Joe Spallina said he pressured Samantha DiSalvo, Taryn Ohlmiller and Keri McCarthy at practice the past several days, challenging them to be better.
The trio is key to the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team’s goal of making a long NCAA tournament run. Spallina’s rigorous practice resonated, as DiSalvo scored a career-high six goals, Ohlmiller had three goals and five assists and McCarthy broke her own single-season program draws record in the top-ranked Seawolves’ 21-13 win over No. 16 Penn State on Tuesday at LaValle Stadium.
“He just wanted us to work harder,” DiSalvo said. “We were just very relaxed, which is sometimes a good thing but also it can be a bad thing if you’re not playing up to your ability. He knows we can play better, and he’s going to make us play better.”
Their contributions were even more important considering Kylie Ohlmiller, the national leader in points (118), earned her second yellow card with 25:44 left. In women’s lacrosse, players who receive their second yellow card of the game are sent off. She’s eligible to play at Albany on Saturday.
She exited with the Seawolves leading 13-7. Penn State (9-7) scored shortly thereafter, but Stony Brook (16-0) ripped off seven straight and put the game out of reach at 20-8.
With the senior out, Taryn Ohlmiller stepped up, doling out all five of her assists during the 7-0 run.
“We have the No. 1 player in the country, but when she’s not in the game, we can still be the No. 1 team in the country,” she said.
McCarthy aided the second-half onslaught in the circle. She broke the previous record of 106 draws in season, which she set last year, and now has 117 this season. She had 12 in the game.
“I have to thank the people that come out with me every day and help me get better on draws,” said McCarthy, who also had a career-high three goals. “People like Kasey Mitchell, Vincenza Patrone, they all make me better because they’re critiquing me every day.”
The 13 goals were the most Stony Brook has surrendered this season, so Spallina said the defense can be better. They were bailed out by the three players Spallina focused on most leading up to the game.
“These three had a rough week of practice with me,” he said. “I just felt like they were all capable of a little bit more . . . I think at the end of the day, without these three stepping up, it’s a different ballgame.”