BOSTON - The Stony Brook women's lacrosse team's bid for its first-ever conference championship and NCAA Tournament bid fell short as the Seawolves lost to Albany, 9-7, in the America East Championship final Saturday at Nickerson Field. Juniors Claire Petersen (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Demmianne Cook (Nesconset, N.Y.) each scored two goals and an assist to lead the Seawolves in defeat.
Stony Brook falls to 14-5 on the season and despite the loss, the team still boasts the nation's best turnaround from a year ago, winning 10 more games in 2012 than in 2011. Albany improves to 12-5, wins its second consecutive conference title and advances to the NCAA Tournament.
Petersen's three points on the day pushed her over the 100 mark for the season, becoming the first Seawolf to accomplish the feat. The America East Player of the Year, she finishes the season with 42 goals and 59 assists for 101 points.
Cook finishes the season with a school-record 68 goals, which currently leads the nation.
Also tallying goals on the day were freshman Michelle Rubino (East Setauket, N.Y.), sophomore Emily Mercier (Rocky Point, N.Y.) and junior Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.).
After the game, Petersen, Rubino and Mercier were all named to the America East Championship All-Tournament team.
The Seawolves trailed the entire game as Albany controlled possession for most of the first half. The Great Danes struck first on Jess Antelmi's goal at the 25:59 mark. Five minutes later, Cook tied it with a goal from Petersen.
Albany took over the rest of the half, scoring four unanswered goals while limiting the Seawolves to just four shots on goal. After Mel Rorie scored for Albany with 11 seconds remaining in the half, the Seawolves finally found some rhythm when they won the ensuing draw, and Petersen charged at the goal and scored with two seconds on the clock. Stony Brook went into halftime trailing 5-2.
To start the second half, Hillier connected on a free position attempt to make it 5-3, but Albany responded almost immediately as Antelmi found the back of the net again to give the Great Danes a three-goal cushion.
Stony Brook fought back. Down 7-4 with less than 15 minutes to play, Rubino dropped in a goal unassisted and then less than two minutes later, Cook won a jump ball and passed to Mercier, who took three steps towards the goal and fired a shot that got past Albany's Anna Berman to cut SBU's deficit to one, 7-6.
Albany had possession of the ball with 5:15 remaining, but freshman Amber Kupres caused Rorie to turn the ball over. She scooped up the ground ball and fed Petersen, who ran nearly half the field right at Albany's Berman and buried the goal to tie the game with 4:59 to play.
However, Albany struck again, winning the ensuing draw and then scoring when Amanda Pollock found Maureen Keggins wide open in front of the net, easily scoring a goal with 3:52 to play.
Albany won the draw control and controlled possession for the rest of the match, running out the clock and winning its second consecutive championship.
The draw control battle was even, 9-9, though Albany won six in the second half. SBU had 11 ground balls to Albany's 10. Both Berman and Seawolves goalkeeper Hannah Perruccio (Rochester, N.Y.) both made five saves.
Individually on defense, Rubino caused three turnovers, grabbed three ground balls and won two draws. Cook won five draws to lead all players.