It may be fair to say that the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team played its worst game of the season Sunday afternoon against Albany. The Seawolves allowed a season-high 14 goals to the Great Danes and trailed for a majority of the first half, a situation the team has not been in this season.
Head coach Joe Spallina, however, was not worried about his team.
“I trust our kids,” Spallina said. “We are a team that can beat you in different ways. We play a team-based offense predicated on quick decisions, attacking hard and moving the ball forward. We talk about being triple threats all the time; dodge, shoot or pass. They can do that.”
The Seawolves used an 11-2 run that spanned through the end of the first half and midway through the second half to launch themselves ahead of the Great Danes and went on to win their sixth straight America East Championship by a 22-14 final score at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
“I’m really proud of our team, winning a conference championship is not an easy thing,” Spallina said. “Albany was on its game today, so I tip my cap to them, I thought they competed well. Our leadership had to step up and emerge, and I’m really excited for our seniors. This was another great day for our program, and it gets us one step closer to our overall goal.”
Stony Brook was not playing its best lacrosse throughout the first 25 minutes of the contest and Albany led 7-6 with 6:19 remaining in the first half. The offense was lethargic and they weren’t scoring as often as they usually do. It took about seven minutes for the Seawolves to score their first goal, while the team typically scores within the opening minute of the game.
“We played zone, and they were dodging the zone,” Spallina said. “I can tell you it’s something we’re going to fix this week.”
Sophomore attacker Taryn Ohlmiller had a career day, stepping up when the team was not playing well. She had two goals and a career-high seven assists, tying her career-high with nine points.
She took advantage of her team’s struggles, moving to play behind the cage where her sister, senior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller, usually plays during the game. Taryn Ohlmiller thrived in the position, as did Kylie, who scored a team-high seven goals and recorded one assist.
“They were blocking off Kylie [Ohlmiller’s] dodge, so that was our cue to put her in the middle and have her cut,” Taryn Ohlmiller said. “If you lock up her dodge, you put her in the middle and use her in different ways.”
Redshirt-senior attacker Courtney Murphy netted five goals and had one assist in her fifth straight America East Championship game. Very few athletic programs have players with four conference championships to their credit in four seasons played, but Murphy is a rare athlete, having won her fifth conference trophy Sunday.
“I think to have that dominance in conference is something special,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t come around too often, but that was just our first step in our big vision.”
The team achieved a feat which has never been accomplished in the history of Stony Brook Athletics. Not only did the team go undefeated in the regular season and the conference playoffs, but they are the only undefeated Stony Brook Division I team in both men’s and women’s lacrosse program history.
Kylie Ohlmiller gave one final sales pitch to the selection committee after Sunday’s victory.
“I think we’ve done everything we can in our conference and out of conference,” Kylie Ohlmiller said. “We have the number one RPI in the country. Not our conference, the country. It’s something we don’t have much control over at this point, but I think we are excited to see who we play next weekend.”
The NCAA selection committee will announce the seeding for the Women’s Lacrosse NCAA Tournament on May 6 at 9:30 p.m. The committee has been unpredictable when seeding Stony Brook in recent history, specifically last season. Spallina gave a warning to the committee, saying that they deserved the number one overall seed in the tournament.
“Here’s what I tell these guys,” Spallina said, referring to his players. “If you don’t deserve it, you don’t get it. But if you deserve it, you get it. We deserve it. We should be number one tonight. There is nothing that they can tell us that will justify us not being number one. I don’t want to talk to anybody afterwards about it, because whoever they put in front of us, you’re going to get an angry group.”