Despite an intense offensive push in the second half, the Stony Brook Men’s Soccer team fell to the undefeated UMass Lowell River Hawks 1-0 due to an early miscue at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
An early substitution for Stony Brook seemed to cause the Seawolves to fall to the No. 18 River Hawks. An injury to senior defender Tavares Thompson in the first half made way for sophomore midfielder Steven Ghitis to come into the game. With an opportunity to get in the game early, Ghitis was active on the ball.
A deep pass in Stony Brook territory led to a high bounce and a hand ball called on Ghitis, leading to a River Hawks free kick from the top of the box. Redshirt freshman forward Ivan Abramovic did not waste the opportunity, beaming the ball into the back of the net to put UMass Lowell up a goal in the 22nd minute of the game.
“They were a team that was content with getting a goal and really trying to defend,” head coach Ryan Anatol said after the game. “They made it really difficult for us.”
The 1-0 loss places the Seawolves in a tie for third place in the America East standings with a 2-2-0 record in conference play.
The Seawolves tried to get something going offensively before the end of the first half as sophomore midfielder Serge Gamwanya almost ripped one into the back of the net from 20 yards out, but the ball sailed right over the middle of the crossbar.
Despite controlling the ball in UMass Lowell territory for a majority of the first half, Stony Brook was unable to place any shots on goal heading into halftime.
“[We] pushed to try and get the equalizer and that was kind of our message at halftime,” Anatol said. “We were frustrated going down one.”
The Seawolves came out of the second half with a strong offensive push, forcing the River Hawks to crack down on their defensive efforts to extreme measures. Stony Brook was able to get three shots on goal in the second half but was unable to put any into the back of the net.
Corner kicks could have played a major factor in this game if the Seawolves were able to capitalize on its multiple opportunities to score. Stony Brook outmatched UMass Lowell in corner kicks, 15-0.
“We created some really good chances, the keeper made a couple really big saves,” Anatol said. “And that was the difference in the game.”
Fouls and injuries were a big part of the game as multiple players went down due to aggressive plays on the field. Stony Brook accounted for 18 fouls on the day and three players on the team went down with injuries. Most notably, Thompson in the beginning of the game and junior forward Vince Erdei with time winding down on the clock toward the end of the game.
“I think everyone is OK, it’s been a lot of games in a short span of time,” Anatol said. “So you expect some of these knocks and strains.”
Despite a valiant effort on the field, the Seawolves simply could not put the ball into the back of the net, ultimately falling to a 7-4-2 record on the season.
Stony Brook will prepare for a quick turnaround as the team faces Army West Point in a nonconference match at the academy on Tuesday at 7 p.m.