Last week, the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team heated up in Florida to take down the No. 6 Gators before heading to the snowy setting of their America East opener at New Hampshire, where the Seawolves maintained their perfect record for the season.
Yet, instead of bringing the cold back to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium where the Seawolves may have fallen off a bit against a Rutgers team that had nothing to lose, Stony Brook fired off one of their best all-around performances in a 16-4 win.
“One of the things I keep telling them is ‘block the noise’,” Head Coach Joe Spallina said after the comprehensive victory. “I don’t want to hear about us being in the top ten. That doesn’t really mean anything. The only number that matters is where you are at the end of the season. Our goal is to just keep playing great lacrosse.”
At the moment at least, the No. 12/8 Seawolves are doing just that, showing a complete effort all around the field, from an offense that has developed into a more cohesively dynamic threat as the season has come along, while the defense has been the dominant force that it has always been on Long Island.
Perhaps the most telling statistic of all was that Rutgers, a team that averages 8.6 goals per game, only managed eight shots against the always-stingy Stony Brook defense. Letdowns come from teams letting their guards down, but the Seawolves did anything but relax.
“We have to respect our opponents and I think that comes from the mindset of us, as coaches,” Spallina said, adding that if anything, beating a great team like the Gators only makes the squad work harder. “The practice after the Florida game was our toughest practice of the year just because we won’t allow them to look forward.”
Sophomore attacker Courtney Murphy looked straight at Rutgers and scored more goals than the entire team combined, netting six while dishing one off to classmate Dorrien Van Dyke in the win.
Murphy, who led freshmen from across the country last season in goals scored, has set a torrid pace once again, adding to her 27-goal total for the year. That is made even more impressive by the depth of the Seawolves offense, with the already-dangerous Van Dyke, senior Michelle Rubino, along with newcomers Kylie Ohlmiller and Taylor Ranftle.
“I think it was just my teammates, they always find me when I’m open,” Murphy said, not taking much credit for her own performance as the team continues to mow its path through a tough schedule. “We’re taking it one game at a time. We’re focusing on us.”
Spallina himself would not have said it any other way.
“We’re worried about Oregon,” he said about Saturday’s game against the Ducks. “That’s it. Next week is next week.”
Spallina and staff will not let the Seawolves get ahead of themselves and show any vulnerability whatsoever.
“One slip up, you prove everybody right,” he said. “Right now we just want to prove everybody wrong.”