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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook men’s soccer defeats Binghamton, clinches spot in America East championships

The clock struck noon on a chilly Saturday afternoon as the men’s soccer team, coming off of a 2-1 loss to Vermont last week, took the field against Binghamton University to safeguard a spot in the America East championships. An athletic battle full of inconsistent leads, breath-stopping goals, and complete action throughout the hundred minutes of gameplay, the Seawolves emerged victorious.

Freshman midfielder, Alejandro Fritz, provided stellar offense throughout the game. He assisted the first goal of the afternoon, scored by senior forward Raphael Abreu, less than ten minutes into the first half. This was a promising start to the game, especially because the visiting team wasn’t a high scoring team.

Yet, the Seawolves couldn’t hold the 1-0 lead for long. Less than five minutes later, the Binghamton Bearcats retaliated with a long kick assisted by defender Trey Jasenski to midfielder Adam Whitehead, and immediately tied the game at 1. This pattern of gaining the lead and then losing it was evident on both sides: Fritz displayed his talent with about 20 minutes left in the first half by scoring outside the mid-right post unassisted. The game was now at 2-1, with the Seawolves in the lead, although it did seem that senior midfielder Berian Gobeil might have been injured during that important play to maintain contention. He returned in the second half, seemingly healthy, yet made many failed attempts to score in the latter of the half.

Keeping the Seawolves on their feet, the Bearcats’ defender Jasenski struck again with a long-range shot off the crossbar of the goal, tying the game at 2, and eliminating Stony Brook’s lead for quite some time. While it seemed that the Seawolves were playing well throughout the game, it was blatantly visible to see their performance weaken as the second half of the grueling battle began. About three minutes into the second half, the Bearcats’ Jake Keegan scored off of Adam Whitehead’s assist, leading Binghamton 3-2, and scored off of Whitehead and Keegan about twenty minutes later when forward Steven Celeste struck a header into the net.

“Half time, we had gone up two, and we felt like we gave them their best opportunities. They’re a team that wanted to oppress us, so we wanted to create a space behind them,” said Coach Ryan Anatol.

Down by 2 throughout a majority of the second half, the Seawolves were showered with opportunities to make a come back, yet repeatedly failed to do so. After Keegan’s goal, the Seawolves had an opportune moment to score off of a corner kick by freshman midfielder Martin Giordano, but wasted the kick by a hit off the crossbar. What was most shocking was senior midfielder Berian Gobeil’s many missed attempts at scoring goals. “Yeah, he missed chances, but I felt as though Berian was a key component to get back in the game. We were getting a lot of success off him getting the ball,” coach Anatol said.

Despite the lack of offense in the second half, senior goalkeeper Stefan Manz put all effort in making sure that the Bearcats’ lead stay put. Approximately seventy minutes into the game, Manz made a spectacular save that protected the Seawolves from what could have been a three point deficit. A save that sparked the momentum that swept the Seawolves along, the confidence and agility evident in the first half suddenly seemed to reappear. Seventy-minutes into the game, senior midfielder Leonardo Fernandes scored off of a free kick from the left. Time was running out, and the Seawolves seemed to still waste opportunities to make goals, although the goalkeeper provided stellar defense to keep the deficit at one.

With forty-four seconds left in the second half, Fritz showed off once again, and scored, tying the game at four, and also tying the record for goals scored in a championship game, as well as scoring the most points in a championship game.

“Honestly, I can’t even remember how I did it…I just hit it, and I saw that it was gonna be a goal. I stayed composed, and put it away. That gave us another opportunity to prove that we are a better team than they are,” said a modest Fritz. He continued, “We had great energy all over the game, we had some mistakes but we responded really well. We’re really happy right now.”

In overtime, Gobeil still showed struggles in trying to score, and Manz continued to show excellent defense, particularly when he saved a strong head shot from the Bearcats.

Yet, despite the struggles in the latter of the game, Seawolves cease to disappoint.

With fifty-two seconds left on the clock, junior midfielder Will Casey scored the winning goal off of a free kick in the box.

“We hung in there and we got it done in the end. A lot of hard work, everyone worked hard, and we just responded well,” Casey said. “You’re gonna miss chances, and you just gotta keep going.”

Seawolves won it, 5-4, in overtime. When asked about how Coach Anatol felt about the win against a relatively weakly offensive team, he replied, “A struggling team- you never wanna give four goals up but I’m happy that we responded, we wanna go into games and give up less goals. We’re happy with how we responded.”

In regards to the performance in the second half, Coach Anatol was rational, but confident: “Yeah it was a wild game. To go up twice then give up the lead and come out of the second half down two. The guys knew that they had to keep pushing and create a lot of chances.  We knew that if we got in one we would be back in the game. That was really the focus.”

Although the team lost to University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) a few weeks ago, they will be facing each other once again in the America East championship. “UMBC, it’s gonna be a good game,” Anatol said. “They’re tough, they’ll defend well.

We gotta go in that game and eliminate their chances and opportunities. We’ll take the momentum full swing.” The men are ready to fight as well. “That was my greatest game ever,” said Fritz. “We really have to focus on our mistakes that we gave up, and if we correct them, I’m pretty sure that we can play better next time.”

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