ALBANY, N.Y. -- Stony Brook led the entire way in an 8-4 victoryagainst archrival Albany on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Seawolves seized control of sole possession of first place in the America East standings and earned head coach Joe Spallina his program-record 43rd win.
“Our goal from the start has been to build a great -- not mediocre, not good, but great -- program," said head coach Joe Spallina. "We don’t want to stop at conference championships. We want to play deep into May every year. Our players embrace that as well as our national ranking and preseason picks. We don’t hide from any of that. I don’t like getting caught up individual accolades. This is a tribute to the world-class players I’ve been privileged to coach. I give a lot of credit to my players and assistant coaches. We have our sights set on much greater things than this kind of record.”
Courtney Murphy recorded a hat trick and Michelle Rubino finished with two goals, one assist and one caused turnover for Stony Brook (12-2).
Senior goalie Frankie Caridi made four stops between the pipes as the Seawolves extended their winning streak to nine consecutive games. Stony Brook’s defense, ranked first in the nation, held Albany’s fifth-ranked offense to single-digit goals for the first time this season.
Stony Brook staked an early 2-0 lead on goals by Natalie Marciniak and Rubino. Albany got on the board on a Maureen Keggins score, but Rubino put in an unassisted tally at the 23:02 mark of the first half that put the Seawolves up, 3-1.
The Great Danes controlled the ensuing draw and held possession for nearly six minutes while only getting off one shot. Jenna Agostino broke up the stall by causing a Rachel Bowles turnover, and Caridi picked up a ground ball.
The two teams traded turnovers, with Maegan Meritz hustling for a ground ball for Stony Brook on defense to start a successful clear attempt. Amber Kupres made Albany pay with a goal with 14:53 left in the stanza.
After Bowles sliced the margin to 4-2 on a player-up opportunity with 10:28 until the break, Murphy responded at 9:11 to put the advantage back at three, 5-2. Kathleen Lennon got the next draw control, and Albany again slowed down the pace, holding possession for nearly four minutes.
During the stretch, a pair of Katherine Sweeney shots and a free position attempt by Ariana Parker went wide. Parker turned it over when Alyssa Fleming knocked it away with about 5:30 until the break to keep the score at 5-2.
Rubino opened the second-half scoring with a goal at the 26-minute mark and came away with the draw control. It was the Seawolves’ turn to slow the pace, and they kept the ball for more than six minutes until Berman caused a Murphy turnover with 19:38 left. Rubino got possession back just 18 ticks later with a caused turnover on Albany’s Meghan Haney, and Murphy redeemed herself with a free position score at 18:48 for a 7-2 Stony Brook lead.
Another Murphy goal from the 8-meter pushed the advantage to six, 8-2, with 16:10 to play. The Great Danes scored the next two goals and climbed to within 8-4 when Keggins found the back of the cage at 2:29, but Kristin Yevoli controlled the draw and Stony Brook ran out the clock.
The Great Danes fell to 10-2 on the year and have yet to beat a ranked opponent. Anna Berman finished with three saves.