Despite a seven-goal effort from attacker Morgan Mitchell, the No. 6 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team could not upset the new best team in the nation.
The Seawolves (5-2, 1-0 CAA) entered Wednesday night’s contest 0-7 all-time against teams ranked at the top of the national polls. Unfortunately for them, that did not change when they lost 16-11 at the No. 1 Syracuse Orange. After getting off to a fast start, Stony Brook’s offense could not figure out Syracuse’s tough defense.
Both offenses came out firing, with the game tied at five apiece by the end of the first quarter. In search of an upset, Mitchell took charge early and scored four goals in the opening frame.
Mitchell continued her dominance into the second quarter, reaching a sock trick with just under six minutes remaining in the first half. Her sixth goal of the game gave Stony Brook an 8-7 lead, which was the last lead it held for the rest of the night.
Syracuse won the next four draw controls, turning each into scores. A goal with four seconds left by Syracuse midfielder Maddie Baxter allowed the Orange to take an 11-8 lead into halftime. Stony Brook was dominated in the draw-control department all game, trailing 21-10 in that area. The Orange was able to gain that steep advantage through attacker Olivia Adamson, who handled the majority of draws and controlled 12 of them.
Head coach Joe Spallina took responsibility for Stony Brook losing the possession battle.
“There was a major disparity in possessions and that eventually wore us down,” Spallina said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We have to be better and that starts with me.”
Stony Brook’s offense was stifled in the third quarter. The Seawolves turned the ball over four times and registered just three shots after taking 17 of them in the first half. However, they improved defensively, allowing just a pair of goals while forcing five turnovers to stay within striking distance.
After trailing 13-9 heading to the fourth quarter, Stony Brook let Syracuse run away with the game. Syracuse attacker Megan Carney scored her 40th goal of the season, and midfielder Tessa Queri followed with back-to-back goals to give their team a seven-goal cushion.
Stony Brook did not find the scoreboard until 6:03 left when midfielder Charlotte Verhulst scored her second goal of the night. By that point, it was too little, too late for the Seawolves.
Syracuse’s offense was facilitated by attacker Emma Ward, who dished out several assists from behind the net. Ward finished the night with seven assists and connected with three different goal-scorers overall. She also scored an unassisted goal of her own, finishing the night with eight points off the bench.
The Seawolves’ two top-scorers coming into the game failed to find the back of the net on Wednesday. Midfielder Ellie Masera went scoreless for the first time in 23 games, going 0-for-3 in free-position shots as well. Attacker Kailyn Hart was also blanked, though she led the team with four assists.
Goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski struggled, saving only 36% of the shots she faced. The 16 goals allowed was her worst total of the season.
Verhulst tallied a pair of goals along with an assist. Attacker Jolie Creo scored a goal and assisted on another. Attacker Casey Colbert scored the second goal of her collegiate career towards the end of the fourth quarter.
Midfielder Jaden Hampel recorded two assists. Though Masera did not score, she did find the scoresheet by dishing out an assist on Mitchell’s fifth goal of the game.
Carney haunted Stony Brook with a sock trick of her own, totaling six goals. Syracuse midfielder Emma Tyrrell had four goals and a pair of assists.
Outside of draws, the game was even-keeled. Syracuse registered six more shots and shots on goal than Stony Brook, but the Seawolves were +4 in turnover differential. Stony Brook also owned a slight advantage in clears, going 18-for-19, besting Syracuse’s 16-for-19.
The Seawolves return to conference play on Saturday as they will travel to North Carolina to take on the Elon Phoenix. The game is set to begin at noon. The Phoenix are 4-6 on the season and lost their conference opener to Monmouth 12-11 on Saturday.