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Stony Brook women’s soccer clinches postseason berth with UNCW’s draw at Delaware

The Stony Brook women’s soccer team celebrates a goal versus Delaware on Sept. 14. The Blue Hens helped the Seawolves clinch a playoff berth on Sunday. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Who would have thought that Delaware goalkeeper Kyla Burns would be the most valuable player of the Stony Brook women’s soccer team’s 2023 season?

Not in control of their own destiny, the Seawolves spent their Sunday afternoon watching the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) Seahawks (5-9-3, 4-5-3 CAA) take on the Delaware Blue Hens (5-5-8, 2-3-7 CAA) in Newark, Del. Stony Brook is now in Delaware’s debt, as it shut out UNCW and engaged in a 0-0 draw. With the Seahawks not earning a win, the Seawolves’ tickets to the 2023 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) women’s soccer tournament have officially been punched.

Stony Brook wrapped up its regular season last Thursday with a 0-0 draw at Northeastern, finishing with 16 points in the CAA table. That same night, UNCW lost 2-0 to Drexel, keeping the Seawolves two points ahead of it for the final playoff spot. The Seahawks could have only leapfrogged Stony Brook in the standings with a win over the Blue Hens on Sunday. The draw only gained UNCW one point, securing the Seawolves the sixth seed in the CAA tournament for the second consecutive year.

Delaware’s defense — the second-best in the conference — is ultimately what saved Stony Brook. The Blue Hens rolled out a backline of defenders Carly Binn, Julianna Bell, Lauren Elwell and Constanze Viehmann, who received aid from midfielders Lea Panagiotidis and Caitlin St. Leger. Mixed with the performances of defenders Anna Sisson, Grace Harvey and Kristin Wolf off the bench, Delaware shut the Seahawks’ attack down.

UNCW attempted 10 shots, but had trouble finishing and did a poor job landing shots on target against the Blue Hens’ suffocating defense. The Seahawks only tested Burns three times, and they almost burned her on the final try. In the 71st minute from just outside the box, UNCW defender Bentley Settin rifled a free kick over the wall of players that Delaware positioned in front of the net. However, Burns dove full extension to her left and sent the shot skyward.

The Seahawks retained possession with a corner kick, but Burns took control and caught it herself, allowing the Blue Hens to reset.

In the 83rd minute, UNCW forward Issy Bryant — who broke Stony Brook’s hearts on Oct. 5 — had a breakaway opportunity, but Binn closed in on her from behind and blocked her shot. The ball soared over the back of the net, winning the Seahawks another corner. UNCW forward Kenady Adams sent a precise cross into the box and connected with defender Makaya Parham, but her shot volleyed over the net to keep the game scoreless.

After UNCW forward Emily Bowbliss failed to bury a header in the 88th minute, Delaware chewed the clock and ran it down to zeros all around.

The Statesman reached out to Stony Brook Athletics for a comment from the women’s soccer team but received no reply.

With the Blue Hens spoiling the Seahawks’ season, the Seawolves will now return to action on Thursday as the sixth seed in the CAA tournament. They will take on the third-seeded Monmouth Hawks at 4 p.m. The Hawks are 9-5-2 this year and 8-2-2 in CAA play after dominating Campbell 3-0 on Sunday. Stony Brook’s opening-round match will be right across town at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

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About the Contributor
Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
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