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The Statesman

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Men’s soccer earns draw with #21 Harvard

Play to the final whistle.

That mantra, repeated by youth coaches throughout the country, will be ringing in the ears of the Stony Brook Seawolves after a last-minute goal allowed the #21 Harvard Crimson to escape with a 1-1 double overtime draw on Friday night at LaValle Stadium.

“If we made one more play, we win the game,” Stony Brook head coach Cesar Markovic said. “But it wasn’t to be.”

A 48th minute Berian Gobeil Cruz penalty gave Stony Brook the lead but Harvard scored with less than a minute on the clock to send the game to overtime, where no one could settle it and the game finished 1-1.

Just after the half, Cruz beat the Harvard goalkeeper to a through ball, touching it around him. But the Crimson backstop dragged Cruz to the turf, and Cruz put him the wrong way on the ensuing penalty to give the Seawolves a 1-0 lead.

Then with 37.9 seconds left in regulation time, Harvard’s Brian Rogers equalized for the visitors, hitting a shot that took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net to force overtime.

Markovic said that the outcome, though bittersweet because of the late equalizer, shows that Stony Brook is among the top teams in the country.

“I think we’re right there with all those teams,” Markovic said. “We’ve played three or four teams in the top 20… if we haven’t outplayed them it’s been a pretty even game. I think it says we’re right there, we’re knocking on the door. We’re very close.”

The opening period of the game was slow, as both sides felt each other out. With neither team seriously threatening the other’s goal, Stony Brook had the best, and perhaps only, chance of the first half.

In the 31st minute, Cruz (Montreal, Quebec) got on the end of a long pass behind the Harvard defense and was dragged to the ground for what appeared to be a Stony Brook penalty kick.

But impossibly, the referee ignored appeals for a red card, giving the Seawolves only a free kick just outside the area and failing to book the Harvard defender.
Mihailo Pavlisin (Subotica, Serbia) swung his shot just high, smacking it off the football crossbar.

The teams went into the dressing rooms at a scoreless tie.

It didn’t take long for Stony Brook to make the breakthrough, with senior Greg Tinari (Holbrook, N.Y.) finding Cruz in the area in the 48th minute when the sophomore earned the penalty.

It was a more open second half, with Stony Brook leading the way. The Seawolves took 10 shots to Harvard’s four in the second period.

In the 56th minute, Harvard’s Richard Smith, who had been booked in the first half for pulling back sophomore Raphael Abreu (New York, N.Y.) on a breakaway, fouled Cruz hard from behind near midfield. The referee stopped the clock to issue a booking but instead Stony Brook senior defender Mladen Ramic (Belgrade, Serbia) drew the referee’s attention and was carded for his protests, saving Smith a sending off.

Then with about ten minutes to go in the game, a Leonardo Fernandes (North Babylon, N.Y.) free kick was parried away by the Harvard keeper and fell to freshman Will Casey (Setauket, N.Y.), whose volleyed effort at sealing the game was blocked away.

Harvard would pull itself level in the final minute when Brian Rogers took a shot from about 15 yards that eluded everyone and fell into the Stony Brook goal, stunning the crowd of more than 700.

Harvard took the momentum to overtime, taking five shots over the two sessions. The Seawolves were only able to manage one shot that missed the target.

Stony Brook’s next game is at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 26 at LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook against Quinnipiac.

Markovic said with two games in three days, some new faces will get a chance to make their mark on the game, adding that depth is one of the attributes he strives for in his squad.

“We’ve got a lot of good players, and we’ve got to find a way to get them on the field,” Markovic said. “We’re willing to explore a lot of different things.”

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