The No. 1-seeded Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team is mainly known for its offensive prowess. Senior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller and redshirt-senior attacker Courtney Murphy are both in the top 10 ranking of goals per game, and the Seawolves average the second-most goals in a game in the country, according to NCAA.com.
The focus never seems to be on the team’s defense, and it should be.
“I think it’s pretty evident the kind of offense we have,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “Defensively, we’re really starting to get it. Everyone is getting on the same page. We really worked on getting back to our style and not tweaking things to fit what other teams are doing.”
The Seawolves stuck to that defensive game plan and nearly shut out the Vermont Catamounts 20-2 Friday night at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Vermont scored both of its goals from free-position shots, but they were unable to find the back of the net in any other capacity.
Stony Brook conceded two goals in the span of four minutes, with redshirt-senior attacker Alex Bernier finding the back of the net for Vermont’s second goal of the night with 14:14 remaining in the first half. The Seawolves led 9-2 at that point of the contest and shut out the Catamounts for the remainder of the game.
“We really focused on how to get better on our own game, and I think having the focus be on us and being the best Stony Brook team we could be showcased tonight,” redshirt-senior defender Brooke Gubitosi said. “Being 2-0 in conference is great, and it’s just another step closer to where we want to be.”
Spallina moved some players around early in the second half, with the team already leading 15-2 at the break. He put Gubitosi on offense and she scored the first goal of her career 10 minutes into the second half.
“Honestly, that was something I was definitely not expecting to do,” Gubitosi said. “It was pretty cool to have the opportunity to get some shots and have one of them ending up going in. I felt pretty lucky to have that opportunity.”
Spallina could not have been more proud of his defender.
“She wouldn’t stop shooting. She didn’t even know what to do when she scored, she ran off the field,” Spallina said. “Most of our defenders can play offense in most places. I was happy for her. She’s a senior and you only have so many home games left in your career. Brooke is one of the main pillars of this program, so for her to score a goal means so much for her.”
The Seawolves put up 20 goals for the third time this season, largely due to the efforts of junior midfielder Keri McCarthy. She won 16 faceoffs, a new career-high and a program record for the junior.
“It was more of focusing on myself,” McCarthy said after her performance. “I didn’t really focus on the person I was going up against. I love self-drawing and that’s what I’m best at. So I just focus on that and if I know that’s what working on the draw, that’s just what I do.”
This was the second straight America East contest the Seawolves won by double digits, with their prior victory being a road win against UMass Lowell 20-7. Spallina was able to take out the starters early enough in the game to play freshmen and other members of the team, and he did just that Friday night.
“It’s a sign of maturity, the way we came out and dominated,” Spallina said. “The best days are ahead for this group. It was great for the second-straight contest to play our entire team, and for some younger players to get some great experience.”
Stony Brook will be at home for its next game, facing off against No. 23 Cornell at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3 at LaValle Stadium.