When you talk to Stony Brook women’s lacrosse’s senior star midfielder Michelle Rubino about all of the success that she has enjoyed in her college career, she does not have much to say.
She would likely would agree with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who once said, “I’m not a person who defends myself very often. I kind of let my actions speak for me.”
Rubino does not need to prove anything to anybody, as her career on Long Island has taken care of that.
For a player who has not only her coach but also former teammates raving about every aspect of her game, she has no need or reason to talk. In fact, not doing so can help her teammates as well.
“The best way to lead is by example, and Michelle goes above and beyond on the field and in the weight room to do that,” former Stony Brook lacrosse star Claire Petersen said. “She has such an impact on the team just by her presence and attitude on the field.“
If that makes her special, than her play on the lacrosse field makes her career as a Seawolf one of the most impressive ones yet.
Rubino is a two-way midfielder, showing up everywhere on the field. As the opposing team mounts an attack, you can find her racing back to try to force a turnover. Look the other way, and Rubino is already near the offensive third seeking a teammate in order to facilitate a safe clear and eventual goal.
“She’s unbelievable,” Head Coach Joe Spallina said. “I think she’s somebody that people won’t truly appreciate until she’s graduated because then they’ll realize how lucky we are.”
Before Rubino does graduate and head off onto her next career, she will look to add onto what has been an impressive 60 games in her three seasons as a Seawolf thus far.
The Long Islander has scored 102 goals and tallied 45 assists thus far in her career, meaning that in each game she has played, she has, on average, been in some way been responsible for more than two of the team’s goals.
Each number is impressive in and of itself, but the fact that last season she was third in goals and second in assists shows that there is really nothing that Rubino cannot do.
“What makes Michelle the lacrosse player she is, is her incredible athleticism and field vision,” Petersen said about Rubino having the complete package. She added how it is, “[that] combined with her drive to not only win but to win without it being a question.”
The most impressive of it all is that her glimmering contributions come in the nitty-gritty areas of the game, such as ground balls and passing.
“Her stats don’t always necessarily show on either end,” Spallina said about one of his seniors this season. “But, without her, you’d be in big trouble.”
Quite simply, there is nowhere that Rubino is not. She finished last season with a team-leading 30 caused turnovers, forcing errors from her opponents.
Then, she managed to find herself in the right place at the right time too, tallying the second most ground balls on the squad with 43. Some may say that is luck, but it takes an immense knowledge of the sport to know to follow the ball and where it is going to end up.
So, why does Rubino, one of the most talented players on the team, spend a lot of her time doing what some may call the “little things,” however big they actually are?
“I’m not really all about goals,” Rubino said. “I’m more of a transitional player.”
That in itself says a lot about her character, as many grow up dreaming of scoring the highlight-reel goals and being all over the recaps rather than doing whatever it takes to help the team win.
Yet, while freshmen Courtney Murphy and Dorrien Van Dyke led the team in goals and the country within their class, it was Rubino who would manage to shine in the biggest of moments. It was her who got the team off to a good start with the opening goal on the Seawolves’ way to beating Towson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. She was not at the very top, but she certainly scored goals, too.
That, and she helped mentor her young teammates as well.
“I believe Michelle deserves nearly all of the credit with helping the younger girls because I am sure the new girls have a whole new definition of hard work after seeing what Michelle does,” Petersen said.
That includes the example she provides for the rest of the team when the moment is not hers and she has to sub out.
“When Michelle rarely and briefly does sub out of the game, I have my eye in the box until she returns,” Petersen said. “That is both when I was playing and now when I watch from the stands.”
Petersen was Stony Brook’s first All-American and set the NCAA record for career assists for game, yet she was learning day in and day out from one of the younger players on her team.
Whether she realizes it or not, Rubino has had an impact on Stony Brook lacrosse.
“I guess it’s just me,” Rubino said about her strong work ethic. “I like to strive for the best and never settle for anything less.”