The strategy against the Seawolves on Saturday was to . . . well, how to put this nicely?
“Say the word! You can say it!” Stony Brook women’s lacrosse coach Joe Spallina said. “They stalled. A game like today is the reason why the rules are changed.”
Latest college sports stories
Yes, the hold-the-ball stalling tactic will be outlawed next season when Division I women’s lacrosse institutes a 90-second shot clock. And the “if you can’t stop ’em, stall ’em” game plan only delayed the inevitable as Stony Brook defeated New Hampshire, 11-4, at LaValle Stadium.
“We’re used to it,” said Courtney Murphy, the nation’s leading goal-scorer. “But it’s still very frustrating.”
What’s frustrating for opposing teams, though, is trying to contain Murphy, Kylie Ohlmiller, Dorrien Van Dyke and the high-powered Seawolves attack. So it’s almost understandable why they believe their best defense is to run in circles on offense.
The Seawolves (10-3, 4-0, ranked No. 7 by Inside Lacrosse) managed just a 4-2 halftime lead after New Hampshire (6-8, 3-1) dominated time of possession by winning draw controls and moving the ball around the field for minutes on end while rarely attacking the goal.
“It’s smart on their part,” Spallina said. “Because if they tried to come out and play us, it wouldn’t have went well for them. When we got the ball, it ended up in their goal rather quickly.”
Murphy scored 3:35 into the second half off an assist from Keri McCarthy for a 5-2 lead. New Hampshire’s Nicole Grote responded with a goal 3:08 later. Murphy then charged from behind the cage and scored to spark a 6-0 run for Stony Brook.
Ohlmiller, who capped the run by scoring 10 seconds after a goal by Murphy for an 11-3 lead, had three goals and two assists. Kristin Yevoli had a goal, an assist, two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
To overcome the slow pace, Yevoli said the Seawolves had to “play defense from the inside out, talk and communicate, clear the ball efficiently, and we definitely had to run the ball to avoid the stalling.”
Murphy had four goals, bringing her season total to 62. Yet she’s conspicuously missing from the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, honoring the country’s best college lacrosse player.
“I think it’s a joke,” Spallina said. “I think it’s embarrassing to a prestigious award . . . For the No. 1 scorer in the country who is on a top 10 team, it’s embarrassing.”
Spallina attributed Murphy’s increased production to her developing from strictly a catch-and-finish player to a versatile playmaker capable of scoring in a multitude of ways.
“Working on my dodging and being able to create for myself,” Murphy said, “I think that’s what’s putting me over the edge this year and making me so successful this season.”
Despite the stalling.