October 28, 2013

Stony Brook's 'Revolving Identity' is Still Fast

Boston College hosts Seawolves, UMass, BU, UConn for fall event

by Brian Foley | LaxMagazine.com

Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina said junior midfielder Michelle Rubino should seriously be "in the national picture fo player of the year," in 2014.
© Gregory Shemitz

BOSTON — The Boston College women's lacrosse team hosted a five-team fall tournament on Saturday that ended the fall campaigns for many of the participating programs aside from the Eagles: Boston University, UMass, Stony Brook and UConn. Every one of these programs participated in previous fall events and Saturday served as an opportunity for more tweaks.

Seawolves looking to make national impact in 2014

The Stony Brook Seawolves took part in the first game of the day against 2013 NCAA tournament qualifier Boston College. The Seawolves started off extremely slow scoring only one goal in the first half before turning it on in the second half to defeat the Eagles 4-3 in the 45-minute scrimmage.

"I am pleased with the effort as BC is an established program that made the NCAAs last year," Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina said. "I thought we controlled the ball really well and missed a ton of opportunities on offense. The defense was stout as I expected them to be as our freshmen stepped up in the game."

Spallina's squad has a "revolving identity," he said, heading into 2014 and expects that they will be better than last year when Stony Brook went 17-3 while going a perfect 6-0 in America East conference play. Junior midfielder Michelle Rubino, who scored 34 goals last year, leads the squad.

On Saturday, Rubino scored only one goal but had one disallowed. She has elite athleticism that helps her lead the fast break offense that Stony Brook employs. Several times she gathered possession in the defensive zone against BC, made one move against a defender, and set up an odd-man rush to get an excellent shot on the net.

Spallina raved about Rubino's skill level and commitment to her game. "Michelle stayed all summer working on her stick skills," Spallina said. "She has great athleticism as seen on the field but she needed to get better with her game."

Spallina took it to the next level, though, saying "I seriously believe that she should be in the national picture for player of the year."

UMass looking for 'best year'

The UMass Minutewomen won the 2013 Atlantic 10 championship, which was the school's fifth straight conference title. UMass also made the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the past five years. In the fall, the Minutewomen have been dealing without the services of All-American Katie Ferris and defensive stalwart Kelsey McGovern. Ferris is coming off a 52-goal campaign with 75 points while McGovern started in all 18 games that she appeared in.

"We have been working with many different combinations this fall," UMass coach Angela McMahon said. "Our senior class is really stepping it up as we have a really strong group that has been really successful the last three years. We can tell how focused and ready they are to make it the best year."

Odds and ends

Boston College: Last time we saw Boston College, graduate student Brooke Blue wasn't on the field as she was nursing an injury. On Saturday, Blue was back. She scored a goal against Stony Brook while helping to contribute to the offensive attack for the Eagles. If she returns to her 2012 form in tandem with All-American candidate Covie Stanwick, it will help BC's chances.

Boston University: The one player that stood out on Saturday was sophomore midfielder Jill Horka, who scored three goals in the Terriers game against UMass. She dodged and weaved down the center of the UMass defense while being the best offensive threat for the Terriers. She will be key this season to the offense as BU lost their top scorer in Danielle Etrasco to graduation.

UConn: Senior midfielder Lauren Kahn had a solid game on Saturday morning against Stony Brook where she scored two goals while being the best UConn player on the field. She will be an integral part of the Huskies' 2014 season as she is coming off a season which saw her named Big East midfielder of the Year while being a second team All-American by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA).

Check back this week for more on the Boston College fall event from Eagles' senior and LaxMagazine.com blogger Kelly McNelis.

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