The women's lacrosse team at Stony Brook University has won 13 games, but the biggest impact was felt two weeks ago in a loss to Boston University. That made BU the host and top seed in the America East Tournament. One game stands in the way of a potential rematch, with the winner securing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Stony Brook ended the regular season with a 12-10 victory over visiting New Hampshire Saturday. Now it is on to the conference tournament, with Stony Brook (13-4, 4-1) meeting third-seeded Maryland-Baltimore County (8-8, 3-3) on Thursday afternoon. BU plays fourth-seeded Albany in the other semifinal.
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The loss to BU, which came after Stony Brook built a 4-0 lead, still stings. "We bring that with us everywhere we go," said Demmianne Cook, who scored three goals against New Hampshire. She leads Division I with 66 goals. "From practice to team bonding, we know what we did and how we can beat them . . . We have that in the back of our heads."
Coach Joe Spallina has made sure of that. "After that loss, we kept them out there a little bit longer," he said. "We let them watch BU celebrate. BU clinched the first seed in front of our kids. When you are not used to losing, you have to take something home with you. We didn't play one of our best games. I remind them of it a lot. It's important for them to know and remember. This way they don't get complacent. They need to know if they don't show up, they lose."
Spallina said he offered "a little intervention" at the break. "We spoke about the importance of being able to adjust and rebound," he said. "I think they were expecting me to go in there and start firing water buckets around. We just spoke about poise and growing up as a group."
Stony Brook outscored New Hampshire 7-1 in the second half. Claire Petersen scored three straight goals in a little more than seven minutes, the third giving the Seawolves an 11-10 lead with 10:06 left. Petersen also had four assists. She leads the division in scoring with 93 points.
Stony Brook tied the 2007 team for most wins, but the most significant achievement is two victories away. "Our goal is still to get to the NCAAs," Petersen said. "We're going to get after it this week in practice and make sure we are 100-percent focused on every little detail, because every detail matters."