Despite dominating large portions of play and holding a large lead in shot attempts, the Stony Brook women’s soccer team was defeated 2-0 by the visiting Sacred Heart Pioneers in Sunday’s matinee at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, dropping the Seawolves to 0-2 on the season.
“I think we came out a little slower than we did on Friday night [against St. John’s],” junior defender Priscilla Wiggins said. “It took us a while to get into the game, and after that we were playing catch up.”
Early in the game it was the Pioneers getting the better of the match’s chances. Freshman forward Melanie DaSilva found twine with an 11th-minute goal off of a cross from fellow freshman forward Lindsay Corallo, her second goal of the season. Just minutes later, DaSilva nearly struck again.
After a defensive breakdown, the forward ricocheted the ball off the crossbar behind Stony Brook freshman goalie Cara Gallagher. The shot bounced straight down from the post, staying out of the net as the officials feverishly waved off a goal.
“I told them if they came out strong and hard, they might be able to throw [Stony Brook] off,” Sacred Heart head coach Kim Banner said. “I think scoring quickly like that helped us to get the momentum that we needed.”
“We need to be able to dictate our play on our home field and play to our style, and not get drawn out of that so easily by another team going up a goal against us,” Stony Brook head coach Sue Ryan said after the loss.
“We were trying to serve longer balls than what we would normally play. We’re more of a linking, possession-style team.”
The Seawolves responded well for the rest of the half with a number of promising scoring chances as they sought an equalizer. Sophomore forward Maddie Good and redshirt junior forward Raven Edwards came on as substitutes late in the first half to ignite the offense.
The pair produced multiple quality opportunities off of senior midfielder Tessa Devereaux’s crosses.
Perhaps the best explanation for why the Seawolves — who led in shot attempts 10-4 at halftime — had no goals at the break was the exceptional play by Pioneers senior goalkeeper Talia Schwartz.
She did well to handle the pace of the Stony Brook shots coming at her and to step up on dangerous passes in front.
“I think our offense was attacking them and overpowering them and we were just one step too late to kick in the balls that went off the goalie or off their defenders,” Wiggins said.
In many ways, the second half mirrored the first half. Sacred Heart capitalized on an early chance and the Seawolves failed to recover despite several opportunities. In the 51st minute, Corallo launched a deep shot from beyond the box, hitting the crossbar. Stepping into the rebound, senior forward Alexis Parlato took a few kicks at the ball before it finally rolled across the line, giving the Seawolves an insurmountable deficit.
Stony Brook did not go down without a fight. In the 56th minute off of a cross from Wiggins, senior midfielder Emily Murrer found the crossbar from within ten feet of the goal. The missed chance epitomized an afternoon where the Seawolves struggled to finish.
“It’s kind of corny, but sometimes that’s soccer,” Ryan said when asked about the failed opportunities. “You can take 20 shots on goal, kick the ball off the post, off the crossbar, and still not score.”
Some of the additional chances on the attack in the second half can be attributed to Ryan’s move to take Wiggins, typically a defender, to the left side attacking position. Wiggins was the primary playmaker in the second half, adding a match-high five shot attempts.
“[Wiggins] has a really positive, strong, left-footed serve. We were trying to get more balls in the box,” Ryan said.
The Seawolves’ next game is against Central Connecticut State on Friday.
CORRECTION: Aug. 24, 2015
In the Aug. 24, 2015 print version of The Statesman, the headline incorrectly suggests that the Stony Brook women’s soccer team split their doubleheader this past weekend with a win and a loss. The team lost both games.