Attacker Morgan Mitchell carries the ball into Hofstra’s zone on Friday, April 28 while defender Ella Whitehouse looks on. Mitchell scored five points and Whitehouse caused three turnovers in the CAA semifinals against Delaware. VIKRAM SETHI/THE STATESMAN

After an early scare, the No. 11 Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team settled down to book its spot in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship game.

To kick off the 2023 CAA women’s lacrosse tournament, the Seawolves (13-3, 7-0 CAA) matched up with the fourth-seeded Delaware Blue Hens in the semifinals on Thursday. After trailing at the end of the first quarter, 14 goals over the next two frames propelled them to a dominant 18-6 win.

Stony Brook was undisciplined to begin the game, as it committed four turnovers and six fouls through the first 10 minutes. The Seawolves received three cards during that stretch, giving the Blue Hens multiple woman-up attacking sets. Delaware attacker Lizzie Hsu took full advantage of this sluggish start and scored two goals to give her team a 3-1 lead.

Stony Brook ended the first quarter on a high note when defender Clare Levy cut through the middle of Delaware’s defense and scored her first goal of the season. However, Tsu completed a hat trick just two and a half minutes into the second quarter to undo Levy’s efforts. Attacker Kailyn Hart took the game into her own hands and became Stony Brook’s catalyst on the offensive end.

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Hart scored twice within a minute to tie the game at four apiece with 9:07 left in the quarter. Delaware did not collapse though, as attacker Laurel McHale gave it the lead once again. That goal was the Blue Hens’ last for a while, as the Seawolves scored six unanswered goals between the end of the second quarter and the start of the third.

With 6:33 remaining in the half, midfielder Erin MacQuarrie tied the game with a free-position goal. Three minutes later, Hart rolled around the 12-meter fan before finding midfielder Ellie Masera, who rifled one across her body as she was shoved to the ground. Masera’s low shot whizzed past Delaware goalkeeper Mercy McCarthy and into the net to give Stony Brook its first lead of the day.

A foul was called due to the shove on Masera, and just 35 seconds later, attacker Morgan Mitchell scored a woman-up goal to give the Seawolves a 7-5 lead going into halftime.

Stony Brook put its foot down in the third quarter. The team scored nine goals on 11 shots in the period. Stony Brook’s scoring came in bunches. Between the 12:53 and 11:16 marks of the frame, attacker Jolie Creo, Masera and midfielder Charlotte Verhulst all scored to give the team a 10-5 lead.

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Delaware midfielder Morgan Gore snapped Stony Brook’s scoring run with a goal at the 10:36 mark, but the Seawolves scored another six unanswered to enter the fourth quarter leading by 10. Verhulst started and completed a hat trick in the third quarter alone, while Hart scored her third and fourth goals of the game to close out the frame.

With a double-digit goal lead and running time in effect, the fourth quarter was less action-packed. Stony Brook scored twice in the frame while goalkeeper Aaliyah Jones — who was substituted in for Hailey Duchnowski in the period — shut out Delaware.

As they have in most of their blowout wins this year, the Seawolves dominated possession. They controlled 16 of the 23 draws, won the battle on the ground 27-15 and committed nine fewer turnovers than Delaware. Stony Brook caused a season-high 16 turnovers, and the 27 ground balls picked up was also its highest total of the season.

The giveaways saw Stony Brook gain a significant advantage in shots, attempting 39 to Delaware’s 12. The Seawolves landed 29 shots on cage while the Blue Hens only generated nine.

Masera and Hart led the team in scoring with four goals apiece. Both also dished out a pair of assists. Masera ran the draw circle for Stony Brook, as she tied a career-high with 12 draw controls. Verhulst’s three goals tied a career-high. Mitchell scored two goals and led the team with three assists. Creo contributed two goals and one assist. Attacker Casey Colbert scored a goal as well. Midfielder Jaden Hampel also contributed an assist.

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Outside of her goal, Levy scooped up three ground balls and caused a pair of turnovers. MacQuarrie also picked up three ground balls to go along with her goal. Defender Haley Dillon finished the game with three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Defender Ella Whitehouse co-led the team alongside Dillon with three caused turnovers. Defender Lindsay Rongo got involved as well and caused another two takeaways.

After failing to stop the first six shots that came her way, Duchnowski made a pair of saves in the third quarter.

Hsu led Delaware with three goals. Delaware midfielder Lizzie Yurchak added a goal and an assist. Delaware defender Madison Hranicka had a good day, scooping up four ground balls and causing four turnovers.

Head coach Joe Spallina did not speak to the media after the game.

Stony Brook has now advanced to the CAA Championship game for the first time in program history. The Seawolves will now face the tournament hosts: the second-seeded Towson Tigers. Opening draw is scheduled for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The Tigers defeated Drexel in the other semifinal matchup 9-6.

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