice for America East Defensive Player of the Year. The only goalie to be named a Tewaaraton semifinalist and an IWLCA All-American; Caridi led the nation in GAA (5.17) and save percentage (.542) for the second consecutive year. Her GAA ranks fifth in NCAA single-season history. Caridi set an America East tournament record for GAA of 3.00 and was dubbed Most Outstanding Player. A first-team All-Region honoree, Caridi leaves Stony Brook as the all-time program leader in wins (41), save percentage (.514) and GAA (5.91).
Stony Brook's defense was one of the best in NCAA history. The unit broke its own Division I record for goals allowed per game set a season ago, yielding only 5.33 in 2014 compared to 5.65 in 2013. SBU was the only program in the country to allow fewer than six goals per game. The Seawolves limited opponents to single-digit goals in 19 of 21 contests, to five goals or fewer 13 times, to three goals or fewer six times and to one goal or fewer four times. They blanked Monmouth, 13-0, for the first shutout in program history Feb. 19. SBU held Jacksonville's then-eighth-ranked scoring offense to two goals April 4 and Albany's then-fourth-ranked scoring offense to one goal in the America East title game May 4. Stony Brook topped its own America East Championship marks for fewest total (6) and single-game (1) goals allowed. Sophomore Alyssa Fleming earned second-team All-Mid-Atlantic honors after tallying 50 ground balls, the third-most in single-season program history. She placed on the all-conference first team, while classmate and fellow-defender Maegan Meritz made the second team.
With much of the goal scoring from 2013 lost to graduation, the Seawolves relied heavily on a quartet of talented freshmen. Dorrien Van Dyke, Courtney Murphy, Kristin Yevoli and Alyssa Guido delivered, accounting for 191 of Stony Brook's 367 points. All four earned America East All-Rookie status, giving SBU the most selections to the squad, while Van Dyke was tabbed Rookie of the Year and was the only freshman on the all-conference first team. Murphy and Yevoli placed on the second team, and Van Dyke and Murphy were named ILWomen.com All-Rookie.
Van Dyke's 68 points not only led the team, they were a school freshman record and the most by any freshman in the country. She struck three times in her NCAA Tournament debut vs. Towson. Murphy led freshmen nationally in goals with 61, also a school freshman record and the third-most in single-season school history. She matched Tewaaraton Finalist Alyssa Murray of Syracuse for the game high in goals with four in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
A team captain, junior Michelle Rubino was a leader on the field and off for the Seawolves in 2014 as her lacrosse skills caught up to her phenomenal athleticism. The two-way player led the team in draw controls (49) and caused turnovers (30), was second in assists (22) and third in goals (37) and points (59). She scored three of her five goals in the second half of a comeback win against Yale and totaled four points and five draw controls in the America East Championship on her way to All-Championship Team honors. Rubino became Stony Brook's all-time leader in draw controls with 200 and was named first-team all-conference, All-Mid-Atlantic and All-ECAC.
A scrappy, multi-dimensional player, junior midfielder Amber Kupres reached the 30-goal plateau for the second straight year with 32 strikes in 2014. She finished with 34 points, 29 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers and was an America East All-Championship Team pick. A team captain, she tallied three goals against Towson in the NCAA Tournament, tying Dorrien Van Dyke for a game high.
Stony Brook recorded its 100th win in program history with a 16-5 win at Iona March 20. 37 of those wins came with Joe Spallina as head coach.
All He Does Is Win
The engineer of the nation's best turnaround in 2012 and winningest coach in program history after only three seasons, Joe Spallina has the Seawolves competing annually for the America East title while also bursting onto the national women's lacrosse scene. He will return for a fourth season in 2015 with a stellar 48-12 overall mark at Stony Brook, 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.
Stony Brook 2014 Postseason Honors
IWLCA All-American: Frankie Caridi (third team)
IWLCA/deBeer North-South Senior All-Star Game: Jessica Romano
Goalie of the Year: Frankie Caridi
All-ILWomen: Frankie Caridi
Goalie of the Year: Frankie Caridi
All-American: Frankie Caridi
First Team: Frankie Caridi
Second Team: Michelle Rubino
Defensive Player of the Year: Frankie Caridi
Rookie of the Year: Dorrien Van Dyke
2014 Stony Brook Women's Lacrosse National Weekly Honors
WomensLax.com Rookie of the Week.............Courtney Murphy (5/5/14)
2014 Stony Brook Women's Lacrosse Regional Honors
ECAC Defensive Player of the Week.....................Frankie Caridi (5/6/14)
2014 Stony Brook America East Conference Weekly Awards
Rookie of the Week.....................................Dorrien Van Dyke (4/21/14)
There won't be any talk of rebuilding next year as the Seawolves return nine starters, including three of four starting defenders, and 90.8 percent of their goal scoring (227 of 250).
ILWomen.com: Goalkeeper of the Year