Seawolves prepare for 9th-straight America East playoff appearance

Courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

It’s another part of the season that the women’s lacrosse team has been accustomed to since 2013: hosting the America East Women’s Lacrosse Tournament at LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook.

For the 8th season in a row, the Stony Brook Seawolves are the regular-season champions of the America East after clinching the top seed in the conference with a 22-4 win at New Hampshire last Wednesday. This victory happened 4 days after the Seawolves returned from a 3-week hiatus by sweeping the UAlbany Great Danes 17-10 and 3 days before they ended the regular season with an 18-7 victory on Senior Day hosting UMBC.

Earlier today, the America East announced their annual postseason awards as three Seawolves were named. Attacker Taryn Ohlmiller and Midfielder Ally Kennedy were named Player of the Year to their respective positions, while Rayna Sabella was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with Clancy Rhuede of UAlbany. Ohlmiller finished the regular season with 72 points and 37 assists, the most in the America East, and is coming off a career-high 8 goals against UMBC this past Saturday. Ally Kennedy won Midfielder of the Year for the third time in her career after finishing the regular season as the conference leader in goals/game and 2nd in points/game.

After adjusting to more time playing defensive to fill in for the absence of teammate Haley Dillon, Rayna Sabella helped the team allow only 8 goals/game, top-5 in the nation, along with being in the league’s top-10 in caused turnovers during conference play and helping the team to finish 2nd in caused turnovers per game as she keeps the trend of Seawolves winning Defensive Player of the Year since 2014 going.

The Seawolves have been dominant since 2013 in winning the America East Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, including their recent America East Playoff appearance in 2019 when the Seawolves defeated UMBC 17-5 in the semifinals and UAlbany in the championship round 21-7, giving them eight-straight America East titles and 9-straight America East playoff and title game appearances.

They are most likely going down that path in this season’s America East Tournament as they will face off with the UMBC Retrievers in the semifinal round for the second time in a row after coming off a regular-season sweep of the Retrievers, first at UMBC 15-8 on March 5 and then recently on May Day and Senior Day at LaValle Stadium 18-7 despite a 14-save performance by senior goalkeeper Lexi Roberts.

Should the Seawolves capture their 8th-straight America East title, it will only be a matter of the highest seeding they will be anticipating on Sunday, May 9th when the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Selection Show will be featured on the NCAA website and will determine who will play who, starting Friday, May 14th. The highest seeding Stony Brook has ever received was a #5-seed in 2018 as part of an historic season when Stony Brook received a #1 ranking in all polls for a majority of the season, but fell in the NCAA Quarterfinals to the then #4-seed Boston College Golden Eagles.

In their recent NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019, the Seawolves, despite having a down year in the wake of the departure of star players in Kylie Ohlmiller and Courtney Murphy, the Seawolves played the first two rounds of the tournament in College Park, Maryland, defeating the reigning national champion James Madison Dukes in overtime 10-9 and falling to the then #1-seed Maryland Terrapins 17-8.

The Seawolves will get ready for another deep tournament run starting with the semifinal round of their conference tournament on Thursday at LaValle Stadium against UMBC at 3:30pm. Live coverage of the game will be on ESPN3 and over the radio on 90.1 FM WUSB Stony Brook.

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