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Stony Brook women win seventh straight conference title to earn NCAA Tournament berth

Stony Brook players bring it in after defeating

Stony Brook players bring it in after defeating Albany, 21-7, in the America East Championship game at LaValle Stadium on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Stony Brook women’s lacrosse coach Joe Spallina isn’t one to mince his words.

After the Seawolves captured their seventh straight America East conference championship with a 21-7 win over Albany at LaValle Stadium on Saturday, Spallina wasn’t concerned about who Stony Brook would play next in the NCAA Tournament. He’s ready for whatever team that is.

“Honestly, we don’t care,” Spallina said. “I don’t do anything quiet. We want to go in, we want to kick doors down, make some noise. We have a special group. This is the best. Right now, these guys winning [the America East] is the best.”

No. 17 Stony Brook, which has won its last 11 games, earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament with the win Saturday. The 28-team bracket will be revealed Sunday at 8 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Stony Brook (15-4) left little doubt Saturday about who was the class of America East. After Albany’s Madison Conway scored to cut the Seawolves’ lead to 5-4 with 17:47 remaining in the first half, Ally Kennedy responded less than 30 seconds later with her second of six goals, sparking a 16-3 run over the remainder of the game.

“It was more about settling down and playing our own game because in championship games, there are nerves and excitement and we just have to get through that first minute,” said Kennedy, who had six goals and an assist. “Make that first mistake, make those plays to settle us in and get that lead and go on that run that put us up.”

And with Kennedy leading the way, Spallina doesn’t see a reason why the Seawolves can’t go on a deep tournament run.

“Ally is the best player in the country and in my opinion, there’s a gap behind her,” Spallina said. “She’s the best. She does everything. She drives the bus. She’s a special kid and a special player.”

After graduating the top two point scorers in program history in Kylie Ohlmiller and Courtney Murphy from last year’s team which lost to Boston College, 12-11, in the quarterfinals, Spallina said the team has played “with a chip” throughout the season.

“We had to come back from last year after losing a bunch of great goal scorers, we had to come back and prove ourselves,” said Taryn Ohlmiller, who is Kylie’s sister and had five goals and an assist Saturday. “People didn’t think we could do this, so I think that’s what makes this so special.”

“This is a group playing with house money, we’re going to push all our chips in and we’re going to go on a run,” Spallina said. “We’re going to try to get to that Final Four. When you have [Kennedy and Ohlmiller], it’s ‘Why not us?’ Show me better attackmen, show me better midfielders and show me those two on the same team, and we have that.”

New York Sports