After their dramatic win over No. 4 Syracuse last week, the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team returned home to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium with a 20-7 beatdown of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Their second straight win, the Seawolves are on a roll as their season is just getting started.
It only took two minutes for freshman midfielder Charlotte Verhulst’s first career goal to kick off the Seawolves’ offensive showcase. When Ohio State finally scored on a free position 16 minutes in, after having gone 0-for-3 on their previous free position, the Seawolves had already scored eight points. Half of those came from junior midfielder Sarah Pulis alone. By halftime, senior midfielder Ally Kennedy and freshman attacker Kailyn Hart also had hat tricks while junior midfielder Jesse Arline had added the first of her two goals on the day to help make the score 12-3.
The Buckeyes, for much of the game, were unable to get any sort of set offense going. The Seawolves’ help defense was overwhelming. It took until less than three minutes left in the first half for the Buckeyes to score a non-free position goal.
Ohio State came out of the half a different team as they opened the half with a goal from freshman midfielder Caly O’Brien and put defensive pressure on the offense. But it was Arline’s second goal that kept the Seawolves’ momentum alive. From there, the two teams would trade blows, but the damage was already done. In the end, the Seawolves had 10 different players score goals (including three players with four goals), 13 goals coming off assists (four of which came by way of freshman attacker Kira Accettella) and three freshmen scoring their first-ever goals as well.
“Some of the girls that come off the side, they don’t have a drop off,” Pulis said of the number of goal scorers for the game in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “It doesn’t matter if you are a starter or if you come off the sidelines, Coach [Spallina] expects the same thing from them as he does from the starters and they know that and it shows when we have 10 different goal scorers.”
“This was a test for our team,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “We’re so young, so to be able to handle success is something you want to see on your team. We jumped out and I thought we played a good first half to be up the way we were. I’m proud of our kids to get a big win, to be 2-0 and to get a win at home.”
Moments after the team got to the locker room, they were informed that the Florida Gators, their next opponent, had just beaten Maryland, ranked No. 1 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll. The Terrapins had sent the Seawolves home in the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago. However, this isn’t the same Stony Brook team that lost to Maryland last year, and this team feels they can beat Florida.
“I think that we can beat them,” Hart said. “I think we are up for anything and that the depth of this team is unstoppable.”
Pulis was eager to agree. “It makes us even more hungry with how we ended last season, losing to Maryland,” she said. “Them losing to Florida, now we want to beat them even more.”
“They’re a physical team,” Spallina said of the team’s next opponent. “They’re a man-to-man team. They’ve given us problems in the past. But it’s a great opportunity for our team. We’ll use every bit of the next two weeks to first improve ourselves and then prepare more game plans for Florida.”
The Seawolves will have two weeks to prepare for their date with the Gators in Gainesville on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 12 p.m. before returning home for a two-game stretch against Towson and Princeton.