Women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Stony Brook at NCAA Tournament

SU gets revenge on Stony Brook at NCAAs

Both Syracuse lacrosse teams won their first matchups of the 2024 NCAA National Tournament.

Albany v Syracuse
Delaney Sweitzer and Kate Mashewske, seen here celebrating against UAlbany during a game at JMA Wireless Dome on March 1, 2023, were key in the win over Stony Brook.

A tense atmosphere filled SU Soccer Stadium as the Orange prepared to face the Seawolves. 

“Payback! Payback! Payback!” the Orange taunted from the sidelines as the bench waved their sticks up and down and draw control specialist Kate Mashewske faced off against Clare Levy to kick off the second-round matchup of the NCAA National Tournament. 

The No. 3 Syracuse women’s lacrosse team defeated Stony Brook 15-10 on Sunday in a rematch between the two sides. Stony Brook was the last team to beat the Orange in the regular season before their nine-game win streak.

Syracuse was aggressive out of the gate. Junior attack Olivia Adamson earned a free position shot and scored a minute into the game, and the team finished the first quarter 6-2. 

Adamson led the way for Syracuse with three goals and three assists. Graduate midfielder Emma Tyrrell added five goals of her own and an assist, while Mashewske dominated from the draw control with 20 draws won. Mashewske set a new program record for most draw controls won in a single game; she held the previous record, set against Louisville in 2022. 

For Stony Brook, senior midfielder Ellie Mesera kept her side in the game during the first half. She finished the game with two goals and one assist. Kailyn Hart finished as the team’s offensive leader with three goals and two assists. 

“The first time we played them, it was a big turning point in our season, honestly,” Mashewske said postgame. “It really motivated us to continue to work hard every day and get better so that when we get to this moment, we can show off, and we did today.”

Coach Kayla Treanor added that there were improvements in her team from when they last faced the Seawolves. After the Orange’s win against Pitt, Treanor called the loss to Stony Brook a turning point, and said the team had to look in the mirror to come back.  

“We just played very casual. We did not play the way that we wanted to. And the players and the coaches, we all knew that if we wanted to reach our goals, we had to kind of change the way we were playing,” Treanor remembered of their performance in the loss. 

“It wasn’t perfect by any means, but we’ve been able to really get better and I think the commitment level has increased,” she added.

Syracuse wasted no time. Stony Brook won the opening draw and rushed to the Orange net, only for the home side to counter with a run of their own and free position shot 55 seconds into the game. Adamson took advantage of the look to give her team an early lead. 

The goal would set a precedent for the match, as the Orange took advantage of their free possession opportunities. Syracuse scored on four of seven shots from the spot. 

Stony Brook responded quickly after a draw violation on Mashewske to tie the game, but failed to stop Syracuse as the Orange went on a 5-1 run the rest of the quarter. 

The Syracuse offense continued getting in rhythm as attackers passed the ball back and forth looking for the best shot at goal.  

The Seawolves responded in the second quarter. Stony Brook was one of only three sides to limit the Orange’s scoring in the regular season, doing so with compact and aggressive defense.

The team came out of the first period focusing on defense and forcing the Orange to take uncomfortable shots. 

Not to be limited to one side of the field, Masera scored two back-to-back goals to cut the lead. 

It’d be Adamson who once again came through for the home side. The junior found herself in front of goal around six minutes into the period when she took a shot in front of multiple defenders. She then assisted a Tyrrell goal as Syracuse unlocked the Stony Brook defense. 

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Olivia Adamson, seen here scoring against Louisville on march 30, 2024, in the JMA Wireless Dome, came through for Syracuse when her team needed her.

Stony Brook collapsed in the last five minutes of the half. Sophomore attack Gracie Britton scored a goal and assisted another 40 seconds later to increase the Syracuse lead. 

With momentum on their side, the Orange took a five-goal lead into the half. 

The second half resembled the first one. Syracuse scored early, Masera responded for Stony Brook and a new challenge limited the home side. This time, it was graduate goalie Emily Manning, who stopped four shots in the third. 

Still, the Seawolves’ efforts were not enough to overcome the Orange responses. Syracuse kept the five-goal lead and walked out with their revenge. 

The win moves the Orange closer to the ultimate goal: National Champions. They next host No. 6 Yale in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Opening draw is set for 2:30 p.m.

Coach Spallina: “I think women deserve a better setup for an NCAA Tournament game”

Following the loss to Syracuse, Stony Brook head coach Joe Spallina called out the Orange for elements that he believed led to an uneven playing field. 

Spallina first referred to Mashewske’s stick following her performance against his side. He said the graduate student’s stick is stringed in a way that allows her to gain an advantage during draws. 

“There was something where… just the way the ball is sitting, it was in her stick pre-whistle. So, she was basically being able to put it wherever she wanted,” Spallina explained. 

“We thought about a possible stick-check. It was something where, when the sticks went together her pocket expanded a little bit,” he added. “That wasn’t based on us seeing one thing. It’s our taker, fifth-year senior, knows what she’s doing.”

He clarified he was not looking to diminish Mashewske’s performance and called her one of the best in her role, if not the best.  

It’s not the first time her stick is questioned. The draw control specialist led the Orange to a 22-12 win over Louisville in the regular season and a 19-4 win over Virginia in the ACC Tournament. During both games the opposing team requested a stick-check on Mashewske. 

Both times officials ruled her stick legal. 

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Kate Mashewske, seen here fighting for the ball against a Loyola defender during a game in the JMA Wireless Dome on March 28, 2024, has been dominant in draw controls this season.

He also criticized the treatment his team received before the game started. Before he finished his postgame press conference, Spallina shared his disappointment at being placed in a muddy tent.

Stony Brook athletes were forced to use a tent next to the field as a locker room. The women on the team struggled to change and get ready due to the conditions, Spallina said. 

“It really was not the best situation. It was disappointing,” he said. “I think women deserve a better setup for an NCAA Tournament game.”

He added that he was confident Towson would not be in a “mud locker room.” Towson University faced SU men’s lacrosse later the same day at the JMA Wireless Dome. 

NCAA guidelines do not allow Syracuse to change their game venue midweek if another game was played in the same week. Stony Brook faced Niagara on Friday at SU Soccer Stadium while the Dome was unavailable. The guideline made SU play Sunday’s game at the same venue as Friday’s. Entering a new week, SU is at liberty to schedule games at the Dome once again. 

Spallina said he was not trying to make this a reason for the lost or be a “sore loser,” but was disappointed at the conditions. 

“If this was at Stony Brook, Syracuse would have their feet on pavement, or maybe that turf you lay on the floor, so women aren’t standing in mud with white socks, and that kind of stuff,” Spallina said. 

Spallina also said he’d have to consider his future following the loss. He recognized the loss was too recent to jump to any decisions but made his family a priority. 

“I don’t want to miss my boys’ career, my daughter’s career,” he said. “Life goes fast. I think one of the biggest mistakes you make is thinking you have time.” 

Still, he assured that if he coaches next year, it will be with Stony Brook.  

Men’s lacrosse opens NCAA Tournament with win over Towson

Later on Sunday, the No. 4 Syracuse men’s lacrosse team topped No. 12 Towson 20-15 to lock up a spot in the quarterfinals.

The Orange went into halftime trailing 8-9. The home side then started the third quarter with a nine-goal rally as part of a 12-6 second-half effort to secure the win.

A different player scored each of the nine goals, but sophomore attack Joey Spallina left the game as the hero for his team, finishing with four goals and four assists. He had two points during the run.

Redshirt junior attack Owen Hiltz added four goals and two assists of his own in the win.

Joey Spallina celebrates after leveling the game late in the third period on Feb. 4, 2023.
Spallina (22) and Hiltz (77), seen here celebrating against Vermont on Feb. 4, 2023, at the JMA Wireless Dome, led the Orange over Towson.

“Great team effort,” head coach Gary Gait said. “That’s very important, that we came out on top. We got through some rough times.”

Syracuse now gets a week of rest before their next game, a matchup on Sunday with No. 6 Denver at Towson. Faceoff is slated for noon.