The Stony Brook men’s soccer team traveled to Philadelphia to face the St. Joseph’s Hawks on Tuesday, Sept. 10 and hosted the Siena Saints in Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Friday, Sept. 13, hoping to capitalize on whatever semblance of momentum they earned last week in a 2-2 tie with Fairfield. The team received mixed results out of both their 0-3 loss to St. Joseph’s and their 2-1 win vs Siena.
“You know, we’ve controlled big parts of the game,” head coach Ryan Anatol said in an interview with The Statesman after the Siena victory. “You look at possessions and opportunities, but the challenges were what we haven’t been doing as well in – air challenges and ground challenges. We challenged the guys to come out today and try to win that part of the game, especially against a team that we thought was pretty good at restarts, and I thought they did a pretty good job in that area tonight.”
At St. Joseph’s Sweeney Field, the Seawolves had a strong performance in goal during the first half, as sophomore goalkeeper Yamil Montenegro allowed only two shots by the Hawks. However, the floodgates opened in the second half and Montenegro gave up three goals in the 60th, 66th and 82nd minute. The scoring push would prove to be more than enough for the Hawks to claim victory and advance to 2-2 while also keeping the Seawolves winless on the season.
Freshman midfielder Danny Jara made his first career start versus St. Joseph’s after a strong performance against Fairfield that saw him score his first career goal in his fourth game, along with three total shots on goal. Jara’s minutes have increased every game so far this season, starting from 23 in his first career game and escalating to 78 minutes as a starter.
While Jara earned the start against Siena, he had to be helped off the field early in the game due to injury. He tried to come back in the second half but ended his night on the bench. “He came off in the first half and he felt like he could go back on in the second half,” Anatol said. “I think it is his ankle and we won’t know until he gets looked at tonight. Hopefully, it is not too serious and we’ll practice tomorrow and take a look at it and hopefully he’s available for Wednesday [against Hofstra].” Jara’s ascent had been a fast one for a struggling men’s soccer team, and it would be a huge loss for the program if he were to miss additional time.
The Seawolves earned their first victory of the season during Friday’s home match. Early on, both teams fought hard for position, but neither team could quite get on the scoreboard in the first half despite ten total shots from both teams combined. The second half was a story written on the same paper, but with a much different outcome. Both teams took ten shots combined, as they had in the first half, but Stony Brook struck first in the first minute of the second half with freshman midfielder Birkir Gudmundsson landing his shot on goal and scoring his first career goal as a Seawolf.
Siena would tie Stony Brook a few minutes after with a goal in the 60th minute, knotting the score at 1-1 and keeping the tension alive between two teams that have both been desperately searching for wins to start their seasons. Stony Brook senior striker Jarred Dass became the hero of the night when he scored the game-winning goal for Stony Brook in the 69th minute. Dass wasn’t too keen to take all of the credit though, as he gushed over senior midfielder Mark Irvine after the game, who made the assist of the game-winning goal. “I scored the goal, but the work wasn’t done by me,” Dass said. “It was done by Mark and the whole team to win back the ball… I’m just getting all the glory for the goal, but that was really his job.”
Anatol had plenty of positive remarks to spout about Dass. “He’s a handful up top. He’s quick and he can get in behind defenders. The back four always have to worry about the spacing behind, because he can expose that,” Anatol said about his senior striker that leads the team in goals with three. “He’s pretty good with his back to the goal as well holding the ball up. He’s pretty good in tight spaces. He’s scored two goals now in the box with his head, which has been an area that we’ve tried to work with him to get better at, his finishing in front of the goal. So it’s good to see that he can create chances in different areas and score goals in different ways.”
The Seawolves were pretty excited about getting that zero out of the win column for themselves this season and it was certainly visible after hearing loud cheers from the locker room and watching players jumping for joy after the game. “Ecstatic, I’m very happy and as a football player, your joy is in winning games. That’s what we did today and I’m very happy about that.” Dass said in a post-game interview by The Statesman.
Fresh off their first win of the season, Stony Brook will take a short road trip to face the Hofstra Pride in a battle of Long Island rivals on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.