Stony Brook's Expectations High Heading into 2014 Season

Stony Brook, N.Y. –Coming off a banner 2013 season, the No. 12/14 Stony Brook women's lacrosse team welcomes back seven starters and adds 15 decorated newcomers as it looks to continue its ascent in the national rankings this year.

Stony Brook, ranked No. 1 in the America East preseason poll, returns 17 letterwinners from the record-breaking 2013 team that went undefeated in conference play, captured the team's first America East title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Seawolves cracked the top 10 in both major polls for the first time in program history and finished at No. 11 and No. 10 in the coaches and media polls, respectively, after winning a school-record 17 games.

An ILWomen Preseason All-American, senior Frankie Caridi leads the netminder corps following a season that saw her boast the nation's best goals-against average (5.71) and save percentage (.530). The two-time first-team all-conference and 2013 All-Region honoree shattered the America East mark for goals-against average of 6.82, set by Albany's Anna Berman in 2011. Caridi kept opponents to single-digits in goals in 17 of 20 games and let in a school-record two goals three times (Marist, 3/14, Fresno State, 3/26 and Albany, 3/30).

Freshman Kaitlyn Leahy and sophomore Jenna Demarinis will serve as backups to Caridi this year. Leahy comes to Stony Brook from Bayport-Blue Point, where she was named All-Suffolk County and all-division three times. Demarinis saw action in one game last season.

Defense is arguably the Seawolves' most experienced position entering the season, as they return two of their four starters from last year's team that broke a Division I mark for scoring defense (5.65). Sophomore Alyssa Fleming made 19 starts and picked up America East All-Rookie and second team all-conference accolades after a standout debut season. She finished second on the team with 17 caused turnovers and also scooped up 29 ground balls. Redshirt sophomore Maegan Meritz started all 20 games and used her speed to assist on the clear. The Farmingdale, N.Y., product finished with 18 ground balls.

Senior captain Jessica Romano served as an important reserve last season after picking up second team all-conference honors the previous year. A multi-dimensional player, Romano tallied five goals and one assist in addition to recording nine ground balls and six caused turnovers. Her physical, aggressive play and understanding of the defensive system will make her an important part of the unit. As a three-year captain, her leadership will be pivotal as the team looks to take its next step.

Junior Jenna Agostino will look to work her way up the depth chart after working hard in the offseason. She saw action in 11 games and made two starts last season.

Freshman Jessica Volpe will add depth to the strong unit. As a junior at Hauppauge, she was named to ESPN's Watch List and Top 50 Juniors ledger. She helped Hauppauge to a No. 6 state ranking in 2012.

The Seawolves return three starting midfielders from last year's team in junior captains Michelle Rubino and Amber Kupres and senior Emily Mercier. Each finished in the top five in goal scoring for Stony Brook last season, with Rubino finding the back of the cage 34 times and Kupres and Mercier finishing with 31 goals and 28 goals, respectively. Stony Brook also adds a highly touted transfer from Princeton in Jenna Davis, who will use her fifth and final year of eligibility after leading Princeton to the NCAA Tournament last season, to a unit that has been a centerpiece of Spallina's squads throughout his coaching career.

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