With 10:52 remaining in the first half, Yale sophomore midfielder Lily Smith buried a free-position shot, putting her team up 5-3 against No. 8 Stony Brook as the Bulldogs sought an upset to stun the women’s lacrosse community.
From there, Stony Brook went on a 10-2 run, as junior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke and junior attacker Courtney Murphy keyed an explosive Seawolves offense, scoring five goals each. After a slow start, Stony Brook defeated Yale 13-7 on Tuesday night at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
“They took us a little bit out of our game [in the first half],” Stony Brook head coach Joe Spallina said. “We scored ten seconds into the game. I think sometimes, while it’s a good thing to get a lead like that, it also can lower your focus, thinking it’s going to be that easy the whole way.”
Some of the early difficulties may be attributed to Stony Brook having only one day of rest after Sunday’s one-goal loss to No. 3 Florida.
“I think it’s tough to play having off just one game between games,” Van Dyke said. “Like, I know I’m so sore the day after a game. We had to get our bodies ready to play today and I think that was maybe some of the cause of the slow start.”
At halftime, Stony Brook made a change in the cage. Junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Leahy replaced freshman goalkeeper Anna Tesoriero, who allowed five goals on five shot attempts in the first half.
“Anna was struggling a little bit,” Spallina said. “They were high-percentage looks, so they weren’t all on her. We just decided to go with a different look in the second half. Leahy’s been practicing really well. She was the starter last year, so it’s not like we worry about putting her in. She went in, made saves and gave our defense some energy. That was a big part of our second-half turnaround.”
Leahy’s presence paid dividends immediately for the Seawolves, as she made three critical second-half saves, including two stops in quick succession on a free-position shot and a rebound shot attempt with about 20 minutes to play.
Van Dyke’s final goal of the night, netted off a free-position try with 11:37 left in the second half, marked the 100th goal of her career. She became the ninth player in Stony Brook history to reach the milestone.
“I knew I was close, but I didn’t know exactly how far I was away [from her 100th goal],” Van Dyke said. “When I went up after the game and saw my dad in the stands, he told me I got my 100th goal, which is pretty cool.”
Sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller had three assists for Stony Brook, while senior attacker Taylor Ranftle added three goals. Ranftle, Murphy and Van Dyke were the only players to net goals in the contest for the Seawolves.
“We’re not the type of team that has only three different goal-scorers,” Spallina said. “That can’t happen for us.”
Stony Brook played in the absence of two of its midfielders, junior Kristin Yevoli and freshman Kasey Mitchell, each missing their second straight game.
According to Spallina, Yevoli practiced on Tuesday morning, doing some stick-handling drills after suffering an ankle injury last week. Mitchell, who is out after having an appendectomy last week, will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
The team is hopeful that both players will return to the lineup when Stony Brook heads westward on a road trip where the Seawolves will play three games in five days. On Saturday, the team plays at No. 13 Northwestern before heading to California for games against No. 11 USC and San Diego State on March 14 and March 16, respectively.
“Our defense will be tested in those games,” Spallina said. “Our schedule is set up so that we have several of these two games in three days spans, which is also the setup of the America East Championships in May. It’s all to prepare us for that.”