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Stony Brook women’s soccer keeps playoff hopes alive with win over Drexel

Midfielder Linn Beck attempts a penalty kick against Drexel on Thursday, Oct. 12. Beck scored her fourth goal of the season on this play. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook women’s soccer team’s playoff push continued as it picked up three crucial points.

In a matchup with heavy playoff implications, the Seawolves (5-5-5, 3-4-3 CAA) hosted the Drexel Dragons (5-8-3, 1-6-4 CAA) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Thursday night. Coming into the game, Stony Brook sat two points shy of the final Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) playoff spot, while the Dragons needed to win out just to have a shot at it. A 3-1 win by the Seawolves kept them alive while simultaneously eliminating Drexel from postseason contention.

Stony Brook opened the scoring on the cusp of halftime. In the 42nd minute, forward Graceann Murphy chipped a through ball to fellow forward Ashley Bell, setting up a one-on-one opportunity with Drexel goalkeeper Joella Chase. Bell controlled the ball and quickly slipped a shot past Chase for her first career NCAA goal, making it 1-0 Seawolves.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Dragons wasted no time and equalized in the 47th minute. A free kick from Drexel defender Lily Dunbar found the head of forward Delaney Lappin, who looped a towering header from near the penalty marker over goalkeeper Nicolette Pasquarella to make it 1-1.

Stony Brook responded in the 54th minute through individual magic from forward Gabrielle Côté. After Drexel defender Emma Goodrow lost the ball in her team’s half, Côté picked it up and drove past the backline and into the box. Drexel defender Madison Maxwell’s slide tackle got the ball but also took down Côté, and the referee issued a penalty kick. Midfielder Linn Beck stepped up to take the kick and converted, restoring the Seawolves’ lead.

Stony Brook was awarded a second penalty in the 81st minute after Maxwell was called for a hand ball in the box. This time, defender Kerry Pearson took the kick and knocked home the penalty to secure the victory.

Stony Brook’s bench made important contributions to the win. Murphy and Bell — who combined for the first goal — were both substitutes.

Head coach Tobias Bischof highlighted the team’s depth and was pleased with Murphy and Bell’s performances.

“Every player on this team is important to us,” Bischof said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “There are situations where you get called on and you have to perform for us. Both did that today.”

This win marked Stony Brook’s first victory since losing its top goalscorer — forward Reilly Rich — against William & Mary on Oct. 1.

Bischof said the team is still adjusting to her absence.

“It’s a very tough process to adjust to something like that,” Bischof said. “She gives us a lot. She stretches the other team. You can never replace that. So what we try to do is compensate for it. We give different players a look and try to see what works for the day.”

The Seawolves outshot Drexel 17-12. Both teams landed seven shots on net. Forward Luciana Setteducate led Stony Brook and tied her career high with six shots. Côté was second with four shots. Setteducate and Côté each landed two shots on goal.

Lappin led the Dragons with three total shots and co-led them with two shots on goal alongside Annalena O’Reilly.

Pasquarella was strong in net once again, saving six of the seven shots that came her way. Opposite her, Drexel rotated Chase and goalkeeper Molly Piso. Chase stopped four of the five shots she faced in the first half, but Piso had a much harder task in the second. Both shots that came her way were the penalties, which were buried.

Stony Brook will remain at home for another must-win affair against the Elon Phoenix on Sunday. The Phoenix have already been eliminated from postseason contention. They are 2-8-4 overall 1-6-2 in conference matches after losing 2-0 to Hofstra on Thursday. Opening kickoff is set for noon.

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