On a rainy afternoon in College Park, Maryland — just days after beating James Madison in overtime — the Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse team’s season came to an end on Sunday, May 12 with a 17-8 loss to the No. 1-seeded Maryland Terrapins.
The Seawolves made the game interesting early on. In an offensive display fans have been accustomed to all year, the team scored four straight goals in the game’s opening minutes.
Senior midfielder Sabrina Tabasso put Stony Brook on the board first, driving past two defenders and firing the ball past Maryland senior goalie Megan Taylor. In the next 90 seconds, senior attacker Sara Moeller, junior attacker Taryn Ohlmiller and sophomore midfielder Siobhan Rafferty all added goals.
The Terrapins slowly crept back into the game, down 6-5 with a little under 17 minutes left in the first half. The game was looking like it would turn out to be another classic back-and-forth affair.
With 15:29 left on the game clock, Ohlmiller backed down a defender, turned and scored what would have been her second goal on the game, but it was immediately disallowed. Ohlmiller made contact with a defender on her follow through and was awarded a yellow card. Less than a minute later, Maryland tied the game at six.
With momentum on their side, the Terrapins took full control. They ended the first half on a 7-0 run and dominated play in the second half, outscoring Stony Brook 6-2. Stony Brook Head Coach Joe Spallina was quick to give Maryland praise for their performance.
“Congratulations to Maryland. They are the gold standard in our sport,” Spallina said in a press release. “They are an incredible team and you’re not going to beat an incredible team unless you have a complete effort across the board.”
Still, Stony Brook’s loss will not put a damper on an otherwise historic season. The Seawolves overcame a tough start to the season — and the doubters that came with it — to win their seventh-straight America East championship, defeated the defending champions in their first-round NCAA tournament game and finished the season 16-5 with wins over four ranked teams.
“People from the outside didn’t believe in this group. And I get it, when you graduate [NCAA all-time points leader] Kylie Ohlmiller, [NCAA single-season goals leader Courtney] Murphy … and all the goals and assists, people [will] worry if you have the talent,” Spallina said of the team’s detractors after beating Albany 21-7 in the America East championship, but he was firm in his reply. “We have the talent and we have the players, they just had to find their roles.”
Junior Midfielder Ally Kennedy stepped up into a bigger leadership role. The back-to-back America East Midfielder of the Year and Tewaaraton Award nominee finished the season with 84 goals, the fifth-most in program history.
Spallina also pointed out the contributions of the team’s seniors were crucial to Stony Brook’s dominance. “I want to thank our seniors. They are the heart and soul of our program and they’ve been through everything with us,” Spallina said.
Senior midfielder Mackenzie Burns and senior goalkeeper Anna Tesoriero were named Defensive Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively, and Burns’ 68 caused turnovers over her career were the seventh-most in program history. Senior midfielder Keri McCarthy finished her collegiate career as Stony Brook’s all-time leader in draw controls with 387.
With the loss on Sunday and the impending loss of eight seniors to graduation this spring, Spallina summarized his thoughts on the season in a tweet: “Not the ending we wanted but NEVER been more proud of a @StonyBrookWLAX team! Everyone counted this team out except for themselves! They stayed the course battled, trusted and persevered!”