Alyssa Francese in the Fall 2019 season in a game against Fordham. The graduate forward scored her 31st career goal in a game against Hofstra on Feb. 21. JESS ESPOSITO/STATESMAN FILE

In an unusual spring season opener for the Stony Brook women’s soccer team, the Seawolves played on the road against the No. 23 Hofstra Pride in the intense annual Battle of Long Island rivalry. Stony Brook came up short, losing its first game of the season 4-3 on Sunday, Feb. 21, in Hempstead, New York.

The Seawolves took an early lead with graduate forward Alyssa Francese scoring her 31st career goal in the game’s 15th minute with an assist by sophomore back Catharina Von Drigalski. The Pride almost tied the game in the 18th minute with senior midfielder Lucy Porter’s shot hitting the near post. 

The Seawolves played very defensively throughout most of the first half. The Pride continued to add pressure onto the Seawolves backline until the 45th minute, when junior midfielder Miri Taylor scored a tap in, equalizing the game 1-1. The Seawolves only had two shots on goal during the first half of the game, while the Pride had ten. 

In the first five minutes into the second half, senior midfielder Chelsie DePonte put the Seawolves up 2-1 with a header off a set-piece. However, the Pride came out attacking after DePonte’s goal, scoring three goals in under 10 minutes. 

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In the 54th minute, Hofstra senior forward/midfielder Sabrina Bryan scored the equalizing goal with a drive shot in the near bottom corner of the net, with a great build-up counterattacking the Seawolves. Porter scored in the 57th minute and added a 63rd-minute header from another set-piece, putting the Pride ahead of the Seawolves 4-2.

With only nine minutes left of the second half, the Seawolves won a penalty due to a foul by the Pride’s sophomore goalkeeper Skylar Kuzmich. Junior midfielder Mari Brenden stepped up for the Seawolves to convert the penalty, making the score 4-3.

The Battle For Long Island did not disappoint with a seven-goal scoring thriller of a game. Both the Seawolves and the Pride battled against each other to the very end. The Pride continue to be unbeaten at home since the start of last season. 

“We had a good performance against a very well-coached top-25 team,” head coach Tobias Bischof said in a postgame press release. “But in the end, we fell short. We are going to analyze our play and improve.”

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The Seawolves’ next game will be on Mar. 3 in Amherst, Massachusetts against the UMass Minutewomen.

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