Stony Brook women’s lacrosse coach Joe Spallina told his team recently to watch as every opponent would be trying to give its “best punch” against the Seawolves.
He also added how important it would be the way Stony Brook reacted to those punches.
But it was some amazing shots (and goals) from senior attack Kylie Ohlmiller that delivered the knockout blow against a pesky No. 13 Towson on Saturday.
Ohlmiller had seven goals and one assist for the game — and five of the Seawolves’ last six goals — as Stony Brook earned a hard-fought, 13-8, non-conference win against the Tigers before a crowd of 1,267 at LaValle Stadium on Saturday night.
“Jeff Boals, the men’s basketball coach here [and former assistant coach at Ohio State for seven years, including when they were the No. 1 team in the country] gave me a great piece of advice,” Spallina said. “He told me, ‘Whatever we watched on film [from an opponent], we got a completely different version of that team. We got everyone’s best punch.’ ”
It didn’t seem that would be the case early for the No. 1 team in the country, as Stony Brook (7-0) led by as many as five goals and held a comfortable 6-2 lead at halftime.
But Towson (5-2) rallied and scored five of the first six goals of the second half and knotted the score at 7 with 13:25 left.
“At 7-7 with all that pressure we started to make some plays and 17 [the number that Kylie Ohlmiller dons] took over the game,” Spallina said. “She kind of relaxed a little bit and scored.”
Indeed she did. Sophomore attack Taryn Ohlmiller (2 goals, 2 assists) fed her older sister, who hit the back of the net to help Stony Brook retake the lead, 8-7.
However, Towson’s Kaitlyn Montalbano scored unassisted 50 seconds later to tie the score at 8-all. Montalbano, a former standout at St. John the Baptist, had two goals and two assists for the Tigers.
Then, Kylie Ohlmiller went back to work. The senior attack (who tied a career-high in goals for a game) tallied from the free position at the 10:31 mark. After an unassisted goal by North Babylon product Ally Kennedy with 9:32 left, Ohlmiller scored off an assist from Kennedy with 3:41 remaining, and added two more goals in the final 2:33 to end any chances for a Towson upset. (Interestingly, Towson is about 20 miles away from UMBC, which registered an upset for the ages in men’s basketball Friday.)
“Our leadership started to emerge,” Spallina said. “I’m not sure people realize that these guys deal with a lot of pressure being the No. 1 team in the country and having to live up that billing.”
Courtney Murphy also added two goals for Stony Brook, which played its first home game since Feb. 25, after three straight road contests.
The Seawolves have been dominant at LaValle Stadium over the last seven seasons, posting a 61-5 record (a .924 winning percentage) since the start of the 2012 season, and have now won 24-straight home games.
Spallina realizes he has other, not as well-known players, who are starting to produce for the Seawolves. He cited Keri McCarthy, who won seven draw controls in the game, and Kennedy, who added two goals and two assists. Still, it came back to an incredible second-half performance from Kylie Ohlmiller on Saturday.
“We have so many different places to attack and so many different threats,” Ohlmiller said. “We just take what the other team gives us.”
And then delivers a knockout punch of its own.