By Connor Beach
Five graduates of Huntington-area high schools are among a Stony Brook University women’s lacrosse team that just made history.
The Seawolves are, for the first time in program history, the nation’s top-ranked team for women’s lacrosse.
The ranking in all three major NCAA women’s lacrosse polls was finalized Monday after Stony Brook’s three straight wins to start the season against fifth-ranked USC, 23rd-ranked Stanford; and, most recently, 20th-ranked Denver.
Junior attackman Nicole Bifulco, a sociology major, played high school lacrosse at Harborfields, where she also played field hockey and ran track.
Sophomore midfielder Caitlyn McDuffee, of Huntington, played at St. Anthony’s High School, where she was a part of some Catholic school championship winning Friars team.
Senior defender Vincenza Patrone is a Northport High School gad. She captained the Tigers lacrosse team during her junior and senior years.
Patrone, who is studying athletic training, has appeared in all three games this year for Stony Brook.
Redshirt senior Brook Gubitosi is a starting defender for the Seawolves this season. She’s started a total of 40 games over her past two seasons. Gubitosi, 22, another Northport grad, captained the Tigers her senior year in 2013.
Gubitosi said that one of the best things about this Stony Brook team is the familiarity the athletes share as many of them played high school lacrosse on Long Island.
“It’s cool to be on a team where a lot of the people you are surrounded with you’ve known through lacrosse growing up,” Gubitosi said.
Junior and starting goaltender Anna Tesoriero hails from Huntington High School. She’s started in net for the Seawolves each game since her freshman year in 2016.
Tesoriero, 20, a nursing major, said her five years on the varsity squad for the Blue Devils helped prepare her for the rigors of college lacrosse.
Both Gubitosi and Tesoriero said the Stony Brook team is working on staying focused despite the recent accomplishment.
“It doesn’t change anything we’ve been working on in practice,” Gubitosi said, “It’s cool, but at the same time you can’t get wrapped up in it… We just have to keep working hard.”
Tesoriero added, “People from the outside may say this or that, but you have to stay humble and stay focused.
“The minute you lose focus might be the minute you lose it all.”
Tesoriero said she and her teammates have but one goal for the season: win a national championship. The finals are scheduled for May at Stony Brook University.
“We want to be the last ones standing on our field,” she said.
Before that, however, the Seawolves will dive into their regular season schedule, which next calls for a Saturday, 1 p.m. showdown at Northwestern University in Illinois.