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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


For Soccer, Road Gets Tougher As Conference Play Nears

It will be a day short of four weeks since the Stony Brook men’s soccer team recorded their lone victory of the season when they take the field for their next match.

And, while it sounds like the most basic principle of winning any game of any sort, the men will know exactly what they need to focus on when they open conference play at Boston University on Sunday: keeping the opponents off the scoreboard.

The rocky road of non-conference play has been an especially rough one-taking the Seawolves through two nationally-ranked teams in Harvard and St. John’s along the way-but the rest of the schedule looks to be just as crowded with national-championship contending programs.

Playing in Boston on Sunday night, the Seawolves will be taking on their third nationally-ranked opponent of the season. The 6-2-1 Terriers sit at 16th in the country, and fourth in the Northeast. Additionally, the America East recently named Terrier’s junior forward Aaron O’Neal the Player of the Week, ensuring that the Seawolves’ defense will be keeping a close eye on him. Boston’s only losses on the season have come at the hands of national #8 Harvard, who earlier in the season defeated Stony Brook 4-1, and a Boston College team that has been in and out of the top 25.

The Seawolves will be looking to 17-year-old freshman striker Leonardo Fernandes to rekindle the attack that was conspicuously absent from the goal-scoring column in last Saturday’s frustrating 2-1 loss to Adelphi. Wearing just ‘Leonardo’ on the back of his shirt, Stony Brook’s number 8 is tied for the team lead in points with eight (three goals, two assists) and has been pivotal to the Seawolves’ offensive efforts. His quick feet, good vision, and willingness to fight for the ball make him a player to watch in the attacking center midfield role.

The other Stony Brook player with eight points is 19-year-old freshman Berian Gobeil-Cruz. His stats, identical to Leonardo’s, have come in one more game and seven fewer shots.

However, both players were looking on when 22-year-old senior defenseman Damion Brown headed in the Seawolves’ only goal of the game against Adelphi.

That’s not to say the chances for the offense weren’t there. Sophomore Wilber Bonilla, 20, had a penalty kick attempt saved, and Leonardo rolled the ball wide of an empty net with the Adelphi goalkeeper out of position. Stony Brook has outshot its opponents 148-120 on the year, but has been much less efficient, finishing only 13 times to its opponents 21.

Since last season, the rate of goals has increased dramatically for Stony Brook, who is averaging almost a goal more per game. However, the rate that opponents are scoring on the Seawolves has also risen, from 1.46 goals per game to 2.1.

This means that the Seawolves are asking their attack to score three goals every game in order to collect a victory. This will be easier said than done as the unforgiving calendar has the Seawolves playing their most difficult part of the schedule in the next ten days.

After Boston on Saturday, Stony Brook travels south to take on the number 18 team in the nation in UMBC on Oct. 7 before returning to the confines of Lavalle Stadium for a matchup with regional powerhouse Binghamton on Oct. 10.

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