Originally published in The Statesman.
When Inside Lacrosse and US Lacrosse Magazine released their NCAA previews before the 2017 season, two Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse players — attacks senior Courtney Murphy and junior Kylie Ohlmiller — were blazoned on the cover, and unmistakably so.
Murphy set the NCAA single-season goals record, with 100, while Ohlmiller ranked fifth in the nation in points and was twice highlighted on ESPN’s “Top-10 Plays” for her flashy style.
But within the team, while the attention is an incredible feeling — “every little girl’s dream,” as Ohlmiller put it — it is perhaps a tinge sour that senior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke does not share the spotlight.
“Murph might have some numbers, I might have some numbers,” Ohlmiller said. “But Dorr has some numbers too… and her work between the 30s, getting the ball back for us, she really doesn’t get the respect that she deserves. If it was up to me, our whole entire team would be on the cover of the lacrosse magazines.”
Van Dyke has been a three-time America East first-team all-conference player, and entered the year ranked sixth among all active NCAA players with 144 career goals. For her to be flying under the radar, as she has, borders on the absurd.
“I think Dorr, from the outside, is an unsung hero,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “To me, she’s just a hero. I think she just does so much for us.”
The senior from Northport is listed on the roster as 6-feet-tall, the tallest player on the Seawolves roster, but she moves on the field with the grace and agility of someone several inches shorter, creating matchup problems for opposing defenses.
“When you see Dorrien running down the field, with that kind of speed and size,” Spallina said. “That’s a lot for a defense to handle… She’s one of the best midfielders in the country, no doubt in my mind.”
Van Dyke’s versatility across the field sets her apart from her offensive peers. As a two-way midfielder, she plays in all three zones of the field and can have an impact on the game in a number of ways, particularly by gaining possession of ground balls and draw controls.
“For Murph and I, our job is just to put the ball in the back of the net,” Ohlmiller said. “We only have so many things we need to do. But Dorr has to do stuff all over the field. She’s a great leader, and if she’s off in one aspect of her game, she makes up for it in all the other aspects.”
Off the field, Spallina raved about the type of person Van Dyke is: a team captain, a great student, an ambassador for Stony Brook Athletics.
“She’s the type of girl that will stop by my office, just to hang out and talk,” he said.
But on the field, she’s a physical mismatch and adept in all trades of the craft, vital to the success of her team, even if her name is not distributed on thousands of laminated headlines.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Van Dyke said of the national feature stories about her teammates. “I’m just happy that it gets Stony Brook’s name out there. That’s so important. Little girls are looking at these magazines, they see Murph and Kylie, and think, ‘I want to go to Stony Brook.’”