Seawolves overcome early deficit for 9th straight AE title game appearance

Ally Kennedy AE Semis UMBC 210506
Courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Nothing was gonna stop Joe Spallina’s L.I. squad from reaching their 9th straight America East Championship appearance after starting the game very rocky.

After all the momentum the Seawolves had this season with a perfect 8-0 conference regular-season record and an undefeated home record at 6-0, it started to look like their success, which included a 10-game winning streak and 52-game conference winning streak, would start to catch up to them after the Seawolves gave up the first four goals of the game to the #4-seed UMBC Retrievers, two of them coming from sophomore attacker Claire Bockstie. After suffering their largest deficit at home this season, Stony Brook started to regain momentum by going on a 3-goal run to trim the deficit to 1. After Lillian Begley put the Retrievers up 5-3 with 15:51 to go in the first half, the Seawolves responded again with a 4-goal run to take their first lead of the game 7-5 with 8:27 left in the first half.

After the junior goalie Kameron Halsall game up 8 goals in the first half and only captured one save, Spallina replaced her with freshman Hayley Hunt, who helped block a shot and made a big save within the last five seconds of the first half, at which point the Seawolves had an 11-8 lead.

To begin the second half, the Seawolves went on a 6-goal run to take a 17-8 lead 8:57 into the half, part of a 7-goal run that began with 46 seconds left in first half by sophomore attacker Kailyn Hart. The Retrievers put up some more goals in the second half with 5, but could not keep up with the 14 goals in the second half that eventually led to 25 goals for the Seawolves early today, the most the team has scored in program history, and made history by being the first America East team in postseason history to accumulate that many goals in a game, almost two weeks after UMBC set the America East record for most goals by a team in a regular-season game.

Ally Kennedy, the graduate midfielder and part of the Tewaaraton Award watchlist, tied a career-high 7 goals after she was announced yesterday as the 2021 America East Midfielder of the Year. She, along with graduate attacker and America East Offensive Player of the Year Taryn Ohlmiller, senior midfielder Sarah Pulis, and sophomore attacker Kailyn Hart had hat tricks, combining for 19 total goals between the 4 Seawolves.

Along with Claire Bockstie, who had a team-high 6 goals, Jenna McDermott also hit the hat trick with 3 goals after entering the playoffs with only a goal and assist overall this season. Senior goalie Lexi Roberts allowed 16 goals and picked up 9 assists in her final collegiate career of her career. Sophomore midfielder Megan Halczuk, coming off a performance on Saturday where she broke the program record for the most draw controls in a season, picked up 11 draw controls today, making her the first Retriever in program history to get at least 100 draw controls in a season. UMBC’s season ends at 6-6 overall.

Stony Brook will continue their search for their 9th straight America East Championship appearance as they will take on the #2-seed UAlbany Great Danes, who are coming off a 17-8 win over #3-seed Vermont after the semifinal game between Stony Brook and UMBC concluded an hour before the first face-off. Both the Seawolves and Great Danes have played each other for the America East title since 2012, with the Seawolves winning the last 8. First face-off begins at 1pm at LaValle Stadium with live coverage on ESPN3 and can also be heard on 90.1 FM WUSB.

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