On Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse’s Senior Night, as she has done time after time this season, it was junior attacker Courtney Murphy that stole the show.
Murphy netted eight goals, leading her team to a 16-5 thrashing of Hofstra, the team’s 11th victory in a row, on Friday night at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
After leading its Long Island rivals 7-4 at halftime, a familiar theme unfolded. Stony Brook exploded with offense in the second half, tallying nine unanswered goals to put the game far out of reach.
The Seawolves controlled eight of 12 draws in the second half, sparking their run.
“It was all draw controls,” Murphy said of the second-half surge. “Same story, new day. [Freshman midfielder] Kasey Mitchell, [junior midfielder] Dorr[ien Van Dyke], [junior midfielder Kristin] Yevoli, they were all killing it in the circle. … We were able to come out in the second half, put a punch to them and kill their will.”
Van Dyke scored five goals, while junior attacker Alyssa Guido added two.
Sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller wowed the crowd with her patented behind-the-back shot early in the second half.
But for many, the game will be remembered for the senior class.
The six seniors — attackers Taylor Ranftle and Shannon Coleman, midfielder Lauren Schwalje and defenders Maegan Meritz, Alyssa Fleming and Kelsey Hart — all partook in a pregame ceremony beside their families and were present in the starting lineup for the Seawolves.
“The way we’ve elevated our program is a direct reflection of them,” Spallina said. “Early in the seasons, we had losses, we had injuries, things could have unraveled. But the seniors held things together, helped us get healthy, evolve, get rolling a little bit.”
After the contest when Hofstra had left the field, the team huddled at midfield, watching the stadium video board play a photo reel of the seniors, the winningest class in Stony Brook history.
The class was especially stout on defense, as Fleming and Meritz led a unit that has been atop the nation in scoring defense each of the last three seasons.
“They’re lock-down, they’re incredible,” Spallina said. “They know the system, they have strong personalities. … We have a real chance to make a significant run here at the end of the season, and I want it so badly for them.”
Murphy, who now has 81 goals this season, is quickly approaching some significant numbers: 90, the Stony Brook single-season goal record; 98, the NCAA record; and 100, a mark that has never been reached in Division-I lacrosse history.
With the Seawolves likely to make the NCAA Tournament, the team could have four or more games remaining this season, putting all of the goal totals in reach. But when the prolific goal scorer steps between the lines on game day, she is not thinking about the numbers.
“I have them on my mind, but definitely not on the field,” Murphy said. “When I’m on the field, I’m just trying to make the best play possible to help my team win.”
Attention now turns toward Albany, where the Seawolves will face the Great Danes on Saturday in the regular season finale. The winner of the game will host the America East Tournament on May 6 and May 8.
“I think they’re going to try to slow things down,” Spallina said. “If they try to run with us, I think you’re going to see a score that doesn’t benefit them.”