The men’s soccer team practicing in the fall of 2020. The team lost their season opener against St. John’s on Feb. 23. BRIANNE LEDDA/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook’s men’s soccer team played their season opener against a ranked Big East opponent, the No. 21 St. John’s Red Storm, on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The Seawolves were on the road playing at Belson Stadium in Jamaica, Queens, and had a rough first half, conceding three goals in the first 13 minutes of the game. Stony Brook ultimately lost 4-2.

“It was great to compete again after such a lengthy layoff, especially on the road against a quality top-15 program like St. John’s,” head coach Ryan Anatol said in a press release. “The first 13 minutes were a disaster, and we made some really bad mistakes.”

St. John’s sophomore forward Wesley Leggett came in clutch, scoring a goal in the first nine seconds of the first half after a defensive mistake by the Seawolves’ backline. 

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In the tenth minute, the Seawolves conceded a penalty kick by a foul caused by Stony Brook sophomore goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser coming out and tripping up a St. John’s forward. Red Storm junior midfielder Einar Lye stepped up and converted the penalty kick, drilling the ball down the bottom right corner. 

A few minutes later, in the 13th minute, St. John’s junior forward/midfielder Toni Oluwaseyi scored a rocket of a shot, hitting the far post before ending up in the back of the net. It was Oluwaseyi’s second goal this season for the Red Storm.

The Seawolves’ freshman forward Trevor Harrison’s continuous pressure on the St. John’s defense caused a slip-up, resulting in Harrison dribbling down the end line and going around the goalkeeper to score his first career goal with the first shot on goal for the Seawolves. All of the goals scored by both teams in the first half were the results of defensive mistakes.

In the second half of the game, St. John’s offense continued to put pressure on the Seawolves’ backline. But the Seawolves would not go out without a fight, chasing to close the 3-1 gap.

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Freshman forward Aki Solvason converted a rebound and was able to tap the ball in the back of the net in the 62nd minute, getting the Seawolves to within one score.

Two minutes later, Oluwaseyi sealed the game for St. John’s by scoring a rocket from distance, beating the goalkeeper, putting St. John’s up 4-2. It was the program’s first victory against Stony Brook.

“But once we got the rust off and settled in, we were effective and scored two good goals to get back into the match, and hit the post,” Anatol said. “Ultimately we need to clean some things up, but the fight and resilience that this group has will be a huge positive moving forward.”

Stony Brook’s next game will be on Feb. 28 against the Hofstra Pride.

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