In coach Joe Spallina’s own words, Sunday’s win over Albany was far from a thing of beauty.
But the result was the same for the top-ranked and undefeated Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team. The Seawolves overcame their first two-goal deficit of the season to defeat the Great Danes, 22-14, at LaValle Stadium and capture their sixth straight America East championship.
Taryn Ohlmiller energized the offense with a career-high seven assists and a pair of goals. Kylie Ohlmiller had seven goals and an assist, and Courtney Murphy had five goals and an assist as SBU (19-0) earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
“I don’t mince words,” Spallina said. “I don’t think it was a thing of beauty from us, but I did like the way we dealt with adversity, being down a couple early . . . Probably one of the worst games we played all year. That said, we scored 22 goals and played pretty good offense.”
The Seawolves’ offense started slowly because Albany (9-9) locked off the dodge of Kylie Ohlmiller. Spallina then switched Taryn Ohlmiller into the feeder’s role. This change, which Spallina is comfortable making, helped the offense go on a 12-2 run to erase a 7-6 deficit.
Keri McCarthy’s goal with 4:21 left in the first half gave Stony Brook the lead for good at 8-7.
“They were locking off Kylie’s dodge, so that was our cue to put Kylie in the middle and have her cut,” Taryn Ohlmiller said. “If you lock off her dodge, we just use her a different way.”
The work of McCarthy, Samantha DiSalvo and Ally Kennedy on the draw were keys to the big run. With such a potent offense, all Stony Brook needs is possession to get going.
“I definitely feel like those draw controls gave us momentum and more confidence going into the second half,” said Kennedy, who tied with Di Salvo for a team-high six draw controls.
Although Stony Brook tallied its season high in goals, it also allowed a season high. Kendra Harbinger (five goals), Emma Powlin (four) and Wantagh’s Madison Conway (three) cut through the Stony Brook zone, and Spallina said that will be addressed during practice.
“Winning a conference championship is not an easy thing, even with our complete dominance all year,” he said. “Albany was game today. Tip my cap to them. I think they competed real ly hard.”
Murphy and Brooke Gubitosi are redshirt seniors who now have five America East titles. They’ve experienced only one AE defeat in five years, an overtime loss to Vermont as freshmen. Spallina repeatedly has praised their leadership.
“I think to have that dominance in conference is something that’s really special,” Murphy said. “That doesn’t come by too often. But that was just our first step in our big vision.”