(MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN)
The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team is unanimously favored to win the America East Conference title for the third year in a row. (MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN)

When women’s lacrosse Head Coach Joe Spallina left his share of Division II National Championships at Adelphi to join the Stony Brook Seawolves, he set lofty goals. Two America East Conference titles and two second round NCAA appearances later, and the team is well on its way.

For one thing, the Seawolves are unanimously favored to win the America East Conference title for the third year in a row. The preseason poll is voted on by all of the head coaches in the conference, and the six other polls ranked Stony Brook at the top.

It is not the first time that the team has shared the honor, however, as they owned the top spot in the preseason poll before the last two seasons as well.

Last season in America East play, the Seawolves only lost one game–their last, against Vermont, 8-7 in overtime. It did not cost Stony Brook in the seeding department, however, as the Seawolves maintained their spot at No. 1 for the conference tournament. They proved that it was rightfully theirs, eventually beating Albany 7-1 to earn their NCAA Tournament bid.

This season, the team maintains its preseason spot atop the rankings despite losing Tewaraaton Award Nominee Frankie Caridi, who led the NCAA in both save percentage and goals against average in 2013 and 2014. She was also honored as a third-team All American last season.

On the offensive side, Spallina brings back a large majority of his scoring, as much of the Seawolves’ offense came from freshmen last season. But, it will be supplemented by a strong recruiting class led by an offensive juggernaut in freshman Kylie Ohlmiller.

The season begins on Feb. 20 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium against USC. The matchup starts at 6 p.m..

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