The Stony Brook men’s soccer team failed to clinch a spot in the America East men’s soccer championship on Thursday, Oct. 28 as they lost 5-0 to the dominant No. 6 New Hampshire Wildcats.
With four teams already locked into the six-team playoff field, the Seawolves (7-6, 3-4 AE) will need to win their final game against Albany on Nov. 1 to finish at .500 and secure a spot in the championship.
The Seawolves were not favored going into the matchup against the undefeated Wildcats (14-0-2, 6-0-1 AE), but it was the perfect setup for an underdog story. There was hope to take down the big dog.
Unfortunately, this game proved that life is not like the movies. From the start, it was clear the direction that this game was going.
Stony Brook’s defense did their best in an attempt to hold off New Hampshire, but they could only do so much. The Wildcats scored first in the 23rd minute when sophomore midfielder Yannick Bright cleared the ball to graduate midfielder Johann von Knebel, who set up senior forward Tola Showunmi to send it into the net.
Stony Brook refused to roll over as in the 41st minute, sophomore forward Selcuk Kahveci booted a free kick that looked to tie the game, but was halted in a diving save by New Hampshire junior goalkeeper Jassem Koleilat. This was one of three saves Koleilat recorded in the matchup.
Things started to get ugly after halftime. Shortly after a red card was granted to Stony Brook, Wildcats junior midfielder Rory O’Driscoll scored off of a corner kick from graduate midfielder Adam Savill in the 55th minute.
Showunmi, who was chasing first on the leaderboard for goals in the America East, was not finished yet. After his header goal was called back in the 52nd minute, his fire was fueled as he sent one into the net off another Savill corner kick in the 69th minute to claim the top spot with 10 goals on the season.
The Seawolves could not get anything going on offense, recording only seven shots the whole contest compared to New Hampshire’s 21. The defense was not much prettier. Junior goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser managed to corral four saves, but that was the only bright spot on the defensive side of the ball.
Just as it seemed things could not get worse for Stony Brook, Wildcats sophomore back Liam Bennett sent the ball cross-field to graduate forward Jacob Gould, who headed it right onto the foot of junior midfielder Bilal Kamal who would score his third goal of the season in the 72nd minute.
To add insult to injury, sophomore midfielder Eli Goldman scored off an assist by junior midfielder Gustavo Rodriguez shortly before the final whistle in the 90th minute.
In a game that was made up of mostly garbage time, it’s safe to say that Stony Brook looked dead in the water. After dropping to below .500 in conference play, what seemed to be a cake walk to the playoffs is now anything but. Remaining at nine points and dropping down to fifth in the conference, they will look to fend off UMass Lowell, Binghamton, NJIT and Hartford.
Stony Brook will keep their heads high in the race for a spot against the Albany Great Danes (10-5-1, 4-2-1 AE) on Monday, Nov. 1st at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, hoping to prove that maybe underdogs can win in real life as well.