The revelation of last year’s Stony Brook women’s lacrosse season was the performance of their freshmen, with Courtney Murphy and Dorrien Van Dyke leading first-year players across the nation in scoring. This season, it looks like freshman Kylie Ohlmiller is picking up on the trend that the duo started, accounting for seven points in the Seawolves 13-6 win over Villanova.
“Kylie is an elite player,” Head Coach Joe Spallina said after the game. “There is nothing to hide there.”
It is not like Spallina has kept Ohlmiller’s talent a secret, either. Nobody was surprised when she took to a still snow-surrounded Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium and scored two goals while dishing five assists.
“I think Kylie Ohlmiller will be the most prolific scorer in the freshman class in the country,” Spallina said before Ohlmiller even stepped on the field for her first collegiate game. “Before she’s out of here she’ll be a very strong candidate to win the Tewaaraton, she’s that good.”
It takes a special player to win the Tewaaraton Award, given to the very best lacrosse player in the country. It means even more when such claims come from one of the most well known lacrosse coaches in the world.
“Coach is awesome. He says these things about a lot of girls,” Ohlmiller said humbly, before continuing. “It’s pretty nice to hear. He’s one of the top coaches in the country. It’s flattering.”
Against a Wildcats team that spent much of the game playing conservative defense in trying to limit any Stony Brook offense, Ohlmiller ended up with the ball in an awkward position and not much time to do something with it.
It was as if last season’s co-Tewaaraton Award winner on the men’s side, Miles Thompson, had taken the field. Without hesitating at all, Ohlmiller flipped the ball behind her back and past the Villanova goalie for what should have been a goal, but an iffy disallowance by the referees kept it off the board.
The thing is, that was not even the highlight of Ohlmiller’s game, as the West Islip, N.Y. native found four different teammates for goals.
“She makes the others around her better, which is the mark of a true superstar,” Spallina said about the young phenom. “I think she got more comfortable as the game went on.”
That holds true for Ohlmiller’s season as a whole, as she has steadily gotten more and more involved in the offense as she has gotten more comfortable. She found teammates for two assists in Stony Brook’s season opener against USC. She was also denied her first goal because of an illegal stick, but made up for it with her first collegiate goal and two assists against Drexel.
Michelle Rubino continued to display why Spallina and others have said that she is one of the best two-way midfielders not only in the America East Conference, but the entire nation. Flying at Villanova’s goalkeeper on one end to cause havoc on clear attempts and sprinting back to pressure the Wildcats offense, Rubino was simply everywhere at every moment.
If that was not enough, she scored three goals as well, bringing her total to five on the season heading into the team’s first major challenge of the year: facing nationally-ranked Notre Dame, a team that broke the Seawolves hearts last season in a 8-7 thriller. The Fighting Irish will greet the Seawolves on Long Island tomorow night.
“Our focus for us now shifts to Notre Dame Tuesday under the lights in our own barn,” Spallina said. “It’s a huge game on Long Island. It’s exciting.”
It will certainly be a test for a young team such as the Seawolves, one with senior leaders supplemented by underclassmen, who are all capable of putting the ball in the back of the net.
“The next couple of games we have, especially Notre Dame, they’re bigger teams,” Ohlmiller said, discussing the tougher schedule that is upcoming for the Seawolves. “They’re, you know, better. We’ve just got to keep going at practice, our practices, they’re tough. Like coach said, we don’t focus on anyone but ourselves.”
Nor will they have to, as Stony Brook looks to set the tone against the nationally-ranked Fighting Irish with its
pressuring defense. It will be up to Maegan Meritz and company to limit Notre Dame’s Cortney Fortunato, who scored four goals in the two team’s matchup last season.