Stony Brook Women’s Soccer secured its second consecutive victory against the Maine Black Bears on Sunday, Sept. 23 in its first conference matchup of the year.
The win marks the team’s first in opening conference play in head coach Brendan Faherty’s three-year tenure. Faherty praised his team’s offensive presence in the matchup, which included 13 total shots and four on net.
“I thought our attacking play was really good,” Faherty said. “It’s always good to score goals and I actually thought we could have scored a couple more. I’m really pleased with how our attacking played, especially in the last 60 minutes.”
The team maintained pressure on Maine’s defense throughout the whole game, holding the majority of possession and creating numerous opportunities.
Things got started for Stony Brook in the 44th minute after freshman forward Mari Brenden’s shot hit the right post and deflected to the middle of the field. Freshman forward Tatum Kauka found the ball and shot it past Maine junior goalkeeper Annalena Kriebisch to tie the game at 1-1. This was the rookie’s second goal in five games.
Both teams employed a physical style throughout the game. Stony Brook led both halves in foul count 5-4, yet the most important foul was committed by Maine, giving Stony Brook a penalty shot in the first few minutes of the second half. Sophomore forward Alyssa Francese took the penalty kick and put her team ahead 2-1 in the 49th minute, beating Kriebisch to the right side of the goal. This is the second consecutive game in which Francese has scored a penalty for Stony Brook.
Thirty-two seconds following Francese’s penalty shot, senior forward Julie Johnstonbaugh stole the ball around midfield, leading to a breakaway. With just the keeper ahead of her, Johnstonbaugh was able to bury the ball in the goal for Stony Brook’s third unanswered score.
“We spend a lot of time on defending, you wouldn’t be able to tell from watching us today, but we believe in the attack will come over time,” Faherty said. “The goal Julie [Johnstonbaugh] scored came from pressing the middle third and scoring. Overall we just want to be an organized team.”
Maine’s last ditch effort began in the 88th minute when freshman forward Emma Donovan brought the ball into the Stony Brook end and shot it past sophomore goalkeeper Sofia Manner into the bottom left of the net. The goal brought the game within one; however, time expired before Maine could execute another push. Manner finished the matchup with a total of two saves on four shots faced.
Faherty can tell that his team has developed a comfortable chemistry after two dominating performances at home.
“The players’ familiarity with each other and just getting comfortable with playing with each other,” Faherty said. “It takes time, our season can be short at times and it can be hard to get comfortable at times hopefully now they played 11 games with each other they should kind of know where they are at.”
The Seawolves move to an overall record of 6-5 and start off America East play at 1-0. The team travels to Albany for a matchup on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. This will be the Great Danes’ first conference action of the year. The last time the teams faced off was last year, when a single goal decided the outcome as Albany grabbed the edge over Stony Brook 1-0 on Oct. 19, 2017.