Stony Brook Women’s Soccer dominated the Wagner Seahawks offensively and defensively on Sunday, Sept. 9, leading to a 4-0 victory in front of a home crowd for the first time this season.
“Obviously it’s our first game at home after four weeks on the road,” head coach Brendan Faherty said. “So I am excited for our group to get a win — a shutout win. We had some different players score which is really good. Scoring is really hard in soccer so it is exciting to get some kids to score goals today.”
Stony Brook successfully enacted an aggressive attack strategy throughout the game, recording nine shots on goal and six corner kicks in the first half. The Seawolves broke the scoreless tie in the 22nd minute after sophomore forward Fanny Gotesson found an open sophomore midfielder Chelsie DePonte. DePonte split the Wagner defense and connected with a shot from the top of the box to the back of the net, giving the Seawolves a 1-0 lead.
“It was a scrappy play,” DePonte said following the victory. “[Sophomore midfielder Kimmy Chavkin] sent a ball back into the box, Fanny got a touch on it and I was just in the right place at the right time.”
The Seawolves also displayed an impressive defensive prowess, preventing the Seahawks from recording a shot in the first half. Wagner finally broke its shotless streak in the 55th minute off sophomore forward Mya Donnelly’s scoring attempt, but sophomore goalkeeper Sofia Manner made a diving save to retain the Seawolves’ lead.
Stony Brook forced an own goal in response to the Wagner shot attempt to extend its lead to 2-0. The Seawolves continued their offensive onslaught when freshman forward Tatum Kauka faked out the Seahawks’ defense with a spin move and blasted a shot to the back of the net in the 70th minute. The score was Kauka’s first collegiate goal and put the Seawolves up 3-0.
Junior defender Skyler Mackey put Wagner away for good in the 82nd minute, converting a corner kick from senior forward Julie Johnstonbaugh into the goal, giving Stony Brook the 4-0 victory.
The Seawolves’ originally scheduled home opener against the NJIT Highlanders on Thursday, Sept. 6 was cancelled due to inclement weather. While some teams would have used the extra two days to rest, Faherty called for an impromptu 60-minute scrimmage on Friday to rouse the struggling Seawolves as they looked forward to Wagner.
“On Friday, what we did was play a 60-minute scrimmage against ourselves which is something we normally would not do at this time of the year,” Faherty said. “But with no game on Thursday, we wanted to get the legs moving and get a little bit of a workout in.”
The extra practice paid off. Stony Brook completed Sunday’s game with 23 shots and held Wagner to four, one week after the Seawolves were held to four against St. John’s.
“Obviously we executed a little bit better,” Faherty said. “To be honest, our defending was better and we did a better job with our front three of pressing and re-pressing. We won the ball higher up the field so if you are winning the ball higher up the field, you’re closer to goal, you will just be able to create more [scoring] opportunities.”
Stony Brook will head back on the road next week, taking on the Iona Gaels and Hofstra Pride in two intrastate contests.
“I am excited to play two teams, both from New York,” Faherty remarked. “One of the goals for the program is to be the best team in New York. There are a lot of good college programs in New York so it is a hard ask and playing on the road against Iona will be tough as will playing against Hofstra on Sunday.”
Stony Brook will head to New Rochelle, New York to take on Iona in the first of the two-game road trip on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.