When defender Clare Levy takes the field at Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium and sees her family in the crowd, the game takes on a whole new meaning. She is then reminded that she not only represents Stony Brook, but her fellow Long Islanders as well.
“Being at Stony Brook, you know you’re Long Island’s team with Long Island players,” Levy said in an interview with The Statesman. “Here especially, we always have something to prove and that gives us an underdog’s concept.”
The local girl from Rocky Point, N.Y. has blossomed into one of the nation’s most feared defenders after being named to the Preseason All-American Second Team. Levy’s tenacious playstyle and persistent work ethic have made her a force to be reckoned with.
A staple of the potent Seawolf defense, Levy is looking to steer the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team to its first-ever national championship this season.
“We’re sick and tired of not getting past the quarterfinals,” Levy said. “We know this year, our energy and our expectations are much higher than ever.”
Levy’s dominant trajectory started early in her Stony Brook career. She was immediately thrown into the fire as a freshman after an injury to defender Deanna Weisenburger. In the 2021 season opener, Levy was thrusted into the starting lineup against No. 1 North Carolina.
Levy hit the ground running as a freshman, becoming an integral member of the defense. She started all 19 games and tallied 24 ground balls, 25 caused turnovers and 29 draw controls. Her efforts helped Stony Brook reach the NCAA quarterfinal. That year, she was named to the All-America East Second Team and to the America East All-Rookie team.
The fast start aided Levy’s development.
“Being thrown in there was the best thing that could happen,” Levy said. “You don’t have a lot of time to think or to stress yourself out.”
That same year, Levy formed a bond with All-American teammate Ally Kennedy. The two were continually matched up against each other at practice, something Levy looks back on with fondness.
“Me and her were always going one-on-one against each other and helping me get better,” Levy said.
Levy’s hard work and dedication were noticed by the team, who named her a captain heading into her sophomore season. With Stony Brook’s offense losing its two leading scorers in Taryn Ohlmiller and Kennedy, Levy knew that the unit was going to have to get stronger after losing that offensive production. She took it upon herself to become the leader of the defense.
Following Levy’s lead, Stony Brook’s defense became the best in the nation, allowing only 6.63 goals per game. Levy once again started all 19 games for the Seawolves, improving upon almost every major statistic in her sophomore season.
She scooped up 31 ground balls, forced 18 turnovers and gained 39 draw controls. On offense, she scored her first career goal against Northwestern. She finished the 2022 season with seven points, racking up six assists along with that goal.
Levy continued to rack up accolades during her sophomore season, being named to the All-America East First Team. That has not changed heading into her junior season, either. Levy was named to the Preseason All-CAA team as Stony Brook heads into its inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
Looking back on her career before college, it may come as a surprise that Levy has earned so many honors considering that she barely received any Division I offers coming out of high school.
She had an illustrious athletic career at Rocky Point High School, lettering in lacrosse for all four years while winning the Suffolk County Unsung Hero award as a freshman. Despite her success in high school, Levy got lost in the mix of Long Island’s lacrosse-talent hotbed. She did not play for a travel lacrosse team, therefore hurting her recognition amongst college scouts.
However, Levy had been playing lacrosse since she was in second grade. She was not going to give up on playing at a higher level just because of under-recruitment.
“I knew I needed to play a sport in college,” Levy said. “I needed to have a stick in my hand, a basketball or soccer ball in my hand. But I knew that lacrosse especially was something that I wanted to pursue.”
During her recruiting process, Stony Brook remained the one constant. When Levy was a freshman in high school, her lacrosse coach was Dan Spallina, the brother of current Stony Brook women’s lacrosse coach Joe Spallina. Dan encouraged her to attend Stony Brook’s summer camps and winter leagues.
From there, Levy formed a bond with the program and the people in it. According to Levy, people told her that she fit the mold of being a Stony Brook Seawolf.
“I always realized it,” Levy said. “A lot of people always told me I was a Stony Brook kid: blue collar and all that.”
According to Levy, she committed to Stony Brook due to the program’s willingness to continually get better.
Off the field, Levy is a history major. Looking further down the road, Levy hopes to become a history teacher after she graduates. However, she wants to stay involved with sports and become a coach on the side. Levy has not ruled out pursuing a professional lacrosse career if the opportunity presents itself.
Once a recruit lost within the cream of the crop, Levy has shed her underdog status, cementing herself as one of the best players in all of college lacrosse. As her junior season gets ready to kick off, Levy is more than up to the challenge of bringing home a national championship home to Long Island.
“I like a good challenge,” Levy said. “I think the pressure is good. If you don’t have pressure then what’s the point?”