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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Stony Brook women’s soccer gears up for Battle of Long Island

The Stony Brook women’s soccer team celebrates forward Reilly Rich’s goal against Delaware on Thursday, Sept. 14. The Seawolves will look to bounce back with a win on Sunday versus Hofstra. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

After missing a grand opportunity on Thursday, the Stony Brook women’s soccer team is looking to bounce back against the defending conference champions. 

Hosting their cross-town rivals, the Seawolves (3-1-4, 1-0-2 CAA) are looking to get back in the win column as they face the Hofstra Pride (5-2-0, 2-0-0 CAA) on Sunday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Pride are fresh off a 3-2 victory over Drexel and have won each of their last four matches. Hofstra is currently in third place in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) conference table while Stony Brook sits in fourth. Opening kickoff for the Battle of Long Island is scheduled for 2 p.m.

The Seawolves have historically struggled in this rivalry, as they have lost 10 of their 11 matchups against the Pride. Stony Brook defeated Hofstra for the first time in program history last season with a 2-1 victory in the regular-season finale to clinch the sixth seed in the 2022 CAA women’s soccer tournament.

To pick up another win, Stony Brook is going to need to turn in a good defensive performance. Its defense has been good thus far, conceding just 1.13 goals per match, which is good for fourth-best in the CAA.

Leading the Seawolves’ backline are co-captain defenders Catharina von Drigalski and Kerry Pearson. Von Drigalski was a 2022 All-CAA Second Team selection, while Pearson is having a career year and just won the CAA Defensive Player of the Week award. Defenders Aneta Sovakova and Grace Cagnina have been the regular starters beside those two, and midfielders Gabby Daniels and Ashley Manor have also made contributions on that side of the ball.

Those players have made goalkeeper Nicolette Pasquarella’s job much easier, allowing her to flourish thus far. She has been a wall in front of goal with 21 saves, good for fifth-most in the conference. Pasquarella has also posted two clean sheets this year and a .700 save percentage.

Stony Brook’s defense has a good matchup in front of it with the Pride’s struggling attack. Hofstra has been mediocre on offense this year, averaging just 1.29 goals per match, which is good for just seventh in the CAA. Its offense has not generated many opportunities this year, taking just the seventh-most shots (95) in the conference.

Leading the Hofstra attack is midfielder Wiktoria Fronc, who has contributed with three goals and three assists in seven matches. Fronc is in top form right now, as she has contributed to five goals over her last four appearances. Hofstra midfielders Aimee Hodgson and Millie Davies are other threats in front of goal, as each have a pair of goals this year. Davies notched a brace on Thursday versus Drexel.

The defensive side of the pitch is where the Pride have made their money this year. They have been on par with Stony Brook’s defense thus far, allowing only eight goals in seven games (1.14 per match). Hofstra’s backline consists of three defenders who have all started every match: Louise Hayden, Cailey Welch and Gabriella Marte. Midfielder Dagny Run Petursdottir has also played well on defense this year to help Hofstra goalkeeper Mackenzie Sullivan do her job.

Sullivan has been solid in net, posting the fourth-best goals against average (1.33) in the CAA on a .700 save percentage. Sullivan’s performance combined with the backline’s play has led the Pride to only concede three goals over the last four matches.

Stony Brook’s attack stacks up well with Hofstra’s defense, as it ranks third in the CAA in goals scored. The Seawolves have two top-10 goalscorers with forwards Reilly Rich and Gabrielle Côté. Rich leads the pack with four goals while Côté has three. Midfielder Linn Beck has scored two goals and dished out two assists behind Rich and Côté. Manor has also contributed two goals this year, while four other Stony Brook players have contributed one apiece.

The Seawolves will look to put intense pressure on Sullivan, as they have the third-most shots and second-most shots on goal in the CAA. They will create plenty of chances from set pieces as well. They lead the CAA in both corner kicks won (53) and penalty kicks earned (four).

If Stony Brook were to beat Hofstra, the three points would ascend it to third place in the table. If Towson loses its match on Sunday, those three points would place the Seawolves atop the CAA.

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