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Stony Brook women’s soccer knocked out of CAA tournament by Monmouth

Several Stony Brook women’s soccer players celebrate a goal against William & Mary on Oct. 1. The Seawolves were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday by Monmouth. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

It all came to a screeching halt for the sixth-seeded Stony Brook women’s soccer team, who went one and done in the 2023 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) women’s soccer tournament.

It was a bitter Thursday evening for the Seawolves (6-6-6, 4-4-4 CAA), as their 2023 season came to an end against the third-seeded Monmouth Hawks (10-5-2, 8-2-2 CAA) at Hofstra Soccer Stadium. Stony Brook’s offense sputtered, mustering up only one shot on goal in the 3-0 loss.

Head coach Tobias Bischof attributed his team’s offensive struggles to a lack of execution in the final third of the pitch.

“I thought we started pretty strong,” Bischof said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “We just couldn’t get the hold of the ball in their end the way we wanted to.”

The match was even-keeled through the first 10 minutes, as both teams battled for momentum. The Hawks looked sharp offensively, as they won a corner kick in just the third minute, but goalkeeper Nicolette Pasquarella took charge and kept the scoreboard clear. However, things never calmed down after that, as Monmouth owned possession of the ball for about 69% of the first half.

Key defensive plays from defender Catharina von Drigalski and three critical saves from Pasquarella kept Monmouth at bay for the time being, keeping the match scoreless by halftime.

Hawks flexed their defensive acumen in the first period, as they remained on the ball, limiting the Seawolves’ ability to create any offensive rhythm. Stony Brook’s plan to use its speed to its advantage did not work, as Monmouth stopped any chances of a counterattack.

The game was scoreless until the 75th minute, as a poor clearance fell to Monmouth midfielder Marisa Tava, who was positioned right in front of the 18-yard box. Tava’s pinpoint volley whipped over Pasquarella’s head and into the back of the net to start the scoring.

In the 83rd minute, Monmouth defender Chloe Ferreira carried the ball from the right sideline towards the top right corner of the box. She roped a shot toward’s Pasquarella’s right, who deflected it before defender Emma Beattie cleared it off the line. However, Beattie’s clearance went straight to Monmouth midfielder Liza Suydam, who belted it past Pasquarella’s left to double the Seawolves’ deficit.

The final nail in the coffin came just 70 seconds later when Suydam broke away, creating a one-on-one opportunity against Pasquarella. Suydam found fellow midfielder Chloe Messer open to her right, who buried it to put the match away.

Stony Brook struggled to create on offense all night, only mustering up four shots. Midfielder Linn Beck led the team with two shots and landed its only shot on target in the 52nd minute. The Hawks took 17 shots and landed seven on goal.

Despite leading the CAA in corner kicks coming into the match, the Seawolves only won one all game compared to Monmouth’s five.

“We just didn’t do enough to advance into the semifinals,” Bischof said. “You have to give all the credit to Monmouth. They are well-coached and the number-three seed for a reason.”

Pasquarella made four saves on the afternoon. Opposite her, Monmouth goalkeeper Cassie Coster picked up her 11th clean sheet of the year by saving the only shot that came her way.

With the win, the Hawks will return to action on Sunday and take on the second-seeded Hofstra Pride on their own home pitch.

Now, Stony Brook will turn its attention to the upcoming offseason, where severe roster turnover may take place. The loss ensured the end of von Drigalski’s time with the team. The fourth-year players — such as defender Kerry Pearson and forward Reilly Rich — all have decisions to make on whether or not to exercise their redshirt from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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