Stony Brook The Road to a National Championship

Stony Brook Women's Lacrosse

Road to a National Championship 2018

Digital Media Sports by Leigh Ernst Friestedt

May 15, 2018

Stony Brook Women's Lacrosse - LaValle Stadium

The Seawolves are on a Mission

Stony Brook’s mission to win a national championship began six years ago when Joe Spallina took over as Head Coach in 2012. Under his leadership, the program has developed into a powerhouse for women’s lacrosse with both Kylie Ohlmiller and Courtney Murphy breaking NCAA records on attack. In 2017 the Seawolves were 20-2, losing only to Florida in the regular season and Maryland by a goal in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

This year, Stony Brook is the only undefeated team in Division I Women’s Lacrosse with a perfect 20-0 record. Despite this unprecedented success, the NCAA Selection Committee seeded Stony Brook #5 for the NCAA Tournament. Although the lacrosse world does not fully appreciate Stony Brook’s success, the Seawolves believe in themselves and they are on a mission to make their first Final Four appearance and win their first National Championship at home.

Prove People Wrong

Joe Spallina - Head Coach

Joe Spallina has done an outstanding job turning around the Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse program and leading the team to an undefeated 2018 season and #1 national ranking. Despite their perfect record, Stony Brook was only seeded #5 for the NCAA Tournament. Strength of schedule was a key factor, but underneath this decision is an undercurrent that Stony Brook did not receive the credit they deserve. Underdog status is nothing new for the Seawolves, who fight to prove themselves every time they take the field. Like any other challenge, Stony Brook will take this head on - determined to “Prove People Wrong” and win their first NCAA title.

2017 NCAA Quarter Finals

Maryland (13) - Stony Brook (12)

2017 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Quarterfinals - #17 Kylie Ohlmiller (Stony Brook) vs #14 Nadine Hadnagy (Maryland)

In the 2017 NCAA Quarterfinals, Stony Brook and Maryland went head-to-head in College Park. A shocking number of 58 fouls were called against Stony Brook compared to 15 fouls against Maryland, which played a role in the outcome. Stony Brook came up short by a goal, but took the loss proudly, heads high, with the knowledge that they almost upset the #1 team in the country and determined to come back in 2018 to set the record straight.

2017 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Quarterfinals - Maryland (13) vs Stony Brook (12)

Rematch in the Making

Ultimately, Maryland went on to win the 2017 NCAA Championship and Stony Brook went home. But the Seawolves knew that the 2018 Final Four would be played on their home field. Now, if Maryland and Stony Brook can make it through their Quarterfinal games, they will meet in the Semifinals on Stony Brook’s turf, which would be an outstanding game.

2017 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Quarterfinals - #11 Caroline Steele (Maryland) vs #1 Carolyn Carrera (Stony Brook)

Welcome to LaValle Stadium

LaValle Stadium - Stony Brook

Regardless of the seeding, Stony Brook and their fans “believe” that they can win a national title, and they have the full support of the University to realize this dream. The Seawolves have the talent, coaching and determination to rewrite the record books and win a national title at home.

Stony Brook is supported by thousands of dedicated fans who come to their games weekly during the regular season, and the University’s band plays from the stands for big games. Because the overwhelming majority of the team grew up on Long Island, there really is a home field advantage. Younger girls who aspire to be the next Kylie Ohlmiller wear her jersey to the games, high-five the Seawolves as they run out of the tunnel onto the field before games, scrimmage during halftime and wait in line after games to get the Stony Brook players’ signatures.

LaValle Stadium - Stony Brook band at Stony Brook vs Johns Hopkins Women's Lacrosse

Stony Brook University is a model of excellence supporting women’s athletics, and it is an integral part of this team’s success. The Athletic Director, Shawn Heilbron, stands on the sidelines with his family to support Spallina and the team. When Courtney Murphy broke the NCAA records for most career goals (290+), Stony Brook President, Samuel Stanley, joined Spallina and Heilbron on the sidelines to congratulate Murphy and cheer the team on to a 15-7 win over Johns Hopkins in front of over 3,000 fans. This level of commitment by the University has helped Stony Brook realize their full potential and is a major factor in this team’s success.

Courtney Murphy - NCAA Career Goals Leader (290+) - Athletic Director, President Stony Brook

Road to a National Championship

2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament - #17 Kylie Ohlmiller (Stony Brook) vs #3 Katy Junior (Penn)

Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter where you are seeded – to be a national champion – you need to win every game. The landscape of top 2018 Women’s Lacrosse teams is very impressive. Maryland, North Carolina and Boston College are all outstanding teams. JMU is having a break out year of its own, earning the #3 seed for the NCAA Tournament and believes they can win the national title.

Boston College will build on their success in 2017, when they reached the NCAA Finals against Maryland, but they will be without Kenzie Kent who has decided to redshirt the 2018 season. For both Maryland and Boston College, meeting Stony Brook could mean a premature ending to their own outstanding seasons and dreams for being the 2018 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Champions.

Created By
Leigh Ernst Friestedt


Leigh Ernst Friestedt © Equity IX - SportsOgram