Charlie Campbell transferred to Stony Brook precisely for moments like these.
Campbell, a graduate student, was at her best when Stony Brook's women's lacrosse team needed her the most. The goalkeeper had 12 saves as the Seawolves defeated Rutgers, 11-7, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at LaValle Stadium Sunday afternoon.
“I wanted to get back to my roots and play Long Island lacrosse, which is, ‘I don’t care if I have to go through you, but I’m getting to that ball,” said Campbell, a Syosset native and St. Anthony’s graduate. “I wanted that and I knew this team would push me until I came apart to be the best I could be.”
But Campbell, who transferred from Virginia this year, pushed her team as much as they pushed her Sunday.
“I couldn’t be happier for her because she was the one saving our butts at the end of the day,” defender Haley Dillon said. “In the beginning, we struggled a little bit and she was the one to keep us in tune and keep us motivated to keep working.”
Stony Brook (16-2) advances to play at top-seeded North Carolina in the quarterfinals Thursday.
The Seawolves scored three goals in the opening 3:08 before Rutgers went on a 4-0 scoring run to take a 4-3 lead with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter. Kailyn Hart scored with 11:17 remaining in the second quarter and Stony Brook finished the first half on a 4-1 scoring run to take a 7-5 advantage at halftime.
“In big games, there’s going to be runs,” coach Joe Spallina said. “Teams are going to make plays and you have to answer those plays and at the end of the day, you expect that in an NCAA Tournament playoff game.”
Rutgers (16-5) scored the first two goals of the second half to tie the score at 7 three minutes into the period. But Stony Brook kept Rutgers off the scoreboard the remainder of the contest.
Jesse Arline scored with 10:09 remaining in the third quarter to give Stony Brook an 8-7 lead and Siobhan Rafferty, Ellie Masera and Hart scored in the fourth quarter.
“When it came down to the fourth quarter, we came out in the second half and knew what we needed to do,” said Hart, who scored three goals. “And we got it done.”
The Seawolves also know they have a daunting task awaiting them with North Carolina, which defeated Virginia, 24-2, in the second round Sunday. North Carolina ended Stony Brook’s season in a 14-11 contest in last season’s quarterfinals.
Stony Brook plays in its fourth national quarterfinals in the last five years but has never advanced to the semifinals.
Spallina said they have “immense” respect for North Carolina, but enter the game with confidence. North Carolina is 19-0.
“They are awesome … but for 60 minutes we are going to try to beat their (butt) and there’s no fear,” Spallina said. “Stony Brook will not touch foot on North Carolina campus with an ounce of fear. We’re going there to win a lacrosse game. We’re not going there to bend a knee, we’re not going there to kiss their rings, we’re going there to win a lacrosse game.”
The Seawolves’ players have echoed their coach’s confidence.
“We’re ready for them,” Hart said. “They are a great team, they’ve been undefeated so they're due for a loss and I think that will be us. We’re coming for them.”