After dropping its first two matches to start the season, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team broke out in a big way in its conference opener.
The Seawolves (1-2-0, 1-0-0 CAA) trounced the defending regular-season champion Elon Phoenix (1-2-0, 0-1-0 CAA) on Saturday to wrap up their three-game homestand. Four different scorers combined to lead Stony Brook to a 4-0 win at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, giving the team its first three points in the conference standings.
The onslaught began in the 17th minute when midfielder Amit Magoz trickled one past Elon goalkeeper Tomasz Wroblewski for his second goal of the season. By going up 1-0, the Seawolves took their first lead of the year and never looked back.
Taking the early lead allowed Stony Brook to dictate the flow of the game.
“We knew we were coming into a hard game,” Magoz said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “The first goal broke the ice, and things were much easier after.”
In the 40th minute, Magoz looked to double the lead, but Wroblewski saved his shot. However, the ball caromed right to forward Olsen Aluc, who bounced one over Wroblewski and buried it in the back of the net.
After halftime, the Seawolves continued to dominate. In the 57th minute, defender Jon Jelercic dribbled the ball up the right sideline before hitting forward Moses Bakabulindi with a perfect left cross. With the ball placed on a tee, Bakabulindi rifled one over Wroblewski’s head to make it 3-0 Stony Brook. Midfielder Alex Fléury capped off the blowout in the 89th minute when he carried the ball 50 yards upfield before shooting it between Wroblewski’s legs.
As a 21-year-old freshman from Canada, Fléury’s goal was the first of his NCAA career. Fléury was happy to finally break through and find the scoreboard.
“It feels really good,” Fléury said. “Last game and during the game today, I kind of knocked on the door a lot. For it to come today, in our first conference game at home, I couldn’t ask for a better time.”
The Seawolves had one of their best offensive games in years. It was only the second time over the last five seasons that they scored at least four goals in a match. Stony Brook totaled 13 shots and landed eight on goal.
Magoz led the crew with five shots and three shots on goal, while also tallying a goal and an assist. Aluc totaled two shots, both of which were on goal. Just like Magoz, it was the second consecutive match that Aluc scored in. Jelercic, midfielder Kyle Smith and forwards Jonas Bickus and Caleb Danquah all contributed assists for the offense.
Aluc attributed the offensive success to the Seawolves getting past Elon’s defense.
“In practice this week, we worked a lot on making runs behind the defense,” Aluc said. “I think that was one of the huge advantages that we had.”
Aluc is off to a hot start, as he has totaled eight shots and landed six on goal while scoring twice throughout the first three matches. However, he has done it in a part-time role, playing in only 147 out of a possible 270 minutes this year.
Head coach Ryan Anatol said that Aluc has been playing on a minutes restriction due to injury, but he will play more as he gets healthier.
“We have big expectations for Olsen,” Anatol said. “Again, he showed what he can do when he came on today and what a threat he is. Hopefully, we can get him back to 100% so he can play more minutes.”
On defense, Stony Brook picked up its first shutout of the year. Goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser posted his first clean sheet, as he saved all six of the shots he faced. The Seawolves kept them scoreless despite the Phoenix owning possession of the ball for 57% of the match.
However, allowing Elon to control the ball was part of Anatol’s game plan.
“They’re not a team that wants to dominate possession,” Anatol said. “They’re better in transition, so that was one of the keys for us coming into the game today: to give them a little bit of the ball. Sometimes, we conceded possession to create those spaces for us to go the other way on the attack.”
Looking ahead, the Seawolves will look for their second-straight win this Tuesday in the nation’s capital at the George Washington Revolutionaries. The Revolutionaries are 1-0-2 this season after beating Iona 1-0 on Saturday. The match will be Stony Brook’s first road contest of the year. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Mike Anderson also contributed reporting.