Junior defender Sebastian Rojek in a game against Long Island University on Aug. 26. Rojek was issued a yellow card in the first half of the game against Binghamton on Sept. 25. JOCELYN CRUZ/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook men’s soccer team ended up on the wrong end of a low-scoring affair on Saturday, Sept. 25, suffering a 1-0 road loss against the Binghamton Bearcats to drop its first conference match of the season. It was a hard-fought match between the two, but ultimately Stony Brook could not get the clutch goal they needed to avoid their first in-conference loss of the season.

Coming off a dominant conference opener against a Vermont team that was almost nationally ranked, the result was disappointing even though Binghamton (6-2, 1-0 AE) performed well during non-conference play as well.

Stony Brook’s offense was no match for Binghamton’s defense, as the Seawolves were only able to get two shots on goal on eight attempts. Stony Brook’s defense, their calling card all season long, was solid again, only allowing three shots on goal in eight attempts.

The match was as even-keeled as could be, as both teams committed 13 fouls each, both teams recorded two saves each, and the shot attempt numbers were identical. Only one yellow card was issued on either side, going against junior defender Sebastian Rojek in the first half. 

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The scoreboard finally changed 11 minutes and seven seconds into the second half, as Binghamton junior forward Oliver Svalander scored his third goal of the season to make it 1-0 Bearcats. Stony Brook’s offense was aggressive in the second half, attempting six shots, but did not convert on any of them. Graduate midfielder Kori Cupid was their leading shot-taker, attempting four, but went 0-for-4. Binghamton’s defense held up, and the rest was history.

The Seawolves dropped to 5-3 (1-1 AE) after the loss.

Despite the negative outcome, Stony Brook’s team has now played the same number of matches they played last season. In eight games in the 2020 campaign, the Seawolves finished 1-6-1 while allowing 2.13 goals per match on defense. That same defense allowed a 50.5 shots on goal percentage. 

Through eight contests this fall, that percentage is down to 36%, with only a whopping 9% overall goal percentage. They are now only surrendering one goal per match, and junior goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser has posted three clean sheets. Kaiser and the defense have also played two games — against Hofstra and Fairfield — in which they only allowed one goal coming off of a penalty kick. 

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The offense shot 11.9% from the field last season, and has upped their goal percentage by five percent this season. Only 39.3% percent of their shots were on goal, which is up to 42.4% this fall. With increased efficiency on offense and what has been a dominant turnaround on defense, expect the turnaround to continue.

Stony Brook’s next matchup will be a home game against the Hartford Hawks on Saturday, Oct. 2. Home contests have been kind to the Seawolves, as they are 4-1 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium thus far. They will look to improve upon that mark and bounce back from this loss with another win and another three points. 

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