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Stony Brook men’s soccer searches for first road victory in crucial CAA showdown

The Stony Brook men’s soccer team celebrates forward Caleb Danquah’s goal against the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Seawolves will take their top-tier offense to Charleston for a showdown on Saturday. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

With its cross-town rivals on its heels, the Stony Brook men’s soccer team looks to continue streaking towards the Coastal Athletic Association’s (CAA) regular-season title.

The Seawolves (4-3-3, 3-0-2 CAA) will look to rewrite their struggles in away matches to remain atop the CAA table. They will travel down to South Carolina this weekend to take on the Charleston Cougars (2-3-5, 1-1-2 CAA) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Stony Brook is winless on the road this year, currently sitting at 0-1-3 away from Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. In CAA contests, the team has played to a draw against Hofstra and Northeastern. The Seawolves’ away performances pale in comparison to its home outings — especially on the offensive end.

Stony Brook has averaged 0.75 goals and 7.5 shots per game in four road contests. At home, those numbers shoot up to 3.5 goals and 14.8 shots per game.

Despite the road struggles, the Seawolves’ attack poses many threats. Even after being shut out in a scoreless draw, they are currently tied for the sixth-best scoring offense in the nation at 2.4 goals per game. Stony Brook has 12 unique goalscorers. Forwards Jonas Bičkus and Olsen Aluc co-lead the team with five goals apiece.

Midfielders Trevor Harrison and Amit Magoz have contributed to the Seawolves’ high-octane offense. Harrison has a career-high three goals this year, though only one against an NCAA Division I opponent. Magoz has scored twice. Both have also contributed one assist.

Forward Caleb Danquah and midfielder Alex Fléury are two starters that have shown up on the stat sheet recently. Overall, both players have one goal and two assists this season. Forward Johan Velez — a 2022 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Third Team selection — is still looking for his first goal with Stony Brook.

The Seawolves have passed the ball at an elite level this year, as their 2.8 assists per match as a team is tied for seventh-best in the nation. Forward Moses Bakabulindi leads the group and is tied for second in the CAA with six assists, while Aluc trails him with four. From the backline, defender Bas van Beckhoven and midfielder Lorenzo Selini have each recorded two assists, while fellow defenders Jon Jelercic and Sean Towey have added one apiece.

The Seawolves offense will go head-to-head with Charleston’s solid defense that is tied for fourth in the CAA in goals allowed per game with just 1.2.

Spearheading the Cougars’ backline are defenders Tom Wilson and Ethan Garvey. Wilson has played every single minute for Charleston this year while Garvey has only missed 50 minutes of game-action. Midfielders Conner Walmsley, Chris Cushing and Etienne Julien also contribute to the team’s defense.

Behind them, Charleston goalkeeper Olly Marshall has had a good year. He is fourth in the CAA in goals against average (1.125), saves per game (3.75) and save percentage (.769). However, he has missed the last two matches, giving way to backup goalkeeper Eric Wnorowski. He has stopped four of the seven shots that have come his way.

On defense, Stony Brook has been up and down. In five of its last six matches, Selini, van Beckhoven, Towey and Jelercic have comprised backline. During those games, the team has improved defensively — conceding just one goal per game. Defender Jacson Coppack will likely also see time on the pitch, as he has played more minutes than three of Stony Brook’s top-four goal contributors.

Overall, Stony Brook’s 1.3 goals allowed per match is fifth-worst in the 11-team CAA. Despite boasting one of the top offenses in the conference, the Seawolves have been outshot in six of their 10 games due to their lack of size and physicality.

Goalkeeper Edmond Kaiser has been the biggest thing keeping their defense afloat in 2023. He has the fifth-most saves in the nation (51). Naturally, he leads the CAA in saves and saves per game (5.67) while ranking third in save percentage (.797).

On Saturday, Stony Brook’s defense will be matched up with one of the weakest attacks in the CAA. Charleston is tied for eighth in the CAA in goals per game (1.2) despite attempting the fourth-most shots per game (12.5). 

The Cougars’ offense is led by forwards Leonardo D’Ambrosio and Peter Thomas, who co-lead their team with three goals apiece. D’Ambrosio is also ninth in the CAA with four assists, while Thomas has dished out a pair. Charleston forward Chris Elliott is the team’s only other player to have more than one goal, as he has scored a pair on 17 shots attempted.

If results across the league are favorable, the Seawolves have a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win on Saturday. A victory over the Cougars would also give Stony Brook more conference wins in 2023 than it had last season — with two conference matches still to follow.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger
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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