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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stony Brook women back on track - Newsday

When they were winning national titles in women's lacrosse at Division II Adelphi, Claire Petersen and Demmianne Cook were always on the winning side of lopsided scores. Now in Division I with Stony Brook, the pair recently experienced the other side with losses to some of the division's elite programs. It did not overwhelm the Seawolves, who now are back to their regular schedule. "If you want to be the best, you have to play the best,'' said Petersen, who had a goal and six assists in Stony Brook's 17-5 victory over visiting Marist Saturday. "These highly ranked teams are better competition, so it's only going to make us better.''
Stony Brook (6-3) started the season 5-0, including a triumph over Johns Hopkins. That led to the Seawolves' first appearance in the national rankings, albeit a short-lived one. There was a one-goal loss to No. 5 Duke, followed by a 17-4 loss at No. 6 Florida and a 21-7 loss at No. 4 Maryland.
"It's good that we got to play against such talented teams,'' Petersen said, "because it raises our level of play.''
That was evident against Marist (1-8). Petersen immediately went to work, feeding Amber Kupres 2:49 into the game for the first of Kupres' career-high four goals. Petersen assisted on all four of the freshman's goals, the last coming with 53 seconds left in the game.
Kupres said the team derived only positives from playing Maryland.
"It was a good experience for us to play such a highly ranked team,'' she said. "To see the speed of the game and hopefully grow as a team to one day be like Maryland and hopefully beat them one day. It wasn't super-disappointing. We grew together as a team.''
Cook also scored four goals against Marist, increasing her team-leading total to 33.
After the road trip, Cook was glad to see the team return to form. "Today was really important for us,'' she said. "We hadn't scored in double-digits the past three games, so coming back and scoring 17 goals really got us going.''
With conference play about to begin, coach Joe Spallina believes a winning streak is in store. "The schedule is set up appropriately," he said. "Having played against the best of the best, we should be able to go out and do what we do. We expect to be in the NCAAs. We expect to win the America East. I think we are set up to have a great run here.''
Notes & quotes: Starting goalkeeper Frankie Caridi, who has missed the last four games with an injury to the ACL in her right knee, is expected to return Saturday against Binghamton in the Seawolves' first America East game. Before that, Stony Brook visits Iona on Tuesday.