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Stony Brook women reach America East lacrosse final vs. Albany

Stony Brook midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke and midfielder

Stony Brook midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke and midfielder Samantha DiSalvo celebrate a goal against New Hampshire in an America East women's lacrosse semifinal at LaValle Stadium on Friday, May 5, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

On a team with plenty of star power, it’s players like Samantha DiSalvo who tend to fly under the radar.

A two-way midfielder who excels defensively, the junior is often a secondary threat on offense to the likes of Kylie and Taryn Ohlmiller and Dorrien Van Dyke.

But DiSalvo has learned to take advantage of opportunities, and in No. 4 Stony Brook’s 20-3 win over visiting New Hampshire in the America East women’s lacrosse semifinals Friday night, she matched a career-high with four goals and set a career-high with four assists.

DiSalvo was held scoreless during a four-game stretch between March 24 and April 2, but in the seven games since, she’s scored 18 times.

“As a midfielder, my first duty is defense,” she said. “So, yeah, I had a stretch where I didn’t score goals, but our defense was able to have lockdown defense so they didn’t need me scoring goals . . . We have just so many threats on our offense.”

That potent offense will host Albany for the conference title at noon on Sunday. Albany beat UMBC in the other semifinal, 14-13. Stony Brook beat Albany 18-11 in the regular season and 10-9 in last season’s tournament championship. It is the sixth straight trip to the final for Stony Brook (17-1).

Each of DiSalvo’s four goals came in the first half, two in a 5-0 opening run and two more in a 8-0 run to end the half. Stony Brook led 13-1 at the break and its lead ballooned to 19-1 before New Hampshire’s Carly Wooters converted a free position with 10:25 left in the game.

That snapped a scoring drought of 40:06 for New Hampshire (3-14).

“This time of the year, you have to play defense,” said coach Joe Spallina, who picked up his 100th career win in just 119 games at Stony Brook after being named the America East Coach of the Year on Friday. “If you don’t play defense, it’s very difficult to be a successful postseason team playing shootouts every game.”

In a shootout, Stony Brook has the weapons to be successful. Kylie Ohlmiller had one goal and a single-game conference tournament record seven assists, putting her 10 points away from tying Jen Adams’ single-season points record of 148, which she set in 2001 at Maryland.

She has 74 assists, tied for second in a single season with Jill Remenapp (Denver, 2013). She said the points record isn’t weighing on her mind.

“It’s not in my head at all before a game,” she said. “The only thing that’s in my head is ‘take what they give you,’ like coach says, and ‘make sure someone on our team is putting the ball in the back of the net.’ ”

That’s this team’s specialty. With so much offense, a multitude of players get involved every game thanks to unselfish passing. Taryn Ohlmiller and Van Dyke each had three goals. Ally Kennedy, Kristin Yevoli and Tiffany Zullo each chipped in two. Twelve of the Seawolves’ 20 goals were assisted.

“The plan for us is to just take the best shot, not the first shot,” Spallina said.

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