#LMRanks: No. 12 Stony Brook Seawolves (WD1)
|Coach Joe Spallina believes Michelle Rubino, who is Stony Brook's returning leader in goals, points and draw controls, will be a POY candidate by year's end. (Greg Shemitz)|
2013 Record: 17-3 (6-0 America East)
Coach: Joe Spallina (3rd year)
Record at Stony Brook: 31-8
Draw Control: 4
M Michelle Rubino (Jr.)
Few can match the raw athleticism of Rubino, who is SBU's leading returner in goals (34), points (46) and draw controls (57). The former high school basketball standout is still improving as a lacrosse player, but is already a matchup nightmare. Rubino ranks fourth on SBU's all-time list with 151 draw controls.
M Jenna Davis (Grad Student)
Back when she was rewriting the record books at Levittown Division (N.Y.) High School, Spallina tried hard to recruit Davis to Adelphi. She opted for Princeton instead. Davis started 16 games for the Tigers last season, and now uses her final year of eligibility to suit up for the Seawolves, as veteran presence off the bench, which should prove invaluable for such a young team.
2009 - Did Not Qualify
2010 - Did Not Qualify
2011 - Did Not Qualify
2012 - Did Not Qualify
2013 - Second Round
Along with 14 freshmen, Spallina adds add two former Division I stars to his sideline. Demmianne Cook, SBU's all-time leading scorer, is back as a volunteer assistant, and Jill Byers, the former Notre Dame Tewaarton finalist and US National team member, will be tasked with molding the young offense.
The total points scored by three departed seniors, Demmianne Cook, Clare Petersen and Janine Hillier, last season. The Seawolves will look to spread the scoring and replace those numbers with a balanced attack.
What Rival Coaches Say
"I think they were overrated last year, but still a good team. They need to get a few more significant wins before they get the credit they deserve. Spallina is a charismatic coach with a plan, but not sure they have the talent to break into the top 10."
"Should be another year of continued growth and improvement under Coach Spallina."
"Last season was a tough act to follow and many were lost to graduation, but they have some great players in skill positions."
"They graduated their big guns. Rubino won't be able to do it alone. With BU gone, the only real competition in the AE is Albany who will be hungry to get back to NCAAs."
"Last year's disappointment will drive this team."
In a Nutshell: 2013 was Stony Brook's most successful season ever. The Seawolves set a program record with 17 wins, cracked the Top 10 of the national rankings and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament, all while setting a Division I record for fewest points per game allowed. SBU's losses all came against Top 5 teams and the Seawolves held Maryland to its two lowest scoring outputs of the season.
High Point: On May 7, Stony Brook won its first ever NCAA tournament game, pulling away from Towson in the second half en route to an 8-6 victory in College Park. The game stood tied 2-2 at halftime and Frankie Caridi (eight saves) and the SBU defense kept it close until the offense got going. Amber Kupres led the way with three goals. Afterward, Spallina joked that he gave his team 10 minutes to enjoy it before they had to prepare for Maryland.
Low Point: Two days later Stony Brook suffered its first ever NCAA tournament loss, failing to Maryland, 11-3. SBU's backer zone kept the Terps off the board for the first 16 minutes, but Maryland pulled away with a 6-0 run that bridged the first and second halves. The real low point might have come a week earlier, when SBU learned it was headed to College Park, despite a resume that could have sent it somewhere more favorable.
Best Case: Rubino becomes a legitimate Tewaarton candidate, several freshmen step up and Caridi repeats her heroics of a year ago. The Seawolves use home field advantage to beat Florida in March and roll unbeaten through the regular season, host an NCAA tournament game, and make a deep playoff run.
Worst Case: The Seawolves can't make up for the graduated offensive firepower and, despite a successful regular season, are stunned in the America East tournament, like in 2012. Without an automatic bid have to sweat out selection Sunday and receive a brutal first round matchup, or worse, miss the NCAAs all together.
Self-Examination— Joe Spallina on...
Frankie Caridi: "I'm a little partial, but there's no other goalie I'd rather have in my cage. The bigger the stage, the bigger she plays. It's not so much stopping the ball, but the outlet passes on her end. All fall we were able to make offense from her defense. To be honest, she should have been an All-American last year."
Michelle Rubino: "I think people are going to be talking about her for player of the year. I've never had a player that moves and dodges the way she does and, as good as she was last year, she's going to be even better. The way she moves, there's nothing a team can do in practice to prepare for her."
Courtney Murphy: "She's going to score a lot of goals this year. She doesn't miss. We're confident she'll be able to replace a lot of the goals we lost. She lit up the lamp all fall."
Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's lacrosse. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and on twitter at #LMRanks.