To conclude a second straight disappointing season, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team played their last match on the road at UMass Lowell on Friday, April 9. The Seawolves jumped on top early and played intensely, but that was not enough for them to earn a win, losing 2-1 to the previously winless River Hawks.
With sophomore goalkeepers Edmond Kaiser and Curtis Copenhaver sidelined by injuries, freshman goalkeeper Carlos Zabarburu made his first career start. He saved the first two of UMass Lowell’s four shots on goal, but faltered in the second half as the Seawolves blew a 1-0 lead.
In a scoreless first half, the Seawolves had most of the possession throughout UMass Lowell’s half of the field. The Seawolves got only one shot on target, which sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Heihsel easily saved. Throughout the finishing minutes of the first half, both teams were equally pressuring for the ball when defending.
The second half started intensely, with the Seawolves getting up on the scoreboard on the 47th minute of the match. Senior midfielder Kori Cupid squeezed the ball past two defenders and then Heihsel.
In the 71st minute, the River Hawks were able to win a penalty after being fouled in the box. Senior midfielder Abdi Shariff-Hassan stepped up to take the penalty and tied the match, putting the ball down the middle and making Zabarburu dive in the wrong direction.
The match’s intensity and physicality increased as the clock dwindled, with both teams bringing constant pressure. The Seawolves showed they wanted to win, but the River Hawks had one last trick up their sleeves.
In the 87th minute, UMass Lowell’s sophomore forward Sancho Maroto Tobias found an open lane to shoot from far out. He launched the ball and caught Zabarburu off guard, converting the winning goal of the match.
The Seawolves finish the abbreviated season 1-6-1, with their lone win coming against NJIT. The disappointing campaign likely brings the careers of the team’s three graduate students and three seniors to a close, including redshirt-senior midfielder Gabriel Fernandes, who started 41 matches over the past four years.
Though the team never scored more than two goals in a match, their young players provided a glimpse of better days to come. Freshman forward Aki Solvason led the team with three goals, and Kaiser finished his injury-shortened season with a .733 save percentage.