August 15, 2011

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Petersen Among Seven Adelphi-to-Stony Brook Transfers

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter


Claire Petersen, who scored a Division II record 182 points for national champion Adelphi in 2011, is following former Panthers head coach Joe Spallina to Division I Stony Brook. So are reigning D-II Midfielder of the Year Demmianne Cook, Goalie of the Year Frankie Caridi and four others. Spallina was named Stony Brook coach in June.

© Lee Weissman

They once loved Joe Spallina at Adelphi. Perhaps not anymore.

The new Stony Brook women's head coach confirmed Monday a haul of seven transfers set to follow the move that he made in June, going from Adelphi, the NCAA Division II program he led to the last three national championships, to Stony Brook, the Division I program a little farther east on Long Island he hopes to build into a likewise D-I power.

Among the transfers are key players from Adelphi's latest title team, notables from the Division II national landscape: 2011 IWLCA Attacker of the Year Claire Petersen (182 points last season), Midfielder of the Year Demmianne Cook, Goalie of the Year Frankie Caridi, and rising junior midfielder Emily Mercier, who played in 14 games for the Panthers last season.

Add in three transfer freshman to Stony Brook originally recruited to Adelphi by Spallina — three-sport Comsewogue (N.Y.) High star Michelle Rubino, Ava Fitzgerald (Calhoun (N.Y.)) and Julie Nolan (Rocky Point (N.Y.)) — and it's a sign of a jailbreak to what now could be called Adelphi East in women's lacrosse circles. Petersen will be a senior, Cook a junior and Caridi a sophomore.

"I went from them really loving me over there to not so much," Spallina said of Adelphi, his alma mater. "But we're excited. We have 15 new bodies coming in with our other incoming freshmen. Ten of the 15 kids are midfielders, which we're happy about, plus Claire Petersen, who knows what she's doing."

The excitement doesn't stop with player personnel moves. Stony Brook's schedule has taken on even more of an elite, national scope. Spallina has added Duke to the schedule, and has kept Johns Hopkins and Maryland on it.

Outside of the America East schedule, the Seawolves this spring will play Hopkins on March 3, Duke on March 6, Maryland on March 20 and Spallina said he anticipates booking reigning champion Northwestern soon, a matchup he has said in the past he attempted to set while at Adelphi. "We're holding a date for each other," Spallina said of he and Wildcats coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.

It's all part of Spallina's plan to bring Stony Brook among the nation's elite — quickly.

"I'm not going to concede anything," he said of the approach in his first season at his new job. "We're going to try to put as competitive of a team out there as we can. We're going to change the culture immediately. That will start on Aug. 29. We're going to try to maintain the same style of play I had over at Adelphi. Try to bring as many great athletes in as we can and mold them into playing our system. We think we're going to have the pieces to put a competitive team on the field immediately."

Under Spallina, Adelphi was known for its run-and-gun style, which last year outscored opponents by an average margin of 15 goals per game, and a strong backer zone defense that neutralized other team's top scorers and led to fast breaks. The Panthers went 73-2 in his four years there. They finished a perfect 20-0 in 2011.

Of the Seawolves' 4-11 record last season, Spallina said Monday "that's not going to cut it. We don't do that."

In the fall, Stony Brook will play UMass and tournaments at Iona, Navy and George Mason. A date is also set to play Syracuse in a charity event at Manhasset on Long Island the day following the George Mason tournament.

"This fall is huge," Spallina said. "I know a lot of teams use fall as just to get the kids out there and roll them around. For us, we're going to implement our system. We're going to have to mesh our returning players and newcomers. Chemistry is going to be an important thing, but in speaking to a lot of the returning girls, they're ready for change. They're excited about the system we're bringing in and the types of players we're bringing in."

Stony Brook recently announced Spallina's assistant coaches: Caitlin Defliese, a four-year player at Boston University who was his top assistant at Adelphi and coached the defense and draw controls there. Kim Hillier, previously an assistant at LIU and an All-American midfielder at Hofstra, was also named an assistant. Hillier was a former coach of the Long Island Yellow Jackets.

On a personal level, Spallina said he is enjoying his new surroundings on his native Long Island.

"This is huge for me. It's huge for my family. I'm 15 minutes from work," he said of the commute from Rocky Point, where he lives with his wife and four children. "I don't have to wear multiple hats other than Major League Lacrosse [where he's an assistant coach with the Long Island Lizards]."

"Our recruiting angle doesn't really change much," he said. "We're going to be a team that's based out of Long Island just like the teams down in the Maryland area have strong Maryland contingents on their roster. We're going to try to keep with that mantra and try to compile as many of the great athletes as we can. Just keep chopping wood until we think we're where we need to be, which is competing at a high level."


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