Despite finishing the season with a 1-0 win against the UMBC Retrievers on Oct. 28, the Stony Brook women’s soccer team will sit out the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
After going on a five-game winless streak in the middle of the season, the Seawolves (7-8-2, 4-4-1 AE) knew they needed to win their final two games and receive help to secure a playoff spot in a crowded America East. They did their part by beating UMBC and UMass Lowell, but help failed to materialize after Albany defeated Binghamton in its final match.
One more win or tie would have been enough for the Seawolves to continue their journey. Stony Brook finished seventh in the standings with 13 points, the same as sixth-place New Hampshire, who crushed Stony Brook 3-0 earlier in the season and thus won the tiebreaker. Albany and Binghamton are fourth and fifth with 14 points each.
“This one hurts but I’m proud of this group! So many things didn’t go our way this year but the team never gave up and always represented [Stony Brook] the right way,” head coach Tobias Bischof said on Twitter after the Seawolves were eliminated from contention. “Thank you to our seniors. I am forever grateful for what you did for our program.”
It is an unusual situation for a Stony Brook team that entered this season with two consecutive championship wins and NCAA Tournament berths, but the young roster — 13 of 27 players are either freshman or sophomores — struggled on offense after a hot start. Stony Brook’s .941 goals per game ranked eighth out of 10 America East teams, and 11 of its 16 goals came during one four-game stretch.
Regardless, graduate forward Alyssa Francese and graduate midfielder Chelsie DePonte’s spots in team history are already secured. Francese scored the lone goal in the UMBC game to finish with a team-high seven on the season and 43 in her career, second-most in program history behind Erica Keller’s 45. She is also a former America East Striker of the Year and First-Team All-Conference selection.
DePonte, a former America East Woman of the Year and All-Championship selection, ended her career with 73 starts, 15 goals and 14 assists.
Francese and DePonte were both named America East Second-Team and All-Academic selections on Friday. They have been with the team since their freshman years in 2017 and led the Seawolves to three conference championships during that span.
“So much hard work goes into a season and it’s a great accomplishment to get recognized,” Bischof said in a press release. “I’m happy for Alyssa and Chelsie to receive All-Conference recognition. Both players had fantastic careers and represented our program in the best possible way. However, I believe we have more than two players at an all-conference level and I look forward to working with them in the spring.”
Against UMBC, Stony Brook’s offense struggled again and produced only six shots on goal.
However, junior goalkeeper Emerson Richmond Burke made eight saves to record her sixth shutout of the season.