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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Harrison’s heroics, Bakabulindi’s record powers Stony Brook men’s soccer to comeback win

Forward Moses Bakabulindi evades a Delaware defender on Saturday, Sept. 16. Bakabulindi broke the Stony Brook men’s soccer team’s single-game assist record against Delaware. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

With his back turned towards the net, midfielder Trevor Harrison handed the Stony Brook men’s soccer team sole possession of first place in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA).

A battle of top-tier offenses in the CAA played out as advertised on Saturday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Seawolves (2-3-1, 2-0-1 CAA) overcame two penalty decisions against them to hand the Delaware Blue Hens (5-1-1, 1-1-1 CAA) their first loss of the season. A pair of goals from forward Jonas Bičkus and a record-breaking passing performance by forward Moses Bakabulidni culminated in an important 3-2 Stony Brook victory.

Employing a four-forward scheme paid dividends immediately for the Seawolves, who opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Down the right wing, forward Olsen Aluc utilized a combination of step-overs to bypass Delaware defender Jan Schroeder before crossing the ball. Aluc’s pass fell right onto Bičkus in front of the net, whose header put Stony Brook in front.

The Seawolves started and played most of the game with Bičkus, Aluc, Bakabulindi and forward Caleb Danquah all on the pitch together. Head coach Ryan Anatol opted for that formation due to the pressure and speed it would impose on the Blue Hens’ defense.

“I thought our athleticism up top would cause them problems,” Anatol said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “They are a team that likes to attack, commit numbers forward and open themselves up. We knew that if we did a good job defending, we would have space to play into. We wanted to do that with guys who had pace and could go at them one-on-one.”

Stony Brook’s lead lasted just three minutes. In the eighth minute, midfielder Lorenzo Selini pulled down Delaware forward Carlos Fernandez in the box, resulting in a penalty. Delaware forward Sam Donnellan took the penalty kick and sent goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser the wrong way to tie the match at one apiece.

Later in the half, carelessness in their own box cost the Seawolves again. Defender Jon Jelercic blocked a shot by Delaware midfielder Richard Monath with his arm and was called for committing a handball. Fernandez stepped up this time and scored his CAA-leading seventh goal of the year, giving Delaware a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

Just over one minute into the second half, Stony Brook tied the match. On the Blue Hens’ endline, Aluc played a pass to a trailing Bakabulindi, who chipped the ball into the box. The pass was behind Bičkus, but he fell backwards to control it. From the seat of his pants, he fired a shot past Delaware goalkeeper Eddie DeMarco to knot it at two apiece.

Though the Blue Hens controlled the ball for 55% of the second half, the Seawolves got one big opportunity in the 83rd minute and capitalized. A corner kick from Bakabulindi sailed over a diving sprawl from DeMarco and found the back of Harrison’s neck. His backwards header punched the ball into the top corner, giving Stony Brook the late advantage.

“I saw Baka was taking it, so I went back post,” Harrison said. “I timed it right, flicked it with my head, and it went top bins.”

Following the goal, Delaware came forward looking for the equalizer. However, Kaiser shut that idea down as he made a pair of diving saves in the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Stony Brook was outshot 14-11. The Blue Hens landed six shots on target while the Seawolves totaled five.

Bičkus’ two goals marked his third career multi-goal effort with Stony Brook. Bičkus and midfielder Alex Fléury led the team with three shots apiece. Jelercic and Fléury each contributed a shot on goal.

After being blanked in the first four games of the season, Bičkus now has three goals over the last two matches. He attributed his latest performances to the team’s collective efforts.

“We’ve been working very hard since the spring,” Bičkus said. “Every day, we’re putting that work in. Slowly but surely, results are coming.”

Bakabulindi assisted on all of Stony Brook’s goals and became the first Seawolf to ever record three assists in a single match. Aluc chimed in with a career-high two assists.

Kaiser was strong in net once again, tallying four saves. He ranks third in the nation with 38 stops.

Fernandez and Donnellan led Delaware with four shots apiece. DeMarco saved two shots.

Stony Brook’s seven points has them atop the CAA table. The Seawolves will jump straight back into conference play next Saturday when they travel to Boston to take on the Northeastern Huskies. The Huskies are 3-2-2 overall in 2023 and 1-1-1 in conference action. They are coming off a 1-0 defeat to William & Mary on Saturday. Opening kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger, Assistant Sports Editor
Alex Streinger is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is the beat reporter of the Stony Brook men’s soccer and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse teams. He interns at Movendi International, the largest independent global social movement for development through alcohol prevention.
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