Midway into the first half of the America East Women’s Lacrosse Semifinals between Stony Brook and New Hampshire, members of the Albany team made their way into empty bleachers at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Great Danes sat there, watching their future competition, departing shortly before the half to get ready for their eventual 8 p.m. semifinal victory against UMBC.
“I think they wanted to come watch a great lacrosse team play, so they got a chance to come watch us play,” Stony Brook head coach Joe Spallina said dryly after the game, carefully choosing his words before bursting into laughter. “I appreciate them being there to support us.”
And watch a good team they did.
In Spallina’s 100th victory since he arrived at Stony Brook in 2012, the Seawolves scored 20 goals on 24 shots. The 20-3 win was the Seawolves’ 25th straight in conference play and twelfth straight on the season. They will face off against Albany, who beat UMBC 14-13, on Sunday in the America East Championship.
Stony Brook dominated defensively to the point where New Hampshire players appeared scared to shoot, logging two shot clock violations in the game. The Wildcats took nine shots the whole game, hitting the back of the net only three times. At one point, the Seawolves held their opponent scoreless for 40 minutes and six seconds.
“This time of the year, you gotta play defense,” Spallina said. “It’s very difficult to be a successful postseason team winning shootouts every game.”
On the offensive front, junior midfielder Samantha DiSalvo ran up and down the field filling up the statsheet. She posted career-highs in assists (4) and points (8), while tying her career-high in goals (4).
“Shooters shoot,” Spallina said. “Obviously, a big part of that comes with her lunch pail mentality, how hard she works, but…her lacrosse IQ is off the charts.”
While the New Hampshire defense was porous, they did manage one accomplishment that has alluded most of Stony Brook’s opponents this year: stopping junior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller. Sort of.
Face-guarding Ohlmiller the entire game limited her to a single goal – her 64th of the season – but she still connected on seven assists, an America East playoff record. Her 74 assists this season are tied for second-most in a single season in NCAA Division I history. The current record is 83, set by Northwestern’s Hannah Nielson in 2009. She is also now only 10 points shy of 148, the NCAA single-season points record.
“The plan for us is to just take the best shot, not the first shot,” Spallina said. “At one point, I pulled her aside and I said ‘Don’t even worry about scoring, finish the game with as many assists as you can get. Take the play that’s there.’”
Senior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke and the younger Ohlmiller sister, freshman attacker Taryn Ohlmiller, each contributed three goals. Freshman midfielder Ally Kennedy, senior midfielder Kristin Yevoli and junior midfielder Tiffany Zullo added two apiece. Three other Seawolves scored once, including freshman attacker Erica Shea, whose goal with six minutes left was the first of her career.
The Seawolves next take the field Sunday at noon, competing in the America East Championship against the Great Danes at LaValle Stadium. Seeding for the NCAA tournament will be announced Monday. If Stony Brook gets one of the top six spots they will get a first-round bye and play again next Sunday. If they get a seed lower than six they will play in the first round on Friday at LaValle Stadium.
Tim Oakes contributed reporting for this story.