The cross was placed perfectly in front of him, only the goalkeeper standing in his way. A tap with the right foot, and the ball flew just past the goalkeeper’s outstretched hands into the right corner of the net. Three minutes later, the Seawolves walked off the field with a victory.
Senior midfielder Serge Gamwanya’s goal in the 87th minute, which was set up by junior striker Jarred Dass, put Stony Brook ahead for good and secured the team’s 2-1 victory over Bryant on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“Individually I don’t think I had my best performance today,” Gamwanya said. “But even though I didn’t have my best performance, it’s all about the team. You can have individuals, but you always have to put the team first. We got down one, and we knew that we had to stay positive, keep our heads up, and keep working for each other.”
Stony Brook had to recover from a slow start. The team didn’t find its first shot until the 19th minute, and continually allowed Bryant to press into its zone. Bryant only managed to create three shots in the first half, but they capitalized on their opportunity. Bryant sophomore forward Jared Lee found a redirected ball in the 29th minute in front of the net and punched it through, giving Bryant a 1-0 lead.
The Seawolves also had to adjust to a last minute lineup change before the game. Freshman goalkeeper Christian Miesch had started every game prior to Saturday and was in the lineup an hour before the game. An injury sustained during warmups forced him out however, and put junior goalkeeper Jacob Braham in net for the first time this year.
Head coach Ryan Anatol said in a post-game interview that the team didn’t have an update on Miesch’s injury, only that it was either a pulled muscle or a blow from hitting the ground in warm-ups. Anatol did expect the injury to be relatively minor, and is hopeful that Miesch could be ready to go for Stony Brook’s next match. Meanwhile, the team is confident that whichever goalkeeper is in net will be ready.
“Jacob had to come into a very similar situation last year,” Anatol said. “He had to come into the middle of the game and play, and he played a ton of games. It’s difficult to get the call 10 minutes before kickoff, but we’ve said you have to be prepared for your opportunity and I thought he came in and did a good job.”
The Seawolves’ offense returned to form in the second half. The game was highly physical throughout, but it became especially rough the later it went, and several yellow cards were handed out to the Bulldogs. The Seawolves persisted through the hits, and found their opportunities late. Junior defenseman Gustavo Fernandes found the equalizer in the 76th minute, driving the ball from 25 yards out and getting a lucky bounce off a defender. Gamwanya’s goal in the 87th minute gave the Seawolves the upper hand, and the team cruised to the end.
“We knew that it was gonna be that type of game, just because when we played them last season it was the same type of team,” Gamwanya said. “That scrappy, wanna play hard, and wanna frustrate you. So we knew that we had to keep our heads calm, and just do what we have to do. But at the same time, we have to show them that you can’t just come here and think you’re gonna take points from us. Because we really work hard for this, as a team.”
Stony Brook’s victory puts them at a 3-3-1 record entering conference play. The Seawolves will kick off their America East Conference tour on Friday, Sept. 21, on the road against Albany at 7 p.m.
“We know Friday’s gonna be a battle, so we’re gonna be up for it, we’re gonna be ready, we’re excited to go on the road,” Anatol said. “No better way to start off conference play than with Albany, so we’re looking forward to it.”