The turnaround started in 2012 – the year Demmianne Cook, along with head coach Joe Spallina and a handful of her Adelphi University teammates, joined the Seawolves' women's lacrosse team. The team finished with a 16-30 record in the three seasons directly leading up to their arrival, and is 24-7 since.
Cook, a senior midfielder, has quickly risen to the top for a Stony Brook team that owns a 10-2 record and is currently ranked the No. 13 team in the nation, according to the deBeers media poll.
Cook, a three-year All County athlete at Smithtown East, scored 70 goals in 2009 in her senior season – the year Smithtown East beat West Islip, then the No. 1-ranked team in the county. After high school, she was part of the Adelphi University team that won Division II championships in 2010 and 2011 before coming to Stony Brook.
Now, she is not only leading Stony Brook with 57 goals in 12 games, with an average of 4.75 goals per game, but she is also leading the nation in both goals and goals per game, according to Stony Brook media relations. In only her second season with the Seawolves, she owns school records for goals per game (nine) and goals in a single season (68) and is third in career goals scored so far.
"It’s a great honor to be part of this team because I’ve always wanted to play top-20 Divisoin I lacrosse," Cook said. "Now I’m here doing it."
Spallina credits her with helping put the team on the map.
"She’s an incredible athlete, someone that draws attention every single game," he said. "She realizes the way superstar players are supposed to act and the impact it can have on the people around them. ... She’s a special one. We’re going to enjoy the time that we have her."
But Cook credited the whole team for its successes thus far. "I have to tip my hat off to all the girls on the draw control, defense, and all the way down to the goalies in the cage, because it’s a team effort," she said.
She added said "it's a blessing every day" to be at Stony Brook. The team has set its sights not just on winning the America East conference – but also on playing deep into the NCAA tournament. She said their national ranking is a celebration of their success but also a reminder that they have to keep working hard.
"It’s good motivation for us to climb up the charts and get better," Cook said. "You can't take that spot for granted because anything can happen between all the other teams."