The Stony Brook women’s soccer team seemed destined for a victory against Fairfield on Wednesday night, but Stags junior forward Brenna Brown kicked home a game-tying goal in a skirmish in front of the net with just three minutes remaining in regulation, leading to a 2-2 tie, the Seawolves’ second consecutive draw.
“It’s always disappointing to let the lead slip away in the last few minutes of the game, but I think it teaches us a good lesson moving forward,” Stony Brook head coach Sue Ryan said. “I thought it was a good team effort and a positive moving into conference play.”
Junior forward Raven Edwards had a solid game for Stony Brook, scoring her fourth and fifth goals of the season while shooting the ball a match-high six times. But Brown matched Edwards’ output with a pair of her own goals in the draw.
After Seawolves junior forward Lindsay Hutchinson was taken down with an ill-advised slide tackle by Fairfield in the penalty box, Ryan nominated Edwards to take the penalty kick for the Seawolves in the 14th minute.
Edwards drilled a strike to the right. Fairfield sophomore goalkeeper Jenna Pike was able to slow the shot down, but it had enough pace to still roll across the goal line, giving Stony Brook an early 1-0 lead.
“[In penalty kicks] you need to have somebody that has a little bit more nerves of steel and a little bit more mental fortitude,” Ryan said. “Raven has that.”
The Stags tied the game in the 24th minute with a tally off of a passing sequence that was ultimately tapped in by Brown. Stony Brook’s defense was in good position, but the Fairfield ball movement was too good as sophomore defender Jackie Goudreault and junior midfielder Pamela Coufos assisted on the goal.
With a tie score at the half, both teams ramped up the intensity coming out of the locker room looking to test the opposing defense. Seawolves sophomore defender Franki Priore had multiple blocked shots early in the second half to keep the game level.
In the 77th minute, just after substituting back into the game, Edwards was able to work more of her magic. Receiving the ball to the left of the box off of a ricochet, the New Jersey native launched the ball from 25 yards out, hitting the bottom of the crossbar before it bounced into the goal to propel the Seawolves to a 2-1 advantage.
Edwards tied a career-high with five goals this season, less than halfway through the schedule. She credited her recent success to advice given to her from her brother Chris, a former soccer standout at Rutgers University who graduated in 2011.
“Every game he tells me the three most important things in soccer,” Edwards said. “Dribble at people, shoot and have fun.”
Edwards’ second goal of the match was unable to seal the deal for Stony Brook.
Brown sent the match to overtime with her 87th-minute-goal, leaving the crowd at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium stunned.
There were no dramatic endings in overtime. Captain and senior midfielder Tessa Devereaux missed the net on two good opportunities. Fairfield came close in the 99th minute, but freshman goalkeeper Cara Gallagher made a clutch stop off of a header from junior forward Cassidy Boegel.
The draw pushes the Seawolves’ seasonal record to 3-5-2 as their non-conference schedule concludes.
“I think the [non-conference] competition has been excellent,” Ryan said, evaluating the season so far. “I think it has truly prepared us for the types of games and the types of battles that we’re going to see in conference.”
The team’s quest towards its first America East title since 2012 will begin this Sunday as the Seawolves head north to face the Vermont Catamounts for a 12 p.m. match.
“We’re just going to go for it,” Edwards said. “We’re not worried about our opponents; we’re just focused on us.”