Slow starts seem to have become a theme for the No. 8 Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse team this season. Against Vermont last weekend, the team trailed 6-2. Against Yale last month, the Seawolves went down 5-3 early. At USC? 12-5.
Not only did head coach Joe Spallina’s team buck the trend on Wednesday night — it had one of the fastest starts in conference history. The Seawolves netted 10 goals in the first 8:47 of the game and went on to blow out UMBC, 17-5, in its sixth consecutive victory.
“We put a lot of emphasis on [having a fast start] in practice,” junior attacker Courtney Murphy said. “Vermont was a good game the second half, but we want to play a full 60 minutes, and we want that to be consistent.”
From the opening draw, Stony Brook dominated.
In what seemed like an instant, sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller scored a highlight bounce goal between the opposing goalkeeper’s legs to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Minutes later, junior midfielder Kristin Yevoli put the Seawolves up 5-0 on a free-position shot attempt. The clock read 26:22 to go in the first half, and the Retrievers had still not had possession in their offensive zone.
A few more minutes had passed when Murphy took a pass from senior attacker Taylor Ranftle and scored her fourth goal of the game to give Stony Brook a 10-0 advantage in the ninth minute. In NCAA women’s lacrosse, the clock begins to “run” after a team takes a 10-goal lead in the game, meaning it does not stop for goals, fouls and other stoppages. This mercy rule rarely takes effect so early in the game.
“It’s nice to build a huge lead, because the other team could come back on a run,” Murphy said. “The offense looks a lot nicer when you’re up. Everything’s loose, nothing’s forced. It’s fun to play when you’re up like that because it’s like playing in the backyard again.”
Murphy had a career night for the Seawolves, scoring eight goals and two assists. Murphy broke the team record for most goals in an America East game, while her ten points tied the team’s conference play record.
The junior, who now has 49 goals this season, was pulled from the game immediately following her final goal, with 19:45 remaining in the game, which left her one goal shy of tying former attacker Demmianne Cook’s single-game record. Cook scored nine goals in a game for Stony Brook in 2012.
“[Spallina] did that my freshman year too, he hates me,” Murphy joked. “He doesn’t want me to break the record.”
Ohlmiller added seven points — giving her 29 points in her last four games — including four goals. Junior attacker Dorrien Van Dyke netted a pair of goals and an assist. Van Dyke is the only Seawolf to score in every game this season.
Stony Brook used a strong performance in the draw to open its large lead early. The Seawolves, led by freshman midfielder Keri Mitchell, secured 13 of 17 draw controls in the first half. Mitchell had eight draw controls in the game, the most in her career.
Stony Brook returns to action at noon on Saturday, when it plays against UMass Lowell, a school whose women’s lacrosse team is in just its second season of existence, on the road. The Seawolves defeated the River Hawks last season, 22-1, with a 20-0 lead at halftime.
“It has nothing to do with Lowell. It has everything to do with Stony Brook,” Spallina said of his next opponent. “If we were playing [No. 1] Maryland, I’d want the same thing. We have to go out and continue to play with unparalleled energy.”