A near record-setting crowd.
A battle of two Top 10 teams.
The toughest challenge yet without the program’s all-time leading scorer.
The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team was on a mission Friday night. And it didn’t take long for the Seawolves to put that on display.
“That atmosphere tonight was electric. It was special,” coach Joe Spallina said. “This was going to be our show. Nobody was stealing it tonight.”
The No. 7 Seawolves quickly backed up their coach’s words, opening a four-goal lead less than eight minutes into the game against No. 9 USC at LaValle Stadium. But USC, largely stemming from a strong second half, remained in the game throughout as the Seawolves sweated out a 9-7 victory in non-conference play in front of 2,516 — the second-largest crowd in program history.
“We thrive under those situations,” said junior attack Kylie Ohlmiller of Islip, who had three goals and two assists. “And I think that’s part of what motivates us out there.”
The Seawolves (7-1) controlled possession and utilized a balanced attack in the opening 30 minutes. Dorrien Van Dyke, Kylie Ohlmiller and Taryn Ohlmiller each had two goals as Stony Brook took an 8-5 lead into halftime.
“I think that’s huge,” said Kylie Ohlmiller, who entered the game leading the nation with 7.14 points per game. “You go up on a team like that and then they have to come back the rest of the game.”
Van Dyke, a senior from Northport, moved into sole possession of second place in program history with her first goal of the game and 159th in school history. Courtney Murphy, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL but has been granted a medical redshirt to return next season, has the program record with 246 goals.
Stony Brook’s defensive unit, led by Carolyn Carrera (Riverhead), Mackenzie Burns (Sayville), Jessica Volpe (Hauppauge) and Brooke Gubitosi (Northport) kept the high-scoring Trojans off-balance, as did goalkeeper Anna Tesoriero, who had nine saves. USC (6-3) entered the game scoring at least 15 goals in four games. But the Seawolves’ Kristin Yevoli (Massapequa) created possessions with four ground balls, four draw controls and three caused turnovers.
“I knew as long as we had possession we’d be able to get the ball in the back of the net,” Yevoli said. “I trust my teammates.”
“I think when our defense is locked in like the way they were tonight against an explosive offense like they have, we’re not fun to play against,” Spallina said. “And we play with that mantra that we don’t want to be fun to play against.”
It was the Seawolves’ first game against a ranked opponent since Murphy’s injury. But with the Seawolves opening America East play Sunday at New Hampshire, it was Stony Brook’s fourth non-conference game against a ranked opponent, and it went 3-1 in those games.
“As much as we miss [Murphy] and wish she’d be out there,” Kylie Ohlmiller said, “ . . . there’s the total confidence of our teammates out there right now.”