Time and time again during the first round of the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championships, Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina implored his team to use “patience and poise.” Like a game of chess, they moved exactly how he commanded on the way to a scary 10-8 win over Towson, advancing to a blockbuster game against the second-seeded Syracuse Orange.
After becoming only the 16th team in NCAA Tournament history to hold an opposing team scoreless in a half of lacrosse, the Seawolves looked to stay dominant against the Tigers. Stony Brook used a lopsided time of possession, taking their time once they had the ball to convert on the small openings they got, giving them a 9-0 lead at the half.
Whenever a team gets up big in any game in any sport, the pressure falls right off of their opponent’s shoulders. That was the case for Towson against the Seawolves, as a team that was laying off and not necessarily pushing to want the ball in the first half came out firing in the second half.
The Tigers played very much like Spallina’s team did in the first half, aggressively closing on attackers, giving Stony Brook no room to breathe in the offensive third. This caused quite a few turnovers, allowing Towson to mirror the patience and opportunistic tendencies that the Seawolves attack showed in the first half.
At the end of a game of two completely opposite halves, Tewaaraton Award nominee Frankie Caridi, Stony Brook’s goalkeeper, stared down a Towson chance at bringing the Tigers within one. After a tough day, Caridi showed why she has been touted as the best goalie in the country, making a point-blank save, allowing Stony Brook to hold on for the win. The senior totaled seven huge saves in the game.
Much like she did in the America East Championship game, junior captain Amber Kupres led the way, scoring three goals in the win, including what would end up being the decisive ninth goal at the end of the first half.
Freshman Dorrien Van Dyke, who eventually was disqualified from the game for two yellow cards, had a strong game as well, adding three goals of her own, including a momentum-killer in the second half that helped stave off Towson’s comeback bid. Her performance at the faceoff “x,” along with junior Michelle Rubino’s early draw controls, was instrumental in Stony Brook’s first half onslaught.
Rubino added two goals of her own, while freshmen goal scorers Courtney Murphy and Kristin Yevoli each put one in the back of the net.
Not to be ignored was the contribution of senior Alyssa Cardillo, who dished off four assists in the overall team victory.
With the win, Spallina and company remain undefeated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after beating Towson last year as well, 8-6.
Stony Brook now plays powerhouse Syracuse on Sunday for a chance to advance further than they ever have in the NCAA Tournament in their chase for a national championship.