Despite a 1-0 loss to the Albany Great Danes (4-3-1 in the America East Conference), the Stony Brook women’s soccer team clinched a playoff berth in the America East Conference Championship.
With a 4-3 conference record, Stony Brook finished in the top six of the conference, meaning their season will continue after the regular season ends on Sunday. This is Stony Brook’s second straight year in the tournament. They join New Hampshire, Binghamton, Hartford and Albany.
“I thought at times we played really well,” head coach Brendan Faherty said. “I think it was a game we let slip away but it is a game we can learn to grow from.”
The game’s sole goal came off a pass by Great Danes freshman midfielder Sophia Eifler. Placed perfectly inside the box, junior defender Caroline Kopp capitalized and blasted the shot past senior goalkeeper Shannon Robinson for her first goal of the season. While the Seawolves did outshoot Albany 15-13 in the game, the Great Danes recorded nine saves, three more than Stony Brook.
“Credit to Albany, I thought they were very dangerous on restarts — they scored a goal off of restarts. I thought we were able to get our flanks involved in the attack,” Faherty said. “We put some dangerous crosses in. It just wasn’t our night for the the goal.”
Albany played well defensively throughout the game, stopping the Seawolves forwards and midfielders from attempting shots. As the game progressed, Albany continued to pressure and double-team attackers into passing or losing the ball. This led to senior defender Franki Priore and freshman midfielder Kimmy Chavkin leading the Seawolves with three shots each.
“I thought the back line, at times, did really well, but I think we need to be a little bit better out front trying to break lines out of the back line,” Faherty said. “Both of them had really good games, I thought they did really well. I think [Priore] is a good presence in the back line. She wins a lot of balls and she steps into the ball really well. I think [Chavkin] is super composed with the ball.”
Stony Brook’s closest scoring opportunity came during the 49th minute. Junior forward Julie Johnstonbaugh found room to cut into the middle of the box. With a group of defenders in front of her, Johnstonbaugh was forced to adjust her shot, causing her to shoot wide to the right side of the goal and miss.
“I think we gotta take care of business, you know,” Faherty said. “This conference is tough. Home games/road games are tough. It is hard to win on the road in this conference. But we did get a road win against Hartford, so we gotta go and put our best foot forward to get the result at Vermont on Sunday.”
Before the game, seniors Robinson, Samantha Goodwin, Sydney Vaughn, Manuela Corcho, Christen Cahill and Priore were treated to a pre-game celebration acknowledging their achievements at Stony Brook. Families filled the stadium as seniors recalled their time at Stony Brook.
The seniors will continue to play together as Stony Brook attempts a playoff run. The group will play their final regular season game on the road Sunday, Oct. 22 at Virtue Field against Vermont (2-3-1 in the America East Conference).