The Stony Brook men’s soccer team was able to put its goal-scoring problems behind it for one night against Sacred Heart University on Tuesday night. The Seawolves set a high water mark, scoring four goals in a 4-1 win over the Pioneers.
Senior forward Vince Erdei came on as a substitute in the 26th minute, changing the direction of the game. Erdei drew a penalty in the 35th minute and then tied the game at 1-1 when he potted the shot.
“I give a lot of credit to Vince today,” head coach Ryan Anatol said. “I thought his approach had a real positive impact on the rest of the group.”
Erdei was a substitute because he tweaked a muscle in the previous game against Binghamton. “He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to go, but he wanted to go,” Anatol said. “We wanted to limit his minutes, to protect him.”
Erdei’s two goals put him at seven for the season, leading the team. The striker sits now at 10th place in program history with 21 career goals. He needs just one more goal to tie Solomon Mensah, who played for the Seawolves in the early 1970s, for ninth place.
In the second half, the Seawolves pounced on their vulnerable opponent. The team scored three goals in the period, more than they had in their previous three matches combined.
Erdei scored a second time on a volley off a save in the 49th minute. “I don’t think that [coming on as a substitute] affected me in anyway, it didn’t change my approach,” Erdei said.
The team has had to go deep into its bench to find solutions for injured players. Key contributors — fifth year defender Lars Togstad and redshirt senior goalkeeper Tom McMahon — have been unavailable to play for several games due to injuries.
But Anatol thinks, “the depth we have is a major strength, there are 28 guys on a roster for a reason.”
Senior defender Danny Espinoza scored the third goal on a perfectly placed pass from sophomore forward Mark Irvine that left Espinoza one-on-one with a defender. The senior got around the defender and buried the third Stony Brook goal.
Strong defensive play allowed Stony Brook to gain possession and quickly transition to a counterattack. Sophomore midfielder Jarred Dass broke on a long run after receiving a through ball on the counter and banged a missile into the lower right corner of the net.
Sacred Heart, trailing in the game, pushed higher and higher up the field trying to quickly close the deficit. “We thought it was an opponent that kinda played into the way we wanna play, they wanted to open themselves up to move the ball,” Anatol said.
Although the final score was lopsided, sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Braham kept the team in the match when the outcome was not so clear. Braham made a leaping save in the second minute where he pushed the ball up off the crossbar above him and prevented an early Pioneers goal.
Sacred Heart senior defender Dylan Santos scored a soft goal that fooled Braham in the 14th minute. The ball was in traffic and Braham never saw which direction it was coming from, not reacting until the ball was already in the net.
Even though the Seawolves fell behind in the first half, Braham kept his focus. “You saw the difference after we got into half at 1-1, after we went up on Vince’s goal we really tightened up,” Braham said.
Following the out-of-conference win, the Seawolves return to conference play this weekend. The team will look to pick up their first conference win of the season at UMass Lowell this Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m..