When you try to catch two chickens at once, you catch none.
That’s been Stony Brook women’s lacrosse coach Joe Spallina’s mantra this week in practice. And no, it’s not because the Seawolves are preparing for a trip to the farm.
They’re prepping for a trip to Boston for a date with Boston College in the first round of the NCAA tournament at 2 p.m. on Friday. If the Seawolves advance, they’ll play No. 4 Syracuse on Sunday. But Spallina doesn’t want his players to get ahead of themselves.
“We have to catch the first chicken, and that’s B.C.,” he said. “We have to win our first game.”
It came as a bit of a shock to see Boston College hosting a Stony Brook team that has won 14 in a row after a 2-3 start. The Eagles finished 10-8, seventh out of eight ACC teams.
Perhaps the selection committee cited the strength of the ACC compared with the America East as reason enough for Stony Brook to go on the road.
Spallina thinks that will drive his team this weekend.
“We’re going to play with a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “That’s made us who we are. This group has something to prove.”
Stony Brook’s overwhelming depth puts them in a favorable position. Courtney Murphy leads the nation with 95 goals.
Dorrien Van Dyke is second on the team and 16th in the nation with 52 goals. She has blossomed this season into a dynamic playmaker.
“I became a two-way midfielder this year,” Van Dyke said. “I definitely play a bigger role in the defense this year, and that helps me in transition. When I start running, there aren’t many people who can keep up with me and my stride.”
Kylie Ohlmiller, Kristin Yevoli, Alyssa Guido, Kasey Mitchell and Samantha DiSalvo all provide punch as well.
Defensively, Van Dyke, Alyssa Fleming, and Maegan Meritz lead the way for the nation’s second-best scoring defense, which allowed 5.89 goals per contest.
Three Long Islanders roam the field for the Eagles, as West Babylon’s Sam Apuzzo, Babylon’s Kaileen Hart and Shoreham’s Lauren Daly have made contributions this season.
Both teams have the firepower to defeat Syracuse, making this an important litmus test heading into Sunday.
But the Seawolves aren’t chasing two chickens.
Said Murphy: “All of our focus is on B.C.”