Off the back of a great day for senior midfielder Ally Kennedy and a career day for junior attacker Jesse Arline, the No. 6-ranked Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team defeated the No. 11 Princeton Tigers by a final score of 18-12 on Sunday, March 8 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The game marks the Seawolves’ second win over a ranked opponent, third win at home and fourth win of the season.
“I’m happy for our team,” head coach Joe Spallina said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Our team deserved this. This is a game that we won today, but we started winning throughout the week with preparation. Our kids stepped up. I thought we had good diversity in our scoring and our defense and goalie play was off the charts.”
The Seawolves scorched the Tigers early, as freshman attacker Kailyn Hart’s goal 36 seconds into the game helped kick off a 7-goal run for the Seawolves where six different players scored a goal to go up 7-0.
Princeton managed to end the drought over 10 minutes into the game with a 3-goal run of their own. Kennedy already had a hat trick 20 minutes into the game, scoring two goals in a row to extend the lead back to 9-3. From there, the Tigers and Seawolves would trade 3-goal runs until Hart’s second goal ended the half with a score of 13-7.
Kennedy’s fifth goal of the game came 57 seconds into the second half, followed by two goals from Princeton. After sophomore midfielder Mikayla Dwyer scored her second goal of the season, another two goals from Princeton ensued. Shortly after, Arline recorded her hat trick followed by her career-best fourth goal of the day. By the time junior midfielder Rayna Sabella got her second goal, the game was all but finished.
“I’m super proud of the team,” Kennedy said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “It’s hard to play two games in one week. We turned the page after Thursday and shifted our focus to Princeton and I’m really proud of the younger players for showing their maturity.”
As for what helped the team perform at their peak during the game, Arline was quick to mention the help of scouting.
“I think we did a really good job of preparing and embracing the scout,” Arline said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “We worked really well together. Everyone played their best game today.”
Having successfully defended Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium against Towson and Princeton, the Seawolves will now travel to Los Angeles, California to face the No. 8-ranked University of Southern California (USC) Trojans.
“They’re a bear, they’re undefeated,” Spallina said about USC. “They’ll be Top 10 this week, so that’ll be another Top 10 matchup. But it comes down to us doing a lot of the same things that we did today: handling pressure.”
The Seawolves defeated the Trojans last year at home, 12-10, with USC ranked No. 14. The series will now turn to the West Coast, presenting a challenge for a 4-1 Stony Brook team.
“Now we shift our focus to USC,” Kennedy said. “They play more of a zone defense, so we’ve got to work on our offense. Both Princeton and Towson played man, so now we shift our focus to zone offense and we keep our defense that’s been the staple of our team so far.”
For Arline, who had a career afternoon, the junior emphasized the importance of teamwork as the team travels to California.
“We’ve got to keep working for each other,” Arline concluded. “If we play for each other, we will be fine.”