Senior forward Raven Edwards dribbles the ball against Binghamton on Oct. 2 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. EVELIN MERCEDES/THE STATESMAN
Senior forward Raven Edwards dribbles the ball against Binghamton on Oct. 2 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. EVELIN MERCEDES/THE STATESMAN

In the 86th minute, UMBC Women’s Soccer freshman forward Jamie Shiflett squared up for a header in the direction of the goal. It was the best look the Retriever’s would get all night. But Stony Brook sophomore goalkeeper Cara Gallagher dove toward the ball to make the save to secure the team’s fourth shutout in its last five games.

Stony Brook’s 1-0 win over UMBC clinches a playoff berth in head coach Brendan Faherty’s first season with the team. The team now sits atop the America East Conference standings at 5-1. The victory also gives them five consecutive regular season conference wins for the first time since the school transitioned to Division-I in 1999.

“It says a lot about our team and the people we have here,” Faherty said. “We are excited for the rest of the season and we are excited to see how we can continue to get better.”

The lone score in the game came in the 51st minute when senior forward Raven Edwards connected on a penalty kick. The senior has begun to heat up recently. Her seventh goal of the season scored on Sunday was her fourth in the team’s last five games.

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The Seawolves outshot the Retrievers 14-4 in the game, and while the defense came through when asked to, the team’s attack was its best defense today. Stony Brook took care of the ball in order to keep it out of the possession of its opponent.

“Our defense didn’t have much to do today,” Faherty said. “There were stretches where we had the ball for 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time.”

Though the team’s goalkeeper has not been as busy in goal as she was early in the season due to her team’s knack for dominating possession of the ball, her consistency of late is worth noting. The sophomore has saved 17 of the last 19 shots Stony Brook opponents had on goal, dating back to Sept. 16th against Delaware

After starting the season off with a 0-3-1 record and suffering a 4-0 loss at the hands of Albany to open conference play on Sept. 29, the hopes of a playoff berth in Faherty’s first season coaching the team appeared bleak. But this team never gave up, never let it get to their heads and refused to let the slow start define them.

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Less than three weeks later, the team sits atop the America East standings and has safely secured a spot in the America East playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Next up, Stony Brook will travel to New Hampshire to battle the Wildcats on Thursday at 7 p.m. before returning home to host conference rival Hartford in the final regular season game of the year.

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