Freshmen-heavy Stony Brook team turns the page to Rutgers on Saturday
Freshman Courtney Murphy burst upon the scene in a big way in her opening bid against Bucknell University in February, making history by scoring seven goals, the most ever for a Stony Brook freshman debut.
The Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse team is off to a respectable start with a 3-2 overall record and a current ranking of No. 18 in both the Brine Media and IWLCA polls, considered the major national polls.
Coach Joe Spallina said his young offense will only get better with experience. “We’ll be looking for consistency and improvement on draw controls (the lacrosse equivalent of face-offs),” he added. “With a young group it’s important to make sure we’re taking it one game at a time.”
Murphy is well-coached in that approach. “Of course you’re not going to be able to put on a record-setting performance in every game but as long as I know I contributed positively, I can let the chips fall into place,” said the Shirley, New York, native. “It also took away some of my nerves knowing that I can compete with anyone,” she said. Her performance earned her WomensLAX.com “Rookie of the Week” honors in the America East.
Freshman Dorrien Van Dyke of Northport, New York, also had an exciting start to her career against Bucknell by chipping in five goals, as the Seawolves racked up their second-highest single-game scoring tally ever.
“[The win] made me confident that I can perform at the Division I level,” said Van Dyke.
Likewise, Massapequa, New York’s Kristin Yevoli distinguished herself in her first game with a goal, two assists and a game-high six draw controls. “It’s something I always dreamed of doing,” she said, “having grown up watching my brother play Division I lacrosse.”
There is also the potential for junior midfielder Michelle Rubino to become an even bigger star with former Seawolf All-America selectee Demmianne Cook — who led the nation with 90 goals last season — back as a volunteer coaching assistant.
“Coach Spallina recruited Michelle,” said Cook, “and she moves unlike any female athlete I have ever seen. And she is still raising her game. I cannot wait to see the things she does.”
As promising as the young offense is, Spallina insisted that the backbone of this team is its defense, led by goalie Frankie Caridi. “The key to a great defense is a great goalie, and we have that in Frankie,” said Spallina. We also have a well-rounded group of defenders in front of her.”
The biggest x-factor for the team remains the performance of the freshman class. “The quicker they mature, the better we will be,” said Spallina.
And the team’s mission remains the same. “We’re gearing up for our (America East) conference schedule. We want to have the best RPI (Ratings Performance Index) possible so we can get a strong seed in the NCAA Tournament,” he said.
The next test will be against Rutgers University on Saturday, March 8. Stony Brook opens its conference schedule against UMBC on March 29, followed by four critical conference battles in April.
And if 2012–2013 is proof (first conference title ever and 6-0 in America East play), once Stony Brook makes it into the playoffs, anything can happen.
— Glenn Jochum