The No. 1 seeded Stony Brook men’s soccer team was unable to reach the finals of the America East Tournament after falling to No. 5 seed Hartford, 2-1, Wednesday night at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
The Seawolves gave up a goal with 10 seconds left in the first half and battled throughout the second half, looking for an equalizer.
Freshman midfielder Macdara Heanue was able to score the tying goal, but the Hawks scored the game-winning goal with only four minutes left in the game.
“I thought it was a scrappy game,” head coach Ryan Anatol said. “Both teams didn’t want to give up much. In games like this, when you give up two goals, it’s difficult to win.”
Heanue was able to tie the game at 1-1 with 10 minutes to play in the second half. Junior forward Vince Erdei turned on his defender with the ball and drove to the goal. He sent a cross on the ground past the keeper to the back post. Heanue was able to hammer the ball home one-time, as the crowd erupted with cheers.
“I was very proud of the guys,” Anatol said. “They were able to get a goal in the second half to tie the game up. They were able to put us and themselves in a good position to win.”
But the Stony Brook fans went quiet just six minutes later.
The game-winning goal came with only four minutes to go in the second half from Hartford. Freshman defender Kelechi Akujobi sent a long ball in the air into the box, where freshman midfielder Bastian Stech was able to get a head on the ball. His header hit the crossbar and bounced down past the goal line to give Hartford a 2-1 lead. Four minutes later, the season was over for Stony Brook.
With only 10 seconds to go in the first half, the Hawks drew first blood. Freshman midfielder Alexis Triadis launched his free kick into the box, where it found the head of sophomore forward Andri Jonasson. From there, he headed the ball past McMahon and into the net to put the Hawks up 1-0 at the break.
“They did a good job on a restart to get a goal,” Anatol said. “But in games like this, when you give up two goals, it’s difficult to get a win.”
From the beginning season until now, Anatol said that he could not have been more proud of his players, and says they’ve been growing as players ever since the start of the year.
“There’s been a lot of growth,” Anatol said. “It didn’t just start at the beginning of the season, it started back in January. The guys came in and worked hard each day and set high goals for themselves. Their hard work and belief in the system helped put them in position this season to be successful.”
Despite their season being over now, Anatol believes that they will come back stronger next year, even after losing seniors.
“It’s exciting,” Anatol said about next season. “When you look at the group, a majority of them are returning. We will be losing three seniors, but with a majority of players returning next year, I expect them to continue to work hard and get better each day.”