For the second consecutive game, senior forward Julie Johnstonbaugh sent a shot into the right side of the net for an overtime winner as Stony Brook Women’s Soccer defeated UMass Lowell 1-0 at Cushing Field on Sunday, Oct. 22.
The Seawolves’ 11th victory of the season secured their spot as America East regular season champions. This is the program’s first regular season title since 2013, when the team received co-champion honors with UMBC. The 2013 team finished with just one more draw than the team’s current 11-6-1 record.
Head coach Brendan Faherty sees his team’s championship as a long time coming.
“Winning a regular season conference championship has been a three-year process for this program, and I couldn’t be more excited for this team,” Faherty said in a press release. “We are going to enjoy this historic moment as a group for a couple days and then we will turn our attention to preparing for the America East tournament.”
UMass Lowell freshman midfielder Lily Fabian got things started in the early seconds of the overtime period with a shot at the Stony Brook net. The opportunity was denied by sophomore goalkeeper Sofia Manner, who followed up the stop with another diving save as freshman midfielder Kristina Bartsch took another shot on goal.
Johnstonbaugh made a push toward the River Hawks’ net four minutes into the overtime period. With a defender chasing behind her, she was able to keep possession of the ball and send a shot into the back of the net for the golden goal victory.
Johnstonbaugh had an opportunity earlier in the matchup with a headed shot in the 20th minute of a 0-0 tie. Her header hit the post, however, and the game remained scoreless.
“Today was a really good game between two teams that were trying to get the ball down and play. UMass Lowell have some very creative players on the ball and they made our team work hard defensively for 90+ minutes,” Faherty said. “I couldn’t be happier for our group with the result today. We had an emotional win on Thursday, but were able to play at a high level again to get a great result on the road.”
UMass Lowell senior goalkeeper Julia Schneider was put to work early. Stony Brook’s offensive push began with a shot by sophomore forward Alyssa Francese just a minute into regulation which Schneider saved. Sophomore forward Fanny Gotesson followed up a little over a minute later with a shot of her own but was denied a goal.
Heading into the locker room, both teams finished just about even on the statsheet, as the River Hawks led the shot count 9-7 and both teams had four saves each. Manner picked up the 13th clean sheet of her Seawolves career and her seventh of the season, finishing the game with 11 saves, her second-highest save count in a game this season.
The Seawolves offense pressured the River Hawks defense throughout the matchup. The team finished with two more corner kicks in the first half and tripled the River Hawks’ total of two before the full time whistle.
The Seawolves earn a bye week as the top seed in the America East tournament. The team’s pursuit of a repeat begins on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 12 p.m. in the semifinal matchup. Their opponent will be the winner of the UMass Lowell/Vermont game on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. The Seawolves previously picked up a 4-0 victory over the Catamounts on Sept. 30.