A clean sheet and a couple of standout performances helped carry the Stony Brook’s men soccer team to a much-needed win.
The Seawolves (4-7, 2-4 CAA) were riding a six-game losing streak before they hosted the Charleston Cougars on Saturday. However, Stony Brook came away with a 2-0 victory over its conference rivals to finally end the streak.
Defender Jon Jelercic opened the scoring for the home side with his first career goal in the 31st minute. The freshman received a pass from forward Jonas Bickus on the edge of the box and curled a shot into the top right corner of the goal to give the Seawolves the lead. Jelercic returned the favor in the 72nd minute when he found Bickus with a pass which split the Cougars’ defense. Bickus tapped his shot under Charleston goalkeeper Justin Bauer to double the Seawolves’ lead.
“The mentality was there, the energy was there; we were playing like we are supposed to play,” Bickus said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “When we came to our first practice on Monday, we brought the energy. Everyday we worked so hard, and I think we showed that on the field.”
Jelercic joined Bickus as the only Seawolves this season to record a goal and an assist in the same game. This marks the second time this season Bickus accomplished the feat, as he previously did this on Sept. 20, in a 3-2 loss to Yale.
“It felt special, a goal and an assist,” Jelercic said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “I’m so happy. I hope to keep it going.”
Stony Brook’s strong defensive play helped give the team its first clean sheet of the season, spearheaded by defenders Evan Peters, Rondell Payne and Iker Alvarado, who all played the entire 90 minutes.
“They were fantastic, all of them,” head coach Ryan Anatol said. “Some of the defending in and around the box was very good. Overall I thought we defended very well.”
Despite the good performance, Stony Brook left more on the table. The Seawolves had opportunities to double their lead in the first half through forward Kameron Blaise. In the 40th minute, Blaise won the ball at the edge of the box and chipped Bauer, but miss-hit the ball in front of an open net, allowing the Cougars’ defense to clear the trouble. Just two minutes later, Blaise fired a shot past Bauer into the net off a cross from forward Selcuk Kahveci. The goal was negated due to an offsides call.
“We scored two good goals, but it should’ve been three or four”, Anatol said.
For the first time this season, Stony Brook outshot their opponents in conference play. The Seawolves recorded nine shots, with four being on target. The Cougars had four shots, which were all saved by goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser.
It was the first shutout for Kaiser this season. His last came on Nov. 1, 2021 in a 1-0 victory over Albany.
Bickus continues to stand out in his sophomore season. The forward has eleven points on the season, which ranks seventh in the CAA.
Stony Brook will be away from home for the next three weeks, as they begin a four-game road trip next Wednesday in a non-conference game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Scarlet Knights are 5-2-4 on the season, and are coming off a 3-2 loss to Maryland. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.