Sophomore Kaitlyn Hart in a game against USC on Feb. 23. She had two goals and a hat trick in a game against Hofstra on March 25. SARA RUBERG/THE STATESMAN

The “Battle of Long Island” was a battle of survival, as the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team defeated the Hofstra Pride by a final score of 12-8 on Thursday, March 25 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. A nail-biting punch-fest, the sixth-ranked Seawolves outlasted the Pride’s ferocious second half comeback attempt to complete their three-game home defense and escape with the win.

“It’s a rivalry game,” head coach Joe Spallina said in a postgame press conference with The Statesman. “I have said all along that this was a talented group that maybe just hadn’t found their way yet. And my fear was exactly what happened. I thought we’d get the best out of them and I thought they played very well.”

Despite the final score, the Seawolves were up big early on. Senior attacker Bridget Considine put in the first two goals of the game, which sophomore attacker Kailyn Hart followed up with two goals of her own to take an early 4-1 lead. By the time Hart had a hat trick, the Seawolves were commanding a comfortable 7-1 lead towards the end of the first half. 

But with 7:19 remaining in the first half, Hofstra scored three unanswered goals before starting the second half with another goal to bring the score to 7-5. For the rest of the game, the Seawolves and Pride went goal-for-goal before Hart’s fourth goal of the day with 7:44 remaining in the game pushed the Seawolves ahead 11-7 to secure the lead. 

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Hart tied her single game career high with four goals, while Considine set her career high with three. Graduate midfielder Ally Kennedy notched two goals, senior midfielder Siobahn Rafferty got one and the cousin duo of graduate and freshman midfielders Kaeli Huff and Ellie Masera also added a goal apiece. 

Graduate attacker Taryn Ohmiller, whose 25 assists on the season rank third in the nation, added on another three assists.

“It felt good,” Considine said of her career high goals and the offense. “In practice all week, we had an idea that they would be sliding early to Taryn and Ally, so we planned around that.”

Meanwhile, the defensive effort was a bend-don’t-break ordeal as the team held on to keep the win secured. Senior defender Julia Markey led the effort with three caused turnovers and two ground balls, while redshirt-junior goalie Kameron Halsall saved 12 shots on the way to a 60% save percentage.

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“Throughout the game we gained a lot of momentum,” Hallsall said of the defensive performance. “There were times when they had a run, but we responded really well. And I think that our chemistry on defense and our communication was on point and we were all moving together. After a goal we would figure out what went wrong and it wouldn’t happen again. So we really built off each other.”

Late in the game, the Seawolves found themselves on the wrong side of a comeback attempt due to foul troubles and an inability to take over the draw control. Giving up possession and subsequent scoring opportunities on free positions allowed the Pride to get back into the game, and the Seawolves will need to clean those errors up going forward. 

Despite those issues, Spallina was happy with the way the team performed.

“It was a gutty performance by us,” Spallina said. “It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, sometimes you gotta gut out some blue collar wins and I thought that this was one of those games. This is one of those games that will get us ready for the postseason.” 

After the trio of wins at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves will take to the road for their next three games, with the first coming on Sunday against the Hartford Hawks. The rest of their schedule is conference play, as the road to the America East tournament ramps up for the favorites to represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament come May. With that in mind, a three-game win streak likely could not have come at a better time.

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“We’re starting to string together some wins and figure out our identity,” Spallina said. “It’s certainly not a finished product by no means, but we’re stacking Ws and right now that’s what the good and great teams do. We just keep winning.”

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