Despite putting up a stellar first-half performance, the Stony Brook women’s soccer team couldn’t match the second-half play from No. 4 Penn State, losing to the Nittany Lions by a final score of 3-1.
The Nittany Lions were on the attack for nearly the entire game, putting up a total of 25 shots, with 12 of them on goal. But in the face of a barrage of shots on goal, Seawolves junior goalkeeper Sofia Manner put on an incredible showcase of nine total saves, including a total shutout in the first half.
Manner’s shutout gave the Seawolves an early opportunity to take the lead, as junior forward Fanny Götesson put the Seawolves ahead in the 18th minute with an unassisted goal, the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament goal. But the Seawolves efforts were no match for Penn State in the second half, as they scored three unanswered goals (two within 50 seconds of each other) to put them ahead for good.
“We’re really happy,” coach Tobias Bischof said in a postgame press conference. “We had a really good game plan and the girls followed the game plan very well. We had our goal, our goal in the first half, and we held onto it at halftime. And the second half, Penn State did what Penn State does. They’re a very well-coached team […] They were the National Champions in 2015. They have a couple special players, and the special players played a very good game in the match.”
“It was fun,” Götesson remarked on scoring the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament goal. “We didn’t expect, maybe, to be up. But when we did, we felt it was a good start to the game, that we could actually give them something to fight for. Maybe we should have kept on a little longer, but it’s good.”
While the 2019 season has come to an end for the Seawolves, the future remains bright for a team many believed would not be in this position mere months ago. The reigning America East Striker of the Year (Alyssa Francese), Defender of the Year (Kimmy Chavkin) and the two-time defending Goalie of the Year (Manner), as well as fellow First Team All-Conference member Götesson and Second Team member junior midfielder Chelsie DePonte, will all return next year. The 2019 America East Tournament Most Outstanding Player in junior forward Erin O’Connor also returns, as well as America East All-Rookie team members freshman forward Catharina von Drigalski and freshman midfielder Paula Petri.
Led by Bischof and his crew, who took home the 2019 America East Coaching Staff of the Year honors, the team combines returning stars with developing talent and a hunger to succeed for next season.