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Women’s lacrosse takes big home match against Notre Dame

CHRISTOPHER CAMERON / THE STATESMAN
The women’s lacrosse team came away with a win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Seawolves’ next matchup is their season’s first away game against Jacksonville on Mar. 15  CHRISTOPHER CAMERON / THE STATESMAN

On paper, the Stony Brook Seawolves and Notre Dame Fighting Irish lacrosse match was going to be a tight one. Both teams came into the Tuesday-night affair ranked in the top 20 in the country and after 30 minutes it was close, as Stony Brook held a 2-1 lead.

“We went into the locker room and realized how close the game was and how important the game was and everything just clicked,” freshman Kylie Ohlmiller said.

The West Islip, N.Y. native then took control, scoring two of the next three goals and assisting on the other, helping the Seawolves go on a 4-0 early second half run to take control. Joe Spallina’s squad then kept its distance the rest of the way, defeating the Fighting Irish 9-5 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

“We talked about needing that signature win as a team and taking that step,” the fourth-year Head Coach said. “This was a move in that direction.”

It was Taylor Ranftle and Amber Kupres who got Stony Brook on the board in the first half. Ranftle was given free position just under three minutes into the matchup and she took advantage, running in and slotting it into the bottom of the net to give the Seawolves the early 1-0 lead.

Kupres then added her tally when Jessica Volpe found her in wide open space about 20 yards from the goal, and she was able to run in and score on Notre Dame goalie Liz O’Sullivan to double Stony Brook’s lead.

The Irish were able to strike on a free position goal by Casey Pearsall to make it 2-1 Stony Brook.

It was a great half in net for Kaitlyn Leahy, as the sophomore goalie made six of her nine saves on the night in the first 30 minutes.

“Our defense was lights out,” Spallina said.

In the second half, Ohlmiller tallied all six of her points, including her 10th, 11th, and 12th assists of the season, a team-high.

After the first four goals of the half by Stony Brook, the two teams split the next four goals, keeping the Seawolves lead at five. Notre Dame would break the split trend when Grace Muller and Heidi Annaheim doubled up, dropping the Seawolves lead to three with 4:31 to play in regulation.

“They would score a goal and everybody would be like ‘here comes Notre Dame,’” Spallina said. “But boom, we would score right back.”

It was Ranftle adding her third of the game and of the season on the man-up opportunity with 2:33 to play to give the Seawolves their final lead of 9-5.

“I would equate a win like this to my first year when we beat Johns Hopkins,” Spallina said about his team’s big victory.

His team also felt thrilled after the big victory, as they stormed the field when the final whistle blew to mob their sophomore goalie.

“We have some big games coming up and the fact that we just won this one helps our confidence,” Ohlmiller said.

One problem for the Seawolves this season is the draw controls, and they won the battle in the circle against one of the nation’s best, outdrawing Notre Dame 9-7.

They will look to make it five wins in a row on Sunday afternoon in their first road test of the season, taking on the Jacksonville Dolphins at 1 p.m..

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