It was a low scoring affair on Sunday afternoon for Stony Brook Men’s Soccer against Vermont on Sunday afternoon, as the game ended in a 1-1 draw at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
The Seawolves outshot the first-place Catamounts 16-11, but were unable to translate this metric into the scoreboard.
“They didn’t seem like the best team in the country because we were very good,” freshman midfielder Serge Gamwanya said. “With a tie now, we have to be happy because we have two home games left.”
Stony Brook got the first big break of the game in the 15th minute. Vermont senior defender Jack Shea took down sophomore forward Vince Erdei as he was moving toward the goal, pulling him down by the collar. Shea was given a red card, and the Catamounts were forced to play short-handed for the rest of the game.
“It was a good attack from us,” Seawolves head coach Ryan Anatol said of the red card play. “Vince was playing behind and he was in on goal so I thought that one was pretty automatic.”
Despite the man-advantage, the Seawolves found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard at the end of the first half. In the 41st minute, several players scrambled for the ball in front of the Stony Brook net. The ball then took a bad bounce off of junior Seawolves goalkeeper Jason Orban, and slowly rolled into the net to give Vermont the 1-0 advantage.
“The ball came in and I challenged for it,” Orban said. “It was a little controversial the way it went in but at the end of the day mistakes are a part of soccer. I thought we bounced back well.”
The Seawolves nearly evened the score in the half’s final minute. Senior midfielder Martin Giordano passed the ball to freshman midfielder Gamwanya, who found freshman Rickel Dixon in pursuit of the net. Dixon’s kick hit the top left-hand corner of the goal, bouncing off the crossbar.
The Seawolves moved the ball around the field better in the second half. Stony Brook dominated the possession battle for most of the second half, outshooting Vermont, 10-2. They had plenty of opportunities, including three shots by freshman midfielder Serge Gamwanya. The first two were too high, but his third—which came on a free kick—was perfectly placed in the back of the net. The freshman’s equalizer evened the score at one.
“I think Serge has been very good this year, but I don’t think today was one of his best games,” Anatol said. “But he stayed in it, and he got a restart and he’s been doing a good job with that and practicing that and he made it come so I’m happy he was able to score the goal even though he wasn’t having his best performance.”
Although the game remained tied for the duration of regulation, both teams had chances. A pass in the 78th minute from sophomore forward Alejandro Fritz to senior midfielder Martin Giordano left Giordano alone in front of the goal. However, Vermont’s junior goalkeeper Greg Walton stopped the shot to keep the game tied. Five minutes later, Giordano fired a shot from 30 yards out that was stopped by Walton.
“We walked into the locker room first and everyone felt the same that we were better in the second half,” Orban said. “We felt we were kind of unlucky the way the first goal went in but we didn’t focus on that so we focused with good and said ‘the first 5-10 minutes we got to kill them.’”
The Seawolves nearly lost the game when Vermont junior forward Brian Wright headed one off of a corner kick, but it missed the net. The game went into overtime a few minutes later.
The first overtime period was mostly quiet until Vermont junior forward Elliot Maker nearly ended it with a sliding kick that rolled just inches wide of the net. Had it gone just a little closer to the left, the ball would have trickled into a wide open net.
Each team had a scoring opportunity in the second overtime, but neither were successful in capitalizing on it. Wright had a clear shot in on goal with 4:34 left in the period, but it hit the right side of the net. A minute later, sophomore defenseman Danny Espinoza kicked a shot that required a leaping save from Walton. The game ended shortly after that.
“In our conference everything’s really tight,” Orban said. “We got a point, that’s better than nothing. We have two home games against. teams who are in positions where they are fighting for points. So I mean were excited.”
Stony Brook moved to 1-2-1 in America East play, the second-worst mark in the conference. The team will take the field at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium again next Saturday night when they play Hartford, which is winless in its first three America East games.