The pass came from Claire Petersen and Demmianne Cook drilled it into the net. The scenario had occurred countless times before, but this moment was special in several ways as the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team beat Vermont, 18-4, Friday in the semifinal round of the America East Tournament at LaValle Stadium.
Host Stony Brook (15-2) will play the Albany-New Hampshire winner at noon Sunday for the conference title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
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Cook's goal was her tournament-record seventh of the game and the school-record 151st the Adelphi transfer has scored for the Seawolves despite playing only two years at Stony Brook. It broke a tie with Kaitlin Leggio, who scored 150 from 2006-09. It was fitting that it came on a pass from Petersen, Cook's friend and teammate since the pair began their careers at Adelphi.
Petersen had missed the previous three games with what coach Joe Spallina termed a lower-body injury. She wore a brace on her left knee. Having Petersen available for however many minutes she can play means Stony Brook can hope to make a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament -- if it qualifies.
Petersen, who played about 10 minutes in the second half, had a goal and three assists. "I wanted to dip Claire's feet in a tad,'' Spallina said. "Even with us up at the half [12-2], it was important for us to get her involved a little bit. The kid's phenomenal. She's in there for what, 10 minutes, and she had four points. The kid's special. By putting her on the field, we get better.''
Petersen, who has 26 goals and 41 assists in 13 games, said, "I'm so happy to be back. It's an unbelievable feeling to get back on the field again, especially at this time of the year. I knew it would be a few weeks, so we've just been rehabbing and working real hard to build up strength and stay in really good shape to get back on the field. We love the pressure and I'm a senior now. Now I just know what I have to do to do my job and help us win.''
Petersen said she suffered the injury April 6 about seven minutes into the Seawolves' game at UMBC. "I've been practicing this week. I think I've done more in practice than I did in this game,'' she said. "Since we were up by a lot, I was just getting a few minutes in. It's feeling pretty good, so we're confident that I'll be able to keep going.''
Petersen was thrilled to assist on the goal by Cook that set the school record, saying, "She's an amazing athlete and has grown into an amazing lacrosse player. I'm so happy and proud of her. I wouldn't want anyone else to be my friend and teammate.''
Cook, who leads Division I with 83 goals, was not aware that the record-setting goal came on the sequence in which Petersen passed to her in front, but she's happy Petersen has returned. "It's definitely great,'' she said. "I've been playing with her for four years, so having her back on the field is just a privilege . . . It couldn't have been a better pass.''
Notes & quotes: Cook scored six of her goals in the first half. Janine Hillier had four goals and Michelle Rubino and Amber Kuperes scored two each. Alyssa Cardillo had three assists. Stony Brook outshot Vermont 36-17.
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