The greatest season in Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse history continued last weekend with the program’s fifth straight America East title. Stony Brook’s win against Albany on Sunday was the team’s thirteenth straight.
“I would be shocked, and you should probably follow my Twitter feed if we’re not hosting this weekend,” head coach Joe Spallina said last Sunday.
Between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., the selection show on NCAA.com revealed seeding for the upcoming Division I tournament, which will run from May 12 through May 27. The selection committee – a rotating six-member body of administrators and coaches – placed Stony Brook at the eight seed.
Spallina was not wrong – Stony Brook was set to host Byrant on Friday, and barring an upset, the team will play either Northwestern or Albany in the second round this upcoming Sunday.
Still, he was not pleased with the seeding.
Selection comitee TAKE A LAP Hahah let's go!!!!!! @StonyBrookWLAX show you an 8
— Joe Spallina (@JoeSpallina) May 8, 2017
The NCAA released a statement on why the bracket was constructed the way it was at 10:40 p.m..
“The committee was aware of the public universities impacted by statewide travel bans,” the statement read. “All selection, seeding, and bracketing principles were followed, including the ability to move seeds across and up and down seed lines.”
On March 28, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 155: Prohibiting State Funded or State Sponsored Travel to North Carolina. The order was in response to North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill” or House Bill 2, which restricted use of bathrooms based on the sex listed on an individual’s birth certificate.
Had Stony Brook ranked seventh, as the committee reportedly planned, they would likely face UNC in round three. The committee was concerned that Stony Brook coaches and staff – state employees – would face legal complications if they were to travel to Chapel Hill.
For now, the Seawolves are left wondering why they were not placed higher than seventh in the first place. They are sixth in the nation in RPI, a strength of schedule calculation and are 8-1 against tournament teams this season.
“The committee has an extremely difficult task of selecting and seeding the teams,” Heilbron said. “Our goal remains to win a national championship, and our sole focus right now is on Friday’s game against Bryant.”
After practice on Wednesday, the players toed a similar line.
“We’re definitely focusing on Bryant like every game we’ve played this year. It’s a faceless opponent,” senior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke said. “We gotta win won to earn one. Win Bryant, to earn one Sunday.”
Does a likely matchup against No. 1-ranked Maryland loom?
“To get past the second round, you have to win the first round,” Van Dyke said. Stony Brook has exited the NCAA tournament in the second round four straight years.
Stony Brook and Bryant will face off at 4:30 p.m. on Friday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Another first round matchup, Northwestern vs. Albany, will follow with a scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m.. The winners will play Sunday at noon. Tickets to all games are free for students with a Stony Brook ID.
The Seawolves and the Bulldogs last faced off on Feb. 18, at LaValle Stadium, for the home opener. Stony Brook defeated Bryant 20-5 after junior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller scored a season-high seven goals to go with 12 points and five assists.
Ohlmiller was named one of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award by the University Club of Washington DC on Thursday. The lacrosse equivalent of the Heisman Trophy recognizes each year’s most outstanding men and women’s lacrosse player. Heading into Friday, Ohlmiller needs four points to tie the all-time NCAA DI single-season.
Since February, the Bulldogs have put together a solid season, posting an overall record of 13-4 and going undefeated in conference play in the Northeast Conference. They enter Friday’s game boasting a nine-game winning streak.
“It was three months ago,” Spallina said. “We certainly have changed. The last time we played them we had Murphy. We didn’t have Brooke [Gubitosi], so we were missing players.”
No. 15 Northwestern and Albany have not played yet this season. The 10-9 Wildcats have had a rough season, logging a 3-8 record against ranked opponents, including a 13-5 loss to Stony Brook.
If Albany ended up facing Stony Brook in the second round, it would be the third time this season the teams played each other and the second time in the last week. The first time, on April 2, the game ended in an 18-11 Seawolves victory. The second time, last Sunday, ended in a 14-12 Seawolves victory. Stony Brook has won 10 straight against their SUNY rival.
If Stony Brook advances, Ohlmiller is on track to break another record. The junior is nine assists short of tying the single-season assist record. The current record, 83, was reached in 23 games in 2009 by Northwestern’s Hannah Nielsen while Kylie is on track to break it in 21. Nielsen is a first-year assistant coach with Northwestern and will be on the sideline this weekend.
Whoever emerges from this weekend will play the winner of Maryland’s second round game against either Towson or High Point, depending on which team wins the first round game on Friday. If either Towson or High Point manage to upset Maryland, Stony Brook will host the third round next weekend. If Maryland wins, the Seawolves will travel to College Park.
No matter the path, Stony Brook is ready.
“Whoever comes in here,” Spallina said. “They’re going to climb into a cage match with a team that’s built for fighting in a cage.”