The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team was in the midst of a back-and-forth affair with the Boston College Eagles, but held a three-goal lead with 15 minutes remaining and a trip to the NCAA Final Four on the line.
Much like last season against Maryland, the game ended in dramatic fashion, but not in Stony Brook’s favor.
“It stings, it definitely hurts,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “That said, you can’t ask for more. Our defense responded well after a tough start, and I thought we were the better team after the first 10 minutes. I give a lot of credit to Boston College, they’re a great team.”
Boston scored four unanswered goals, including the game-winner, with 1:42 left in overtime, to hand Stony Brook its first loss of the season and knock the Seawolves out of the NCAA tournament Saturday, May 19 by a 12-11 final score in Newton, Massachusetts.
Eagles junior midfielder Dempsey Arsenault cut toward the net as junior attacker and Tewaaraton finalist Sam Apuzzo passed her the ball. Arsenault corralled the pass and fired into the lower corner, ending the game and the Seawolves’ historic journey.
The loss marks the end of the historic collegiate careers of redshirt-senior attacker Courtney Murphy and senior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller. Both players have etched their names in the history books, as Ohlmiller is the NCAA record holder for career points and assists while Murphy is career leader in goals.
“The loss is bad, and the loss rips my heart out,” Spallina said. “The worst part is when you spend the volume of time you spend with people and their families, and that being the end. In some ways, it’s like you have somebody in your life nonstop and it’s just taken out. It’ll never be the same as when you’re in the trenches together when you’re around each other every day.”
Boston College opened the game on a 5-2 run before Stony Brook responded with a 4-0 run of its own to take a 6-5 lead. Sophomore midfielder Ally Kennedy led the team with five goals, while usual leading scorers Murphy and Ohlmiller combined for four goals and four assists.
The draw circle proved to be Stony Brook’s poison on Saturday. The Eagles won 20 of the 26 faceoffs, thanks in large part to Apuzzo, who won the draw in the second half of overtime that led to the game-winning goal.
Stony Brook had chances to win the game late. Ohlmiller had an opportunity for what would have been the game-winning goal, saved by Boston junior goalkeeper Lauren Daly with less than two seconds remaining in regulation. Ohlmiller also turned the ball over in the first overtime period while the Seawolves were on the attack.
“I thought we left some plays on the field,” Spallina said. “We had an opportunity to ice the game, but we were disjointed. Had another really good chance late in the game, but the goalie made a great save. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
Sophomore attacker Taryn Ohlmiller was listed as a gametime decision due to a lower-body injury suffered in the game against Penn last Saturday. Spallina confirmed post-game that she had torn her ACL, had kept mum about it all week and will be getting surgery later in the week.
The Seawolves completed one of the most historic seasons to memory. The team was ranked No.1 for the first time, recording the longest winning streak in program history with 20 consecutive victories.
“What they’ve done is larger than life in the sense that there’s not many sports that just have a bunch of kids that have taken the sport over,” Spallina said. “Maybe they didn’t come in as top 100 kids, but they’re leaving as some of the top kids to walk the planet in the sport. Their legacy won’t be decided on the fact that they’re not playing next weekend.”
The team also led Division I women’s lacrosse in six statistical categories including points per game, scoring margin, assists per game, shot percentage, turnovers per game and team defense.
The team graduated 10 seniors, and Spallina said that those players and the bond they have is what he’ll take away from the season, not the stats.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Spallina said. “I’d go to battle with that group of kids every day of the week. I love every single one of them.”