Looking to avenge last season’s 14-1 demolition at the hands of the Florida Gators, the Seawolves knew it would be a difficult fight on the road against the No. 6 team in the nation.
Just five minutes into Tuesday evening’s game, sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Leahy was already pulling the ball out of her own net for a fourth time. As the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team peered out to the Gainesville scoreboard, they saw an early three-goal deficit.
It may have seemed like the team was en route to another long night, unable to compete with its SEC foes. In previous seasons, the team has shown dominance in the America East, but failed to ever win against one of the nation’s elite, nary a single victory over a top-ten team in program history.
Things would be different this time. The Seawolves showcased that they can not only compete with the nation’s best but beat the nation’s best, defeating the Gators 12-11 on Tuesday night.
For the remainder of the first half, Joe Spallina’s defense demonstrated their brilliance, stifling all Florida attacks with the utmost discipline. Stony Brook committed just three fouls in the half, and led the Gators 8-6 in ground balls.
Offensively, the Seawolves excelled in transition, turning Gator turnovers into goals at the other end. When freshman Kylie Ohlmiller snapped home a goal just 16 seconds before the intermission, Stony Brook was on a 4-0 run and took a 5-4 lead at the horn, silencing the Gator faithful.
In the second half, both teams were able to find some more offense. Stony Brook opened up a 9-6 lead with 17:15 remaining after another Ohlmiller score. From there, it seemed as if ever time the Gators started to rally, the Seawolves had an answer. Florida cut the lead to 10-9, 11-10 and 12-11, but was never able to find the equalizer.
Senior Amber Kupres took a charge for Stony Brook with 59 seconds left to play, and the team was able to stall the next minute to advance to 6-0, having completed the most impressive win in school history.
St. Patrick’s Day is known for many things: wearing green, Irish parades and adults getting sozzled during the daytime, but for the members of this lacrosse team, it will be a day remembered as when they defeated a sixth-ranked team, on the road, to collect a signature win to put themselves on the map nationally.
Ohlmiller had five goals and added an assist to lead all scorers for the Seawolves. Sophomore Courtney Murphy also had a hat trick for Stony Brook and senior Michelle Rubino had two goals, one assist and six draw controls.
The Gators had three goals each from Mollie Stevens, Nora Barry and Devon Schneider, as the team fell to 6-4 on the season.
Conference play begins for Stony Brook this Saturday, as the Seawolves will play on the road against the New Hampshire. The Wildcats have a 3-5 record and have not beaten the Seawolves since 2011.