(EFAL SAYED / THE STATESMAN)
The Stony Brook women’s soccer team was shutout six times during its 2014 season. (EFAL SAYED / THE STATESMAN)

During the 2013 season, Stony Brook women’s soccer put at least one goal on the scoreboard in every one of its America East games.

So, looking back at this past season in which the Seawolves were shutout during conference play three out of eight times out on the pitch, it is fair to say that Stony Brook’s offense kept the Seawolves from repeating their strong co-America East regular season America East Championship from 2013.

One of the basic principles of soccer is that to win the game, one team must in some way, shape or form put the ball past the opposing goalkeeper into the net.

Not doing so inhibits the team’s ability to earn points in the standings, as the very best a team that does not score can accomplish is tie.

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Thus, averaging one goal per game on the year was not conducive to a winning season.

After 34 halves of soccer, along with five extra periods, including two double overtime games, the Seawolves finished 2014 after a depleting shutout loss against Hartford with a 5-10-2 overall record, both ties coming in America East play.

They also finished just 2-4-2 in America East conference play.

The loss in the final game of the season was the difference between making postseason play and finishing in a disappointing seventh place in the America East.

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If Stony Brook were to pull off a comeback, which seemed like a reality as redshirt sophomore Raven Edwards clanked a shot off of the bar in the waning minutes of the team’s final game, the Seawolves would have finished with 11 points in the standings.

That would have placed the Seawolves above Binghamton, the sixth-place team in the conference, due to head-to-head record.

It was not meant to be, however, as the Seawolves’ final goalless game of the year was the dagger in their season.

It is unfair to the Seawolves to make it seem like they did not score, thus they were a bad team, not qualifying for the America East Championships, the conference’s playoffs, because of their lack of offensive productivity. That is just not true.

The team played well in certain facets of the game, and with a lot of youth on its side, now has a great deal of experience moving forward.

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Looking at conference play, the Seawolves excelled on the defensive side of things, ceding only 1.1 goals per game against their America East rivals.

Considering the team gave up at least three goals on four separate occasions during non-conference play, the quick turnaround to keeping opposing teams off of the scoreboard significantly more was a major plus.

Although the Seawolves will lose four seniors or redshirt seniors next season, including their goalkeeper, a large portion of the team’s core is young and will be around for coach Sue Ryan to build a winning contender out of.

2013 America East Goalkeeper of the Year Ashley Castanio, who made 89 saves this season, leaves Stony Brook after helping the Seawolves to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, and to nearly the same fate last season.

Returning, however, is Edwards, a forward, along with fellow forward Maddie Good, who will only be a sophomore come the 2015 season.

The duo accounted for seven goals over the course of the season, which amounts to nearly half of Stony Brook’s total of 17 on the year.

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Also coming back will be Tessa Devereaux, who will be a senior when next season arrives.

The midfielder was a significant contributor all season long, as she not only led the team in shots by leaps and bounds with 40, scoring two goals in the process, but she had seven important assists.

Redshirt junior Regan Bosnyak and sophomore Leah Yurko, who both will be returning next season as well, were keys for the Seawolves. The duo each contributed two goals of their own.

It may take a while for Stony Brook to overcome the disappointment of the season.

But some of the best teams in sports history struggled before maturing into strong teams.

With much of the team returning, a load of experience under their belts, next season could be the year in which Ryan not only leads her team back to the playoffs, but contention once again.

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