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McMahon plays well in return as Men’s Soccer ties Albany

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Tom McMahon prepares to punt the ball. McMahon led the Seawolves to a scoreless draw against the Great Danes on Saturday night. KEITH OLSEN/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook Men’s Soccer’s senior day match-up against Albany on Saturday night at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium ended in a scoreless tie after 110 minutes of action and a shutout performance by Seawolves redshirt-senior goalkeeper Tom McMahon.

McMahon had been sidelined with a hip flexor injury since the team’s Sept. 16 match against Bryant. The Seawolves are 5-1-2 in matches McMahon started and went 1-3-2 without their seasoned backstop. McMahon was solid in his return, recording four saves and running forward to grab the ball and stop the Great Danes’ attack on several occasions.

“It felt great to get back out,” McMahon said. “I’ve just been sitting and waiting, just day in and day out in training and working and making sure I’m ready to go. It felt good to finally be able to get back on the field and help the team. I think the team honestly did really well with the long balls and that made my job pretty easy, but I was able to do what they asked me to do so I feel good.”

The Seawolves gave their conference rival a physical match throughout the entire game. Both teams combined for 26 fouls and picked up two yellow cards. The first was given to Albany freshman defender Riccardo Iafrate after just 29 seconds of play.

“I thought it was a really good game, competitive,” head coach Ryan Anatol said. “I’m proud of the effort. I’m a little disappointed not to get the three points, but I know the guys put everything into the game tonight, so I have to be proud of that.”

From the very first minutes of the match, it was clear Stony Brook was playing a rivalry game. Both teams were aggressive from the start instead of taking time to feel each other out. Stony Brook and Albany tallied six and four first-half shots respectively.

The Seawolves maintained the edge in possession throughout the match, and even though both teams pressed the ball when attacking, their efforts did not always result in chances in front of the goal. Misplaced passes, wide shots and timely defensive deflections abounded throughout the night as both teams continued to fight for a goal while the clock wound down in regulation.

“I thought our guys battled really well,” Anatol said. “The first half, I felt like we were the better team, we created better chances and they didn’t have much going. They got into the game in the second half, but towards the middle of the game we got control of it and had some chances but they defended well.”

Overtime was a continuation of the same physical play of the first 90 minutes, with four of the game’s 26 fouls coming in the final overtime period.

“All conference games are tight battles, and in our league they’re all difficult games and that’s a big part of it,” Anatol said. “We expected a battle, there’s a lot on the line and both teams gave it everything they’ve got.”

The draw moves Stony Brook’s overall record to 6-5-5 on the season, and 0-3-3 in conference play, while Albany drops to 11-4-1 and 3-2-1 in the same categories. The Seawolves have now gone five matches without a win after starting the season 5-1-1, winning just once in the past nine games.

Stony Brook will look to get back into the win column when the team hits the road to take on UMBC on Wednesday, Nov. 1 in Baltimore, Maryland for its final match of the season. The game begins at 7 p.m.

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