Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Petersen, Spallina headline All-America East honors

Junior Claire Petersen (Wantagh, N.Y.) of the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team headlines nine Seawolves to receive either America East All-Conference or All-Rookie honors, the conference office announced Wednesday. Petersen was named America East Player of the Year, and head coach Joe Spallina was named America East Coach of the Year.

Petersen is one of six Seawolves on the All-Conference first team, which is a program record, and she was the only unanimous selection. Joining her on the squad are junior Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.), junior Demmianne Cook (Nesconset, N.Y.), freshman Michelle Rubino (East Setauket, N.Y.), junior Melissa Rotante (Norwalk, Conn.) and sophomore Frankie Caridi (East Northport, N.Y.).

Sophomore Jessica Romano (Massapequa, N.Y.) was named to the second team, and Rubino, freshman Amber Kupres (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) and freshman Marina Mestres (Medford, N.J.) were all named to the All-Rookie team. Rotante was also placed on the All-Academic team for her strong work in the classroom.

Petersen, who is Stony Brook's second-ever Player of the Year, easily transitioned from being one of the best players in Div. II to becoming one of the best players in Div. I. After breaking the Div. II record for single-season points in 2011, she currently is second in all of Div. I in points per game (6.2) and assists per game (3.6). Overall, she has a conference-leading 54 assists and 93 points, which are both Stony Brook single-season records. In addition, she shattered the conference record for points in a single conference season with 42.

Spallina, who is Stony Brook's second-ever Coach of the Year, engineered the nation's best turnaround this season. Taking over the program last summer coming off a four-win season, Spallina has guided the Seawolves to a nine-win improvement, matching program records in wins (13) and conference wins (5). He led SBU to its first-ever win over a nationally ranked team, a 15-14 victory at Johns Hopkins on March 3, and his team entered the national rankings for the first time ever a week later.

Cook is the nation's leader in goals with a program-record 66 this season. She has posted 12 hat tricks this season, including a program single-game record nine goals at Monmouth on Feb. 26. She ranks third in the nation in goals per game (3.88) and fifth in America East in draw controls per game (3.18). In conference play only, she led the league in goals per game (4.00) and draw controls per game (5.17) and ranked fourth in caused turnovers per game (1.33).

Hillier posted 46 goals and 19 assists on the season, ranking fifth in America East in goals per game (2.71) and eighth in assists per game (1.12). In conference play, she stepped up her play by averaging 3.17 goals and 1.33 assists per game.

Rubino was the lone freshman on the first team after a tremendous rookie campaign that saw her shatter the program record for draw controls. She has controlled 87 draws this season and leads America East with 5.12 draw controls per game, which is also sixth-best in the country. She also has 27 goals and 11 assists while causing a team-best 20 turnovers.

Rotante, Romano and Caridi are part of a Seawolves defense that led America East in goals per game allowed, giving up only 9.29. Seven times this season the defense held an opponent to six goals or less. Rotante was the team's best on-the-ball defender and 19 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers. Romano also grabbed 19 ground balls and caused 13 turnovers. Caridi led America East in goals against average, giving up just 8.18 per game. Three times in conference play, she made nine saves.

Rubino, Kupres and Mestres are three of four freshman starters on the team and tied the 2003 and 2004 teams for most All-Rookie selections in program history. Kupres has posted 27 goals and caused 11 turnovers this season. Mestres grabbed 17 ground balls and caused nine turnovers.

Stony Brook enters this week's America East Championship as the No. 2 seed and is seeking its first-ever tournament title and automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Seawolves will take on UMBC in the semifinals Thursday at Boston University's Nickerson Field at 4 p.m. The winner will meet either Boston University or Albany in the title game Saturday at noon.