Christian Peraino contributed to this story.
On Saturday night, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team fell to its fourth straight opponent, dropping to 3-10-1 overall and 1-3 in conference play in a 2-1 defeat to UMass-Lowell.
The Seawolves struggled to find the back of the net offensively, a theme that has been consistent throughout the season.
“Disappointed with the results,” Seawolves head coach Ryan Anatol said. “Especially the way we started, I felt as though we started well and had command of the game and we scored a good goal and went up one and again mistakes cost us.”
Stony Brook definitely looked in command right out of the gates, pressuring the River Hawks from minute one and keeping them from crossing midfield with any ease. Just under five minutes into the contest, SBU midfielder Martin Giordano collided with Jay Marchand, and the latter was issued a yellow card. A couple of minutes later, Seawolves goalkeeper Tom McMahon came away with an incredible diving save on a UMass-Lowell header, further setting the tone for Stony Brook.
“Ball came across, read it pretty well, moved my feet,” McMahon said. “Got in a good enough position where I could make the save.”
Stony Brook finally held a tangible advantage in the 18th minute, when freshman Thibault Duval found midfielder Favio Sbarra for a 25-yard strike to the far post.
“We’ve been stressing we gotta create more chances and more opportunities and try to score more goals,” Anatol said. “The guys have been trying to push forward and Favio is one of them. Great shot from outside the box today.”
The River Hawks would not take long to respond however, scoring on a miscue by McMahon in the box in the 23rd minute.
“I called for it, it was coming out, had the trajectory and then it just goes and hits [Barnabas Mako] in the head right before it gets to me,” McMahon said. “It takes a deflection of off him away from me and all I could do was get a touch on it and then hope someone was there to clear it and unfortunately we weren’t.”
The Seawolves had a few chances to take back control before the half, but a through pass to Giordano went high, a Giordano shot from a set up by Keith McKenna was saved and McKenna was called offsides on a potential header off a cross by Alejandro Fritz.
A 1-1 draw at the half seemed imminent, until a Stony Brook foul with 43 seconds to go in the period gave UMass-Lowell a free kick, and with it the lead. Carlos Ruiz drilled a gorgeous 30-footer out of McMahon’s reach, and the River Hawks had a 2-1 lead at the break.
“We can’t give away easy goals,” Anatol said, “We gave away a couple easy goals, especially the first one, and then to give up a bad foul and a restart going into the half. That was a tough way to go into the halftime break, down 2-1.”
“Bad foul, guy got away from goal, not much I could do about that,” McMahon said. “I would have liked to make that save, but can’t get every one.”
The Seawolves sharpened their defense in the latter half, but their offense could not come through for them. A Giordano chance missed wide right, Fernando Wadskier had a couple of opportunities that failed to connect, Duval missed wide left and a pair of crosses came close to finding a Seawolf in scoring position but the goal never came.
“I felt as though we came out in the second half and we had the majority of the play and we chased the game,” Anatol said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get the equalizer.”
Giving credit where it is due, Stony Brook played this game to the very end and with vigor at the very least. Both McMahon and Danny Espinosa got into it with a River Hawk over the course of the night.
Duval was his usual physical self, barrelling into multiple defenders with little regard. In the final ten minutes, Wadskier tried to force home two shots, but they were both blocked.
UMass-Lowell would hold on for the 2-1 victory.
“This late in the season you really can’t have process victories,” McMahon said. “We created all the chances, they just took advantage of our mistakes and that’s what cost us today.”
Saturday’s loss came after the men’s soccer team fell on the road to Hartford on Wednesday night by the score of 1-0.
Hartford remained unbeaten at home, as Hawk’s defenseman Rohan Roye scored the games only goal in the 53rd minute.
He was able to beat Stony Brook defenders down the middle and buried a strong strike moments before a stepping defender could close down. The ball beat McMahon to the far post.
Stony Brook and Hartford each had a fair amount of chances, as both teams took 12 shots.
Hartford had four on target, while Stony Brook had three, tied for their second lowest amount of the season.
Redshirt freshmen Dario Vangas lead the Seawolves with three shots, while McMahon notched three saves.
Sophomore Jorge Torres bounced a free kick towards goal early on in the scoreless contest, but Hartford goaltender David MacKinnon played it well and secured the shot.
Wadskier gave the Seawolves their best chance to score by redirecting a cross. MacKinnon was able to corral the shot on the goal line.
Fritz attempted a 75th minute strike from far out, but it sailed high.
The Seawolves will be back in action this Friday when they head upstate to take on Albany.
The match in the state’s capital is set to begin at 7 p.m.
This game could be crucial to the Seawolves season, as another loss could eliminate them from an America East Tournament spot.