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NCAA lacrosse: Stony Brook women face No. 1 Maryland

Stony Brook attacker Kylie Ohlmiller controls the ball

Stony Brook attacker Kylie Ohlmiller controls the ball behind the net against Northwestern in the second round of the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship at LaValle Stadium on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team is no longer seething about its No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Seawolves, like they’ve done all season, are focused on the next opponent, the next obstacle in their way to winning a national championship.

Unfortunately for them, their seeding makes the road to the Final Four at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, much more challenging. In their way at noon Saturday is Maryland, the consensus No. 1 team and the top seed in the tournament.

Making its first appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals, Stony Brook has won 15 straight games in compiling a 20-1 record.

Kylie Ohlmiller, a Tewaaraton finalist, already has broken the NCAA single-season points record and needs one assist to tie the single-season assists record.

A potent offense (16.29 goals per game, No. 3 in the nation) and stifling defense (7.00 goals allowed per game, No. 1) make the Seawolves formidable on both ends of the field. Their scoring margin (9.29 goals per game) is also tops in the nation.

The host Terrapins (20-0) will present the Seawolves with a challenge, as their offense (17.05 goals per game, No. 1) constantly peppers the cage with shots. At 35.8 shots per game (26.7 on goal), the Terps are an offensive powerhouse.

The key for Stony Brook will be how its defense, led by Brooke Gubitosi and Jessica Volpe, responds to a potential onslaught of shots. The last time the Seawolves faced a similar offense, on March 11 against Florida, they allowed 22 goals and lost.

Despite this, Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina is confident.

“For us, all the pressure is on the big dogs,” he said after Sunday’s 13-9 win against Northwestern in the second round. “They have all the bells, all the whistles, and we’re the No. 8 seed. We’re not an ACC school, not a Big Ten school. We’re just going to go in there, and we’re going to play Stony Brook lacrosse for 60 minutes.”

Stony Brook lacrosse thrives on sound defense turning into fast points in transition. Ohlmiller is an excellent feeder and her sister, Taryn, is an efficient shooter. Sam DiSalvo, Kristin Yevoli, Dorrien Van Dyke and Ally Kennedy are valuable two-way midfielders.

Maryland counters with Farmingdale’s Nadine Hadnagy and Zoe Stukenberg, both Tewaaraton finalists. Hadnagy is one of the country’s best defenders, while Stukenberg is second on her team with 71 points.

“We’re going to pull up our sleeves, and we’re going to go after the No. 1 team in the country,” Spallina said.

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