The Stony Brook women’s soccer team was held scoreless through the first 88 minutes of its season opener, but all it needed were the final two.
The Seawolves (1-0) opened up the 2022-23 sports year for Stony Brook University on Thursday by pulling off an improbable come-from-behind victory over Fordham, 2-1. Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium was host to one of the more exciting Seawolves victories in recent memory, as they won a game that they never led in until the final second. The game was competitive overall, but completely heel-turned in the last two minutes.
With 10 seconds left, a goal kick from goalkeeper Ava King set Stony Brook’s offense up at midfield. Freshman forward Hannah Maracina took the ball and broke loose before attempting a last-second shot. Her shot sailed off the fingertips of goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan and bounced into the net as time expired.
LaValle Stadium erupted with cheers as the Seawolves’ sideline cleared out onto the field. The goal counted, and Stony Brook pulled off the win.
“It’s crazy that I got to start my first game and finish it off in an amazing way,” Maracina said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “It’s a great way to start the season.”
The Seawolves started the game strong, moving the ball well and playing hard defense through the first couple of minutes. Within the first 30 seconds, freshman midfielder Linn Beck fired a shot on goal. However, goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan saved the shot, which was a sign of things to come for the game.
Stony Brook had trouble converting on its opportunities all game. A little over nine minutes into the match, Maracina had a chance to score first for Stony Brook, but her shot banged off the left goalpost.
Just over 33 minutes in, Fordham midfielder Maura Murphy started the scoring with a goal over the goalie’s head. Goalkeeper Emerson Richmond Burke saved Murphy’s first shot, but Murphy got the rebound and head-butted the game’s first goal into the net. Fordham took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The Seawolves’ bad luck shooting the ball continued into the second half. They had a great chance to tie the game with over 18 minutes left when midfielder Ashley Manor had an open shot. However, her shot ricocheted off of Beck and went out of bounds. Fordham’s defense held on to their 1-0 lead until their mistakes bit them.
With 2:04 left in the match, Fordham forward Kristen Cocozza picked up a yellow card, sending Beck to the goal line to attempt a penalty kick. Beck whipped the ball past O’Sullivan to tie the game 1-1. Maracina’s game-winner came just minutes later.
“I feel amazing,” Beck said. “It was insane. It’s incredible how we turned the game around. I am incredibly proud of the team.”
Stony Brook outshot Fordham for the game 19-9, with seven of those shots being on goal. Forward Reilly Rich led the team with six shots taken, half of which were on goal. Beck was right behind her with five.
“I feel like we got our nerves out in the first half, and overall I thought we played a good game,” head coach Tobias Bischof said. “I thought we created a lot of scoring opportunities and in the end it paid off. Took a long time, but in the end it paid off.”
The Seawolves will look to improve their record to 2-0 this Sunday at 2 p.m., when they travel to Smithfield, R.I. to take on the Bryant Bulldogs. Bryant won its opener 2-0 at Saint Peter’s on Thursday.