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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Seawolves Headed To Final, Rogic Shootout Hero

Redshirt freshman Anthony Rogic stood poised on the goal line. His eyes, along with every other set in the stadium, were focused on the ball placed 12 yards ahead of him.

The formula was simple. If the Hartford shooter scored, the shootout would continue. If Rogic made the save, the Stony Brook Seawolves were headed to the America East Championship finals.

Rogic dove to his right as the ball flew off the shooter’s foot and the stadium held its collective breath. He kept the ball out, earning himself a hero’s reception from the crowd.

Pandemonium erupted. Fans poured over the walls, past helpless security guards, and caught Rogic as he took a celebratory slide in front of the home stands, hoisting him over their heads.

With the crowd chanting his name, Rogic (Boonton, N.J.) produced two phenomenal saves in the shootout and benefitted from another shooter hitting the post as he led the Stony Brook men’s soccer team past the Hartford Hawks in the America East Championship semifinal, 3-2.

Stony Brook will now play host to the UMBC Retrievers in the America East Championship final on Sunday, looking to earn an automatic bid in the NCAA National Championship tournament.

The game, which was scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods, was nail-biting start to finish.

Five minutes into the game, freshman striker Berian Gobeil Cruz (Montreal, Quebec) was shown a yellow card for a hard tackle near the sideline.

Several minutes later Cruz again flew in for a hard challenge which should have earned him a second caution and thus an automatic ejection, but the referee only gave Cruz a stern talking to.

Goal-scoring chances were few and far between for the Seawolves in the first half, as Stony Brook only managed only two shots. The Seawolves spent much of the first half clearing the ball long and hoping that freshman strikers Cruz and Antonio Crespi (North Babylon, N.Y.) would be able to chase it down and make something of it.

The second half brought out a new Seawolves side that showed more intent to score. Stony Brook knocked the ball around Lavalle Stadium’s turf surface, forcing the Hawks to chase.

Right at the hour mark, sophomore Serigne Sylla (New York, N.Y.) hit a powerful driven shot from forty yards that forced Hartford keeper Nenad Cudic to parry the ball over the crossbar.

Just a minute later, freshman Leonardo Fernandes (North Babylon, N.Y.) beat everyone to a high ball in the Hartford penalty area, heading it past the outstretched arms of the helpless Cudic only to watch it roll just wide of the goalpost.

Rogic was brilliant all night, making six saves on six good Hartford opportunities.

Cudic also made the result stick for Hartford, stopping Stony Brook on seven occasions.

The game ended as it started, 0-0, and when overtime failed to produce a winner the teams were headed for a penalty shootout.

The penalty shootout is, by nature, a dramatic and nerve-wracking way to decide a soccer game. Fans from both sides packed into the south end of the stand, hoping for a good view.

Stony Brook shot first. Senior Collin Geoghegan (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) scored, but was answered by the Hartford shooter.

In a bid to distract the Seawolves shooters, Hartford’s Cudic reached deep into his bag of tricks, doing several cartwheels on the goal line before indicating to the official that he was ready for the kick.

The freshman Cruz was the next to step up for Stony Brook. When his shot found the back of the net, he stayed in the goal area long enough to perfectly imitate Cudic’s acrobatics, earning himself rowdy cheers from the Stony Brook supporters.

Sylla missed the third shot, while senior Oscar Leis (Ozone Park, N.Y.) netted the fourth and Stony Brook went into the fifth and final round of shots with a 3-2 lead.

America East Rookie of the Year Leonardo Fernandes failed to put the game away however, and the result fell to Rogic, whose diving save sent the Seawolves through to the finals.

The America East tournament final will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15 at Lavalle Stadium. The Seawolves will host the fifth-seed UMBC Retrievers, who knocked off the #1 New Hampshire Wildcats, 2-1, to earn their place in the final.

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