For head coach Joe Spallina’s squad, all seems to be business as usual.
Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse enters the 2019 season as the defending America East champion for the sixth consecutive year. The Seawolves received the fifth rank nationally, despite going undefeated in regular season play and defeated No.14-ranked University of Pennsylvania 18-5 in the second round of playoffs last year. They were unable to capture the NCAA Championship after falling to No. 4 Boston College 12-11 in overtime on the road.
Following the overtime loss last season, Spallina still praised his team’s effort throughout the year and expressed his love and gratitude for the team.
“I’m proud of our kids. I’d go to battle with that group any day of the week, I love each one of them,” Spallina said. “It stings, it definitely hurts. That said, you can’t ask for more. Our defense responded well after a tough start, and I thought we were the better team after the first 10 minutes. I give a lot of credit to Boston College, they’re a great team. I love my kids, we just didn’t make enough plays today.”
Under Spallina, the team has produced 12 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-Americans, 10 Tewaaraton nominees, three Tewaaraton finalists, six conference championships, six NCAA Tournament second-round berths and two NCAA quarterfinal appearances. Under the coach’s wing, the program has established itself as one of the routinely top contenders in the nation.
This start of this season has a different feeling to it, however.
The Seawolves enter this season without attacker Kylie Ohlmiller, who graduated last spring and was a key component to the team’s success throughout the years. Ohlmiller is considered one of the greatest Women’s Lacrosse players of the generation, holding numerous all-time records including most points and most assists.
Another key player that the team has lost to graduation is attacker Courtney Murphy. Murphy was the Seawolves’ second-leading scorer with 95 goals and started in all of the 21 games for the team. Murphy has solidified her mark as one of the team’s most dynamic players alongside Ohlmiller, which has left the team in pursuit of filling the void.
Heading into the season, Stony Brook has brought in nine new freshmen, five from Suffolk County, continuing Spallina’s recruitment on the island. The nine will have a big gap to fill, replacing 10 seniors from the last year’s championship squad who have graduated.
Stony Brook enters this season with monumental expectations set, per usual. The Seawolves have disposed unrelenting punishment to the America East by winning 29 of their last 30 conference games dating back to 2012.
One of the team’s returning members, junior attacker Taryn Ohlmiller, is anticipating the start of the season in order to showcase the team’s more aggressive edge.
“We’re super excited for our first game and have been working really hard and pushing each other to be the best version of ourselves every day,” Ohlmiller said. “We have a big chip on our shoulders and are ready to prove everyone wrong this season.”
Seawolves career along with 208 points. Based on her reputation as a persistent scorer, she has asserted herself as one of the team’s key offensive threats heading into the year.
Junior midfielder Ally Kennedy, who was selected for the United States National Team alongside teammate senior midfielder Mackenzie Burns, has always been a catalyst for offensive pressure. As a freshman, she scored 39 goals and 13 assists in her first season and wrapped up her sophomore year by scoring nine more goals and 21 assists.
Returning for the team on the defensive end is the 2018 America East Goalkeeper of the Year senior Anna Tesoriero. Tesoriero earned the honor for the second consecutive year after only giving up a nationwide-leading seven goals surrendered per game. The goalkeeper enters her final season having earned the First Team All-Conference award three times and will look to capitalize off her conference-leading 49 percent save percentage.
In the Inside Lacrosse 2019 Face-Off Yearbook preseason rankings poll, Stony Brook was ranked fifth coming into the season, behind Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina and reigning national champion James Madison.
“We are all really excited to get the season going in Colorado next week. We’ve been working and competing really hard these past couple of weeks,” sophomore midfielder Siobhan Rafferty said. “We have a really fast, athletic and determined team this year. We are playing with a huge chip on our shoulder and are ready to take on the season.”
The team pursues its journey to a seventh consecutive America East championship when it heads to Colorado to take on the University of Colorado on Friday, Feb. 22 on 5 p.m., following up with a matchup two days later against the University of Denver.