TOWSON, Md. — It was a sight that any Long Island lacrosse fan who watched Kylie Ohlmiller during her historic career at Stony Brook was quite familiar with.
Ohlmiller streaked through the Scotland defense Friday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, cutting in from the right wing toward the middle. From goal line extended, Sam Apuzzo fed and hit Ohlmiller in stride.
What happened next is what earned the title of “BTB Queen” on the U.S. women’s national team Twitter account. Ohlmiller received the pass at her body, took a few steps and left the ground off her left foot. She whipped the head of her stick over her left shoulder and behind her head as she soared through the air from right to left, perfectly tucking the ball over the left shoulder of Scotland’s goalie.
Ohlmiller scored three times, as did her Stony Brook counterpart Ally Kennedy, in a 20-1 win for the U.S. in the second game of Pool A play. Now 2-0, the U.S. plays Australia on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
“I keep saying the word ‘surreal,’ but it’s really cool,” Ohlmiller said. “We’ve both played in this stadium before, but it’s nothing like this. Getting to just be here and wearing this jersey, surrounded by this group and knowing that it took at least five years to get here, it’s really cool.”
Ohlmiller helped lift Stony Brook to national prominence during her career with the Seawolves from 2015-18, and Kennedy (2017-21) helped sustain it after she left. With their college head coach Joe Spallina as a sideline as an assistant for the U.S. team, they showed that coming from small towns on Long Island and playing for a mid-major can lead to the sport’s biggest stage.
It wasn’t too long ago that Kennedy was a dreamer, standing in the same shoes as the young girls who now fawn over their heroes on the national team.
“It’s amazing that these girls know my name,” Kennedy said. “They know what I look like. They know all of us. They know our stat lines and where we’re from. They wear our jerseys. Being able to be the idols for them is something that will problem sink in in 10 years.”
Kennedy scored twice in the first half — both on free position chances — and Ohlmiller did all of her damage in the second quarter. She scored three straight U.S. tallies, taking a 9-1 lead and making it 12-1 in the span of six-plus minutes.
Kennedy added her third with 7:19 left in the third quarter off a feed from Kayla Treanor, making the score 17-1.
Even in a lopsided affair, the cheers grew louder during the night hours. Originally scheduled for 8 p.m., weather pushed the start time to 9:30. The delay did little to effect the size of the crowd — a sign of the game’s growth and the steadfast support of the team.
“We’re surrounded by women who have done that at all of their respective programs,” Ohlmiller said of how the U.S. team is helping to elevate women’s lacrosse. “They’ve raised the bar with the people around them. When we get to come together as one, it’s just this work of art.”
The difference is that many of Ohlmiller and Kennedy’s peers come from traditional NCAA powerhouses like Maryland and North Carolina. Not them. They’re repping Long Island.
“Just representing the program we came from, that means a lot to us,” Ohlmiller said.