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The Statesman

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Stony Brook women’s soccer upsets William & Mary in blowout win

Forward Graceann Murphy takes a shot against William & Mary on Sunday, Oct. 1. Murphy scored her second goal of the season on this play. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

In a clash with the best defense in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), the Stony Brook women’s soccer team pulled off an upset by dominating an undefeated foe.

Snapping its three-game losing streak, the Seawolves (4-4-4, 2-3-2 CAA) hosted the unbeaten William & Mary Tribe (7-1-5, 4-1-2 CAA) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium and handed them their first loss of the season. Four different scorers and dominance in net from Nicolette Pasquarella carried Stony Brook to a 4-0 victory.

Pasquarella was tested early and often, facing four shots on goal between the 12th and 17th minutes. However, she stopped all four of them to keep her team in the game.

In the 40th minute, the Seawolves struck first when forward Luciana Setteducate crossed a low-driven ball into the path of fellow forward Graceann Murphy. After faking a shot with her left foot, Murphy dribbled past a defender and rifled a right-footed strike into the bottom-left corner to take a 1-0 lead before halftime.

Murphy attributes the team’s ability to find openings on the pitch to its offensive success throughout the game.

“I think the team just did really well at finding each other’s feet today,” Murphy said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Everyone was working together and we were able to take good touches and finish them in the final third.”

Just 30 seconds into the second half, forward Reilly Rich took the ball down the left flank into the penalty box, where William & Mary defender Nicole Sellers committed a foul by knocking her down. Rich stepped up to take the penalty kick and squeezed it past William & Mary goalkeeper Zoe Doughty, doubling Stony Brook’s lead.

After the penalty, the Tribe intensely pressured the Seawolves’ backline, yet they could not break it down or could get past Pasquarella. In the 54th and 55th minutes, Pasquarella redirected a pair of shots to preserve the two-goal cushion, allowing Stony Brook to turn the match into a blowout.

In the 76th minute, defender Catharina von Drigalski whipped the ball off a free kick into the box, where it found the path of forward Gabrielle Côté. Off one bounce from von Drigalski’s pass, Côté connected with a header that found the back of the net and pushed her team’s lead to 3-0.

In the 82nd minute, the Seawolves suffered a tough blow when Rich went down with an injury and had to be helped off the pitch. Her current status is unknown.

Defender Sammy Hannwacker put the finishing touches on the triumphant blowout in the 85th minute. She took a free kick from the bottom left corner of the pitch and sent the ball towards the top right of the goal. Hannwacker’s strike deflected off the right woodwork before bouncing off Doughty’s back and into the net, putting the finishing touches on the win.

Head coach Tobias Bischof implemented a new formation to the team, using a 3-4-1-2 which heavily influenced the way the Seawolves defended. Having three central defenders on the backline allowed von Drigalski and defender Emma Beattie to play higher up the pitch and be involved on both sides of the ball.

Bischof thought of the idea for a new formation during film study this week.

“Watching a lot of film, and trying to find weaknesses we saw that with having those two wide players [von Drigalski and Beattie], we can exploit the space on the side,” Bischof said. “We can be dangerous playing balls in, that worked really well for us and that’s how our goals came in those situations.”

Stony Brook outshot William & Mary 12-9 and landed one more shot on target (eight) than the Tribe (seven). Rich, Côté, Murphy, Hannwacker and von Drigalski all attempted two shots each to co-lead the team. Rich, Murphy and Hannwacker all landed both of their shots on goal, while forward Ashley Bell and midfielder Ashley Manor each tallied one shot on target.

Murphy, von Drigalski and Setteducate each recorded one assist.

Pasquarella had a phenomenal performance, making seven saves and posting her third clean sheet of the year. Her efforts undid the effort of William & Mary forward Mia Suchora, who landed three shots on goal within a five-minute span in the first half yet walked away scoreless.

Entering the match, the Tribe had only conceded five goals and had yet to allow more than one in any match. Despite statistically having the best defense in the match and being undefeated, Bischof knew there were holes to be exploited.

“They were undefeated, but looking at game film, I saw that there are weak spots,” Bischof said. “Looking at it from preparation, I thought there were opportunities for us to score and we made that work today.”

Stony Brook will hit the road for its next match on Thursday night against the University of North Carolina (UNCW) Seahawks. The Seahawks are 3-6-2 overall and 2-2-2 in CAA play, currently sitting at seventh place in the conference table. UNCW is winless in its last three games and it is coming off a scoreless draw against Campbell on Sunday. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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