Graduate forward Robin Bjornholm-Jatta made his season debut for the Stony Brook men’s soccer team Friday night against Canisius. Meanwhile, captain and senior forward Vince Erdei started his final chapter with the program.
Based on the pair’s play alongside each other Friday, a dynamic duo is on the rise. Bjornholm-Jatta and Erdei connected with each other on multiple goal-scoring opportunities, and both players found the back of the net in the game, pushing the Seawolves to a 2-0 victory at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
“I think you can tell that we have that chemistry on the field,” Erdei said. “Robin is a great player, and he came from a different school so we didn’t have a lot of time to get to know each other. We tried everything that we could, and you can see based off this first game that we have that connection already.”
Erdei put the Seawolves ahead in the sixth minute of the game. After a corner kick taken by senior midfielder Thibault Duval ricocheted off a Golden Griffin defender’s head, Erdei was able to rise above the defense and place the ball into the side netting, putting the Seawolves up 1-0 early.
Not to be outdone by his counterpart, Bjornholm-Jatta got in the mix with a header of his own in the 15th minute. After another corner kick by Duval followed by a scramble in the box to clear the ball, the graduate found himself wide open and was able to head the ball past the keeper, increasing the Stony Brook lead to 2-0.
“[Erdei and Bjornholm-Jatta] compliment each other and they both understand how we want to play,” Head Coach Ryan Anatol said. “They both work extremely hard. They scored two goals, but they had a large impact with getting the shutout as well with how hard they worked.”
Stony Brook was dominant on both sides of the field, even after the team’s style of play changed in the second half. In the first half, the Seawolves were attacking and shooting as much as possible, going into halftime with a 15-3 shots advantage.
However, after Golden Griffin freshman midfielder Manuelle Cavazzoli received a red card for an illegal slide tackle on junior midfielder Serge Gamwanya in the 17th minute, Canisius played with 10 men for the rest of the first half and the entire second half. Anatol knew the style of play was going to change for the Seawolves.
“We knew being up two and being down a man that they were going to become more direct with their play,” Anatol said. “We knew that they were going to sit back more and we were going to have a lot more possession. We’re prepared for that, and I thought we did a decent job with it.”
In the second half, the Golden Griffins crossed midfield and entered the Seawolves’ half five times. They had one goal scoring opportunity in the 85th minute with a breakaway run from Canisius sophomore forward Troy Brady, but redshirt senior goalkeeper Tom McMahon was able to lay out and make the save.
McMahon made two saves on the day, recording his first shutout of the season. The team had six shutouts last season, thanks to the efforts of the back line.
Despite team leader and defender Tavares Thompson graduating, Erdei hopes to continue to inspire the team with his leadership on and off the field, all while having the honor of being captain.
“The most important thing is that we won one game, but our goal is to win 12 games and the America East championship,” Erdei said. “We just can’t stop. Everyday we have to buy in and everyday we need to practice like it’s a game.”
Stony Brook will be back in action on Monday as the team takes on Army at 7 p.m. This will be Stony Brook’s second of four straight non-conference games at home.