Five minutes remained when the ball found its way in front of senior midfielder Martieon Watson. A quick redirect with the head and the sideline exploded to meet him in celebration as the ball bounced into the corner of the net.
Watson’s header in the 85th minute put Stony Brook Men’s Soccer on top 2-1 on Saturday, Oct. 6, in a crucial America East clash on the road against the Binghamton Bearcats. The team secured the victory minutes later and took over control of first place in the America East with a 3-0 conference record.
The climactic finish stood in stark contrast to the beginning of the match, where both teams struggled to find openings. Stony Brook would not find their first shot until the 29th minute when senior midfielder Serge Gamwanya missed high. There were just three shots overall in the first half, the last coming off the foot of junior midfielder Mark Irvine in the 33rd minute. Irvine’s shot was the only one on goal in the half, as both offenses failed to generate opportunities.
Things heated up in the second half, as the Seawolves found early momentum and capitalized. Irvine found freshman midfielder Trausti Birgisson in front of the net and placed a perfect cross for Birgisson to head in for the first goal of the game. The goal was Birgisson’s first of the season, making him the seventh Seawolf to score a goal this season.
The Bearcats found their answer in the 73rd minute. Sophomore midfielder Chris Stamper crossed in a ball for sophomore midfielder Noah Luescher, and Luescher nailed a shot from the top of the box for his third goal of the season. The equalizer was scored, but the Seawolves rallied to take back the lead on Watson’s shot.
“Good overall performance tonight against a difficult opponent,” head coach Ryan Anatol said in a press release. “We knew it was going to be a physical game and I thought we defended well and showed real toughness. We moved the ball and created some good opportunities and deserved to take the lead. I thought we lost a little composure after we went up but after the equalizer, the guys responded well and regained control of the game again and found a way to get the winner.”
The Seawolves now stand alone in the America East standings with a 3-0 record and improve to 6-3-2 overall. Their road trip will conclude on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in a non-conference matchup against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have struggled this season, going winless in their last four matches, but all of their wins so far have come at home.