In its season finale, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team pulled off an upset win to avoid a last-place finish.
The Seawolves (5-11, 3-6 CAA) turned in one of their better performances this year, topping the Drexel Dragons 2-1 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday. With the victory, the Seawolves finished with nine points in conference play, good for eighth place but still three points shy of a playoff berth.
The game started as a defensive affair, with both sides struggling to create any meaningful chances. Stony Brook’s defense cleared away multiple chances, keeping the score level. It did not take long for Stony Brook to net its first goal, as midfielder Trevor Harrison broke through Drexel’s defense and goalkeeper in the 17th minute to knock one in.
“We had to make a statement right away,” Harrison said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “We had to go out 100% and just show them who we are as a family.”
Stony Brook dominated the ball for the majority of the first half, with eight shots to Drexel’s four. However, the tides turned as the Dragons began knocking on the Seawolves’ door. In the 29th minute, Drexel had an opportunity to equalize the score, but goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser dove for the save — one of his four crucial saves. Drexel finally broke through in the 40th minute when forward Joshua Pulla was able to score and level the game at 1-1.
The Seawolves did not go down easily in the second half, pouring on 10 shots to the Dragons’ four. While the defense got sloppy and racked up 13 fouls in the second half, Kaiser was able to save all three of Drexel’s on-goal shots. With the game in balance, ready to go in either direction, Stony Brook was awarded a corner kick in the 72nd minute. Off a set-piece action, Harrison was able to net another goal, bringing his tally up to two for the night and for the season.
That goal knocked the wind out of Drexel’s sails, as they were never able to recover and could not muster up another equalizer. While Drexel clinched a playoff berth long before Saturday, the loss put the team on the road against Northeastern, rather than at its own home field.
“It’s a great way to end,” head coach Ryan Anatol said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “That was the message all week. We wanted to make sure that we represent the program in the right way, and that we send the seniors off on the right foot.”
The Seawolves outshot Drexel 18-8 on Saturday and had more shots on goal as well. They generated five corner kicks while Drexel only totaled one.
Harrison’s performance was the best of his career. He attempted a career-high seven shots with three on goal. His two goals were his most since his freshman year.
“It feels amazing,” Harrison said. “I’m just relieved that I helped the team out to finally end the season on a good note.”
Defender and team captain Sebastian Rojek was also heavily involved in the offense, taking five shots with two on goal.
Looking ahead, the Seawolves will have several questions to answer in the offseason. Several impact players are out of eligibility to return, and others will have to make the decision on whether or not they want to return. As of now, Stony Brook will look to turn the page on its disappointing inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).