The announcer started a countdown with 10 seconds remaining. The ball was hovering around the Seawolves zone, on its way to one last desperate attack. By the time the countdown reached two, the ball was in the back of the net.
Nearly 90 minutes of a grinding pace fell apart in that moment on Saturday, Sept. 1, and the Stony Brook men’s soccer team could only watch the celebration unfurl on the opposing team’s bench following the 1-0 defeat.
Freshman goalkeeper Christian Miesch played an excellent game up until that point, securing three crucial saves to keep the Seawolves in the game. On the final play, Miesch saved a shot with 20 seconds remaining, but put the ball right back in play looking to start a push. Lafayette Leopards junior forward James Gibson punished the aggressive play, took a cross to the left side of the net and got the bounce to go his way.
“He tried to make a play,” head coach Ryan Anatol said of Miesch’s gaffe. “In hindsight, you can say y’know what? There’s 20 seconds on the clock, maybe you hold onto the ball. But we want to be aggressive, and we want to be proactive, and we want to make chances. It’s a little bit of experience, it’s his third college soccer game so he will learn from that. I can’t fault the guys for being aggressive.”
Miesch also had the support of his teammates after the game.
“Mistakes happen,” senior midfielder Serge Gamwanya said. “He kept us in the game for a long time. He’s gonna learn as the games go on, how things work in college, how things can switch very quickly.”
Gamwanya discussed how despite the circumstances of the loss, the team was focused on not letting it get to them.
“It’s still too early to start looking down or seeing negativity, and let it affect us. We have a quick turnaround on Wednesday, and this is one we have to learn from. It’s gonna happen, in the future, so it’s all about how we react to the next game, the next day, and how we take care of ourselves. You can’t put your head down after a loss.”
One thing that Gamwanya and the rest of Stony Brook will be looking back on is the opportunities they had to put themselves on the board first. There were several moments where Stony Brook created an opening but couldn’t convert, particularly in the second half where they outshot Lafayette nine to four.
“We did have a bit of chances, and maybe we should have put away our chances,” Gamwanya said. “I don’t see much that we could do because we were playing very good football, getting them tired and we pinned them in, and every time they get the ball they just get it out so they can push up. We’ll look at it again.”
Anatol echoed Gamwanya’s sentiment, saying that they had to do a better job at breaking down the numbers when teams send multiple players back early to defend against their push. He admitted that it was a difficult task, but they had to create more opportunities.
“Overall I thought it was a strong performance, but we also have to get results,” Anatol said. “And sometimes it’s the things in front of the goals that get you the results.”
Stony Brook currently sits at a 1-2 record. The team continues action against Saint Joseph’s at 7 p.m on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.