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Ellie Masera posted a masterful senior season and was a Tewaaraton Award finalist.

NCAA Rewind: Another Good One for Stony Brook

July 5, 2024
Beth Ann Mayer
Rich Barnes

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.


USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: No. 10/No. 14
2024 record: 18-3 (8-0 CAA)

What went right: Stony Brook brought back a veteran-heavy roster consisting of six graduate returners and eight seniors, including eventual Tewaaraton Award finalist Ellie Masera. And the Seawolves played like a team on a mission for much of the year, going 8-0 for the second time in as many seasons in the CAA and winning the tournament crown.

The tournament crown — the 10th for Stony Brook, if you include the Seawolves’ America East tenure — involved overcoming a halftime deficit and a hot goalie in Drexel’s Jenika Cuocco (17 saves). Stony Brook went on to handle Niagara in a 19-7 win in the NCAA tournament’s first round.

In one of the best non-conference games of the season, the Seawolves beat Syracuse in the Dome in overtime on a game-winner by none other than Masera. Masera’s numbers were eye-popping, to say the least. She was second in Division I in points per game (6.16), sixth in goals per game (4.05) and 11th in draws (7.63). 

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What went wrong: The first two weeks of March were a rollercoaster for the Seawolves. After beating Syracuse on March 5, Stony Brook lost to Johns Hopkins and Denver on March 9 and 11, respectively. The losses bumped Stony Brook from its usual place in the top 10, something it wouldn’t crack again, and ultimately made a national seed for the NCAA tournament a no-go.

Stony Brook rattled off 13-straight wins following the Denver loss, including an overtime win over a ranked Stanford program. The streak ended in the second round of the NCAA tournament, when Syracuse avenged the regular-season loss with a 15-10 win.

Season highlight: As impressive as another conference crown is, Stony Brook doesn’t discuss those. It’s an expectation baked into the team’s culture over the last decade-plus and not a goal. While winning games in March doesn’t carry the same weight as reaching the final four — a long-time goal of head coach Joe Spallina’s since he took over the one-time America East cellar-dweller in 2012 — that Syracuse win was fun. The teams went back and forth — the game’s largest margin was a 7-5 third-quarter lead for the Orange.

Stony Brook appeared to win it when Masera scored with 68 seconds left, but Maddie Baxter’s last-minute equalizer forced overtime, where Masera called game.

Verdict: Stony Brook would undoubtedly like to have a re-do of those games against Hopkins and Denver. The Denver loss by one goal at home on a last-second Jane Earley tally particularly stung. The final four remains frustratingly elusive. 

Still, an 11th NCAA tournament bid, 10 conference tournament crowns and a Tewaaraton finalist in Masera are nothing to shake a stick at. It was another good one on the Island.