Needing a bounceback performance after a dreadful loss to the Hartford Hawks, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team snapped their two-game losing streak in Baltimore on Saturday, Oct. 9 by beating the UMBC Retrievers 3-1.
The match had key implications on the standings, as Stony Brook (6-4, 2-2 AE) gained a key three points over UMBC (6-6-1, 1-3 AE) with the two teams positioned closely.
The game started off with a tight first half as both defenses traded scoreless first halves. UMBC was the more aggressive team, as they took seven shots opposed to Stony Brook’s four. Junior goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser had a good first half for Stony Brook, tallying four saves in as many opportunities to keep the match scoreless.
Stony Brook only got one shot on goal in the first half, coming by way of sophomore forward Aki Solvason, but it was saved by UMBC sophomore goalkeeper Jailon Gillespie. However, it would not be the last time that Solvason made his presence felt.
The second half was explosive, as both teams attempted 12 shots each and found the scoreboard. After only two minutes and 42 seconds into the half, the Retrievers broke the ice with a goal from sophomore midfielder Jago Lott.
Stony Brook trailed 1-0 for the next 12 minutes and 42 seconds before the offense finally broke through. Senior midfielder Trausti Birgisson connected with graduate midfielder Kori Cupid for Stony Brook’s first goal of the night, tying the match at one apiece. The goal marked Birgisson’s fourth assist of the season, further extending his already-team-leading total. It was also Cupid’s second goal of the season and his first since conference play began.
After knotting the score up at one, Stony Brook controlled the flow for the rest of the match. The next 10 minutes saw UMBC go without taking a shot before an exciting play broke the difference. Birgisson sent a free kick into the box, where graduate midfielder Gabriel Fernandes took a shot with his head outside the six-yard box. The shot was saved but rebounded by Stony Brook and Solvason made the most of their second-chance opportunity. Fernandes deflected the rebound to Solvason, who promptly scored the go-ahead goal to put Stony Brook up 2-1 with just under 20 minutes to play. Fernandes was credited with his second assist of the season on the play.
After taking the lead, UMBC attempted eight shots, but Kaiser and the defense would not surrender a single goal. Meanwhile, the offense stayed at work, capping off a dominant second half with their third goal of the night with only 7:27 remaining. Sophomore forward Sean Towey passed to Solvason, who set himself up to the left of the goal, made the goalie miss and fired his second goal of the night into the net. Solvason’s two goals gave him a team-leading total of four on the season, as well as a team-leading nine total points. It was Solvason’s first career multi-goal game as a Seawolf.
It was the Seawolves’ first win against the Retrievers since 2017, having gone 0-3-2 over their last five meetings. Stony Brook’s defense held UMBC’s offense to just one goal on 19 shots against, a season-high. Kaiser tallied a season-high eight saves and was recognized for his stout performance with his second America East Defensive Player of the Week award of the season. The offense was much more efficient than in weeks past, attempting 16 shots while racking up nine shots on goal, good for a .563 shots-on-goal percentage. The three goals were more than their previous two performances combined.
The two-goal performance by Solvason was the first multi-goal game by any Seawolf this year. With his two goals, Solvason became the first Seawolf to score more than one goal in a match since Serge Gamwanya did it on Sept. 5, 2018 as a senior.
Now at fifth place in the America East, Stony Brook must secure another three points on Wednesday, Oct. 13 with a road match against the struggling NJIT Highlanders (3-7-1, 1-3 AE).