It is hard to imagine that the Stony Brook Seawolves (11-3) would have a second half offensive outburst after the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (9-7) limited them to two goals in the first 30 minutes, but they showed a sense of resiliency that has been present all season.
A goal by Johns Hopkins sophomore attacker CeCe Finney put Stony Brook down 5-1 with 4:55 remaining in the first half.
Stony Brook Head Coach Joe Spallina gave a motivational speech with his team down 5-2 at the half. It worked, as Stony Brook completed the comeback and won the game 10-7 on Sunday afternoon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
“Every season, we talk about having a defining moment, and this was our defining moment,” Spallina said. “I told [the team], ‘We will come back and win this game. It’s going to take a little extra effort now that we’ve dug ourselves a hole. I’m swinging at Hopkins in the second half, and I need everybody else to be swinging with me.’”
Stony Brook swung and scored six unanswered goals that started with junior attacker Courtney Murphy with 1:29 left in the first half. The ended after her second goal of the game less than five minutes into the second.
Stony Brook sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller tied the game and gave her team its first lead just 1:49 apart in the second half. Her second goal was another potential SportsCenter highlight.
Ohlmiller took a pass from junior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke and shoveled the ball past junior goalkeeper Caroline Federico with her back to the net while she was falling.
“It’s something that me and [Murphy] do a lot in practice,” Ohlmiller said. “The defenders who are on us complain about it because we hit them a lot, and the goalies, we hit them too, and they’re like, ‘You’re never going to do that in a game.’”
Ohlmiller put her practice to good use, and Stony Brook never relinquished the lead after her goal made it 6-5.
“[Ohlmiller’s goal] was ridiculous,” Spallina said. “I’m around the professional game, and that’s one of, if not the best, goal I’ve seen scored.”
Van Dyke and Murphy both scored hat tricks for the Seawolves. Murphy added to her America East Conference-leading 65 goals, and Van Dyke now has 33. Ohlmiller’s two goals and one assist in Sunday’s game gives her 35 goals and 30 assists on the year. The trio scored eight of Stony Brook’s 10 goals against Johns Hopkins.
Stony Brook got off to a rough start from the get-go, however. The Blue Jays scored the first three goals of the game and controlled the draws throughout the first half hour.
“We took their best punch,” Spallina said. “We got smacked in the mouth, we were bleeding.”
Stony Brook answered the bell in the second half and found success thanks to ball possession that stemmed from draw control. Van Dyke had six draw controls and four ground balls, which contributed to her and the team generating offense.
“[Van Dyke] flies under the radar because she’s adjusted her role to be a two-way midfielder, but we’re not anywhere near the team we’ve been without her,” Spallina said. “She’s been incredible the whole year.”
Freshman midfielder Kasey Mitchell was an unsung heroine in the victory, as she scored a free position goal with 17:39 remaining that gave the Seawolves an 8-6 lead, which turned out to be the game-winning goal. She also had three draw controls, which were instrumental in the victory.
“Draw control is what gets us the ball to score goals, so it’s the most important thing,” Mitchell, who earned the team’s nuts and bolts hardhat following the game, said. “If you can get the draw control, you can pretty much control the game.”
A factor in the Seawolves slow start was fatigue, because they had another game the day prior. They beat New Hampshire 11-4 on Saturday afternoon.
“We were tired, and a lot of that’s on me,” Spallina said. “I’ve got to do a better job in the future scheduling. It was 100 percent on me at halftime so that’s why I took a little extra oomph to make sure I fired them up.”
Stony Brook will be better rested for its next game on Wednesday night at Binghamton (4-10).