The Stony Brook’s women’s lacrosse team prepping for the game against USC on Feb. 21, 2021. The Seawolves lost to No. 3 Syracuse on Feb. 20, 2022. SARA RUBERG/THE STATESMAN

In a battle of two top-five ranked teams in the country, everything came down to the end as expected.

Disappointingly, the No. 4 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team couldn’t pull off a win in its season opener against the No. 3 Syracuse Orange, falling just shy of the victory by losing 12-11 at the Carrier Dome in a nail-biter on Sunday, Feb. 20. 

The Seawolves had a chance to tie the contest late, but attacker Erin MacQuarrie was forced into a turnover near the net, caused by Syracuse midfielder Natalie Smith, with a minute remaining.

“This was a heartbreaker,” head coach Joe Spallina said in a press release. “The game lived up to its billing, with two heavyweights going toe-to-toe. Our kids played their hearts out and I am proud of them.”

Advertisement

Usually, the first game of any sports season is a time to make mistakes and find out ways to fix them; Stony Brook was not afforded that opportunity. The Seawolves were forced to dive headfirst into a matchup against the No. 3-ranked Orange, so the margin for error was miniscule. 

“We did some first-game things but for the most part, rose to the occasion,” Spallina said. “We took too many cards and need to be more disciplined and better in that area. That’s on me because you can’t beat a great team playing down a man for 12 minutes, almost one full quarter.”

Syracuse had a bit of a head start before the game even began, being that this was its third game of the season, but no one could tell by the first quarter. Stony Brook came out guns blazing, scoring on its first possession of the season when midfielder Ellie Masera put one into the net in just the first minute of the game off of an assist by attacker Kailyn Hart, one of her three assists in the contest.  

Syracuse quickly struck back as attacker Emily Hawryschuk scored just three minutes later off of a free position shot to tie the game, but most of the quarter proved to be a defensive chess match. 

Advertisement

Masera scored again off of a pass by MacQuarrie, but Syracuse would end the first on top when midfielder Emma Tyrrell would dish out a pass for her sister, attacker Meaghan Tyrrell, to put one past goalkeeper Charlie Campbell in the last minute of the quarter. The chemistry between the Tyrrell sisters showed once more in the first when Meaghan Tyrrell assisted on Emma Tyrrell’s goal right before the end of the period to put the Orange up 3-2. 

Syracuse continued its hot streak in the second quarter with a pair of goals by Hawryschuk and Meaghan Tyrrell. Stony Brook kept it close with goals by midfielders Rayna Sabella and Jaden Hampel, as well as with Masera’s third goal of the night, but Syracuse held the lead going into the break. 

In a matchup between two of the top five teams in the country, the score was a defense-oriented 6-5 at halftime.

Syracuse goalkeeper Delaney Sweitzer had a solid first half with four saves, but was subbed out going into the second half for goalkeeper Kimber Hower. This decision came back to haunt them, as Stony Brook took the lead in the third quarter following goals from midfielders Kyla Zapolski and Charlotte Verhulst as well as Masera and Sabella. Hower only recorded one save in the second half, but she was relieved by a Syracuse scoring frenzy at the end of the third quarter. 

Despite not scoring a single goal in the fourth quarter, Syracuse came out on top thanks to its lockdown defense. The Seawolves only scored twice in the final period, and their fatigue started to show as they were unable to break down the Orange’s zone. 

Advertisement

There were some familiar faces on the Syracuse sidelines: former Stony Brook assistant coaches Sydney Pirreca and Caitlin Defliese. 

“The biggest shocker to me was looking at the stats postgame and seeing we weren’t awarded a single free-position shot the entire game, a very interesting stat,” Spallina said.

Despite the loss, Stony Brook showed that fans have a lot to be excited about this season. Campbell, a graduate transfer from the University of Virginia, ended the game with 12 saves in her Seawolves debut. Masera and MacQuarrie led the Seawolves in points, with all of Masera’s coming from goals and all of MacQuarrie’s coming from assists. 

“Our goalie and defense were outstanding against the nation’s top offense,” Spallina said. “Offensively, we did some great things, with nine of our 11 goals assisted, and some uncharacteristic things we will clean up.”

There are a lot of positives to pull from the loss, and Stony Brook will seek to correct its mistakes against the Dartmouth Big Green on Sunday, Feb. 27 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Tagged:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.