Albany was on the list of must-win games for the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team. The Great Danes spoiled the end of last season by defeating the Seawolves in the America East Tournament championship game and denying the program an NCAA bid.
"We didn't have many losses. One of them was to Albany," Claire Petersen said after contributing two goals and three assists in Stony Brook's 9-2 victory Saturday at LaValle Stadium, "so we wanted to make sure that we put a number on them."
Latest college sports stories
Demmianne Cook, who had three goals and two assists, said: "Our goal last year was to win the America East. Obviously, we came short of that. This game was really important to us because we want to host the tournament this year and get in the NCAAs."
The team with the best record during the regular season hosts in May. Stony Brook (10-2, 2-0) has the early conference lead.
Albany (6-4, 1-1) tried to play a deliberate offense and trailed 3-2 at halftime. "We definitely had that in our back pockets that they were going to stall," Cook said. "Our goal is to always push transition, we like to run and gun, so we try and keep that in every game. But if we're going to play an opponent that's going to slow the game down, we're just going to make our defense step up."
Stony Brook broke open the game in the second half, with Cook and Amber Kupres scoring within the first eight minutes and Michelle Rubino tallying to make it 7-2 with 14:04 left. Cook assisted on both of Petersen's goals later in the second half. It usually is the other way around, with Petersen feeding Cook.
"It's definitely good to be able to do both roles," Cook said. "We're just a good team together, so whoever is getting the goal or assist, we're happy as long as we're getting one up on the board for Stony Brook."
Cook has 56 goals. Petersen has 24 goals and 27 assists.
Cook and Petersen helped make it a happy 40th birthday for Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina, who also coached them at Adelphi.
"I guess it's kind of old," Petersen said of Spallina's age. "We were at Adelphi when he was 36. That seems so long ago."
Spallina joked: "She's been with me so long, she probably remembers when I was 30."
If there was a surprise party in store for Spallina, he obviously was not aware of it.
"My wife said, 'What do you want to do?' '' Spallina said.
"I said, 'I just want to win.' ''