The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team wanted to prove the doubters wrong after being selected as the No. 5 seed for the NCAA tournament. The team felt that it was underseeded despite blowing out every ranked team it played this season, outscoring its eight ranked opponents 128-64.
The team’s Sunday game against No. 14 Penn was no exception.
“Today was the byproduct of us having the best week of practice we’ve had all year,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “That allowed us to completely refocus ourselves and get back to doing what we needed to do. Defense is the staple of our program and it always has been. For us, it was about getting back to being the best version of our Stony Brook defense, and I thought we did that today.”
The Seawolves used their defensive prowess to bolster their offense, holding the Quakers to two first-half goals en route to an 18-5 blowout at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
Penn came off a thrilling first-round overtime victory over Penn State on Friday, May 11, so the team was riding on a lot of emotional momentum. The Quakers were confident coming in, albeit knowing the Seawolves’ record.
“We played a great game Friday night and Stony Brook is a fantastic team,” head coach Karin Corbett said. “They’re a great team and as I’ve said before, I think they should’ve been a higher seed. I’ve never seen them live, but they’re impressive.”
Stony Brook came out on fire, opening the game with a 7-0 run. Three of the goals came from the stick of redshirt-senior attacker Courtney Murphy, who ended the game with six goals and three assists, good for nine points.
Not only did Murphy contribute on the offensive, she made herself present in areas of the field you wouldn’t commonly find her. She recorded a ground ball and forced a turnover while a Penn player was attempting to clear, her forced turnover resulting in a Stony Brook goal.
“We know what’s on the line with these games, and one play can really make a difference,” Murphy said. “It being my fifth year, I just want to make as much of an impact as I can.”
Senior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller also brought a strong performance to the team. The Tewaaraton finalist ended the game with five goals and two assists. She believes that her team can always improve on offense, despite scoring 18 goals and earning a running clock.
“I think there’s always stepping stones you can build on our offense each week,” Ohlmiller said. “I think we have seen 20 different defenses, so that goes into what we see each time. We take different things from each, and we’re looking forward to this week and getting better from it.”
Stony Brook will travel to Newton, Massachusetts to face Boston College for the quarterfinals. The team may not be at full strength, however, as sophomore attacker Taryn Ohlmiller left the game against Penn with what Spallina called a “lower-body injury.” It is unclear as to how severe the injury is, but she was icing her knee on the sideline minutes after medical personnel helped her off the field.
That does not hinder Spallina’s confidence for the quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. at Newton Campus Lacrosse & Soccer Field. He ended his post-game press conference with a promise.
“If you’re going to write our story, it would not be that Stony Brook’s going to be home the whole playoffs,” Spallina said. “There’s going to be some kind of adversity. We’re going to go to B.C., but we’ll be back here in two weeks, sitting in the same seats, happy again.”