After their Maryland road trip, the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team returned home to Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium with a bang as the Seawolves defeated the UMass Lowell Riverhawks by a final score of 20-4 on Sunday, March 14. With 10 different goal scorers and a standout defensive front, the Seawolves thoroughly dominated on their way to the team’s 44th consecutive America East victory.
“10 different goal scorers — we need that,” head coach Joe Spallina said in a postgame press conference with The Statesman. “Everybody knows it can’t just be the ‘Taryn and Ally Show’ every time.”
After an early four-goal run, the Seawolves found themselves in a seemingly close game as the Riverhawks went on their own two-goal run partway through the first half. But graduate attacker Taryn Ohlmiller robbed whatever momentum the River Hawks may have had with a pump-fake spin move, losing her defender to score the first of what would be an eight-goal run for the Seawolves as they eventually took a 13-3 lead into the half.
The second half saw the Seawolves shift into another gear, as the team took on another eight goal run. Ohlmiller, one of two Seawolves named to the Tewaaraton watch list, led the way today with a hat trick and four assists, bringing her season total up to a staggering 18 assists. Right alongside her adding hat tricks were fellow Tewaaraton watch list member and graduate midfielder Ally Kennedy, sophomore attacker Kailyn Hart and freshman midfielder Jaden Hampel.
Kennedy performed on both ends of the ball, with two draw controls, two caused turnovers and three ground balls as well as her scoring. Hampel continued to be a stellar asset in the possession game, leading the team with six draw controls. Hart has become a reliably consistent threat for the team, flashing her highlight-play capability with another signature behind-the-back goal.
In addition to the “core scoring four,” senior midfielder Rayna Sabella and freshman midfielder Ellie Masera added two goals a piece as well. Graduate midfielder Kaeli Huff scored the opener to get the game started, seniors Sarah Pulis and Bridget Considine added goals off the bench, and sophomore midfielder Morgan Mitchell scored her first career goal. In all, 10 different players scored goals, a fact Spallina highlighted was key to the team’s growth and success.
While the offense was rolling, the defense stepped up in an even bigger way, playing in a new defensive scheme the coaches put in over the last few days. Redshirt-junior goalie Kameron Halsall rebounded from the early two goals allowed to put up a nine-save outing with an absurd 75% save percentage.
“In order to be a good lacrosse team, you need to have a good goalie,” Spallina said of Halsall. “And we’re lucky we got two, but Kameron is a difference maker when she’s dialed in.”
The four ground balls and two caused turnovers by freshman defender Clare Levy also helped the Seawolves run away with the game.
“It shows how dynamic our defensive unit is,” Halsall said postgame. “It speaks volumes to our practices. We go really hard, our offense works us pretty well. But the way that we practice is the way we play, and we had a really good two days of practice with our new defense, and it looked great today.”
The team is at a critical point in their season. After the tough losses to No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Syracuse, the time to reaffirm their place among the best in the nation is now and the Seawolves have capitalized on that in a big way with many weapons across the roster.
With upcoming home games against rivals Albany on March 20 and No. 20 Hofstra on March 25 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook will have its work cut out for them. But as Kennedy will tell you, this is a team that is still only discovering what it is fully capable of.
“It makes me really look forward to the future in late May,” Kennedy said, speaking about the girls on the team. “It makes me excited for our potential. The score was awesome today, but that’s not our full potential and we can definitely play better. And I am expecting that we will play that way come the playoffs.”