The No. 5 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team is amid an eight-game winning streak after demolishing UMass Lowell on Saturday. Despite the America East ban, the Seawolves appear to be on track for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Stony Brook (10-2, 3-0 AE) isn’t just winning — the Seawolves are completely dominating. They just trounced UMass Lowell 16-1, becoming the third team this season to limit their opponent to a single goal. Against New Hampshire, Stony Brook reached the 20-goal mark for the second time this season, limiting UNH to six points over 12 shots on goal. During its eight-game win streak, Stony Brook has at least doubled up its opponent in each game.
In its current state, the Seawolves do not seem to have many question marks on the field. Midfielder Ellie Masera has provided stability in nearly all facets of the game; she leads the team in goals (44), points (55) and draw controls (72). On the defensive end, defender Haley Dillon has caused the second-most turnovers across the America East (29 total, 2.42 per game). As a team, the Seawolves lead the conference in goals, assists and points per game.
It is hard to picture any inconsistencies arising for a team that has found so much success in 2022. Yet the goalkeeping position has been one spot that head coach Joe Spallina has experimented with throughout the team’s dominant run.
Spallina has two options with goalkeepers — Charlie Campbell and Kameron Halsall. Both goalies are former transfer students, and both are more than qualified to hold down the fort in the cage.
Halsall, a redshirt senior, is just two weeks away from reaching the end of her third season as a Seawolf. Since transferring from Rutgers, where she recorded 117 saves and a .418 save percentage as a freshman in 2019, Halsall has been a pillar for Stony Brook. During her pandemic-shortened sophomore season, she started all five games for the Seawolves and racked up 290 minutes. She finished with a 4-1 record and a .436 save percentage.
2021 was a year to remember for Halsall. During her junior year, she started 17 games and increased her save percentage to .444 across 840 minutes of play. She was also an All-American who put on a show in the NCAA Tournament when she recorded seven saves against her former Rutgers teammates during the second round.
Flash forward to 2022, and Halsall has only played 321 minutes in eight of 12 regular season games. She and Campbell have split the goalkeeping duties so far, and according to Spallina, the decision to platoon both players has been a challenging one.
“If you know anything about me and our program, you know that practice is really important,” Spallina said in an interview with The Statesman. “Kam has been really good during practice lately, but so has Charlie. At the end of the day, as the head coach who is in charge of making big decisions, it is not easy.”
Campbell was Spallina’s go-to goalkeeper early in the season. The newly gained graduate transfer from the University of Virginia started the first six games of the season and played the entire game in three of the first five, recording 32 saves during that span. In her first two complete games, she recorded 20 saves and a .500 save percentage.
After Campbell gave up four goals against one save in the first half versus Hofstra, Halsall was substituted in for the rest of the win and started the subsequent game against Brown, where she put up a .714 save percentage in the 12-goal win. Campbell played in the final 8:48 of that rout.
In another twist, Campbell then started the following contest against Vermont and stayed in the cage for the entire game. The story did not end there, though, as the starter duties rotated once again with Halsall earning the spot in the four games since. She stayed in the entire time while facing No. 11 Princeton and Arizona State, saving more shots than goals allowed in both occasions.
Halsall was taken out after halftime in the New Hampshire bout, with three saves against two goals on her line, but by that point, the game was already non-competitive as Stony Brook led 13-2. The same occurred against UMass Lowell, when Stony Brook was up 11-0 at halftime before switching to Campbell.
While both goalies have seen significant playing time this season, Spallina has been switching out the two lately based on practice performance and gut instinct.
Frankly, who could blame him?
Campbell and Halsall have both displayed impressive numbers in 2022. While Halsall currently harbors a higher save percentage (.597), Campbell sits at .472 and has played almost 80 minutes more than her counterpart.
“It’s an embarrassment of riches at that position, but I trust both of them,” Spallina continued.
In games where Campbell plays a full hour, Stony Brook is 3-1. When Halsall gets the cage to herself, the Seawolves are 2-0. Some games have seen goalie switches because of their blowout nature or for tactical reasons. During this current eight-game stretch, Halsall has won all five of her starts in blowout fashion, while Campbell won comfortably in two of her starts and needed to be substituted out in her third, a game which was a close 6-4 at halftime.
While Stony Brook’s goalkeeping situation may seem inconsistent, it has proven to be effective. With two conference games left and a winning streak in progress, the Seawolves continue to dominate the field, hoping to bypass their playoff ban and earn a seed in the NCAA Tournament.