For the second time in three years, Stony Brook is the America East men's soccer champion. The second-seeded Seawolves scored three unanswered goals and upended fifth-seeded Hartford, 4-2, Sunday night at LaValle Stadium to claim their third America East title since 2005.
Leonardo Fernandes set a single-game tournament record for points, scoring twice and adding an assist, and earned the championship's Most Outstanding Player honors. He also tied the tournament record for points with eight, tallying three goals and two assists in two games.
With the win, the Seawolves advance to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship and will learn their NCAA draw when the bracket is revealed Monday at 4:30 p.m. The selection show will be broadcast live on NCAA.com.
Stony Brook (10-6-3), which is 9-3-1 over its last 13 games, started the scoring early when Will Casey gave his team a 1-0 lead in the game's fourth minute. The play started off a free kick from 25 yards out on the right side by Fernandes, the America East Striker of the Year, who sent the ball towards net where Mame Samb redirected it to Casey, who finished off his second goal of the season.
Hartford (8-9-4) evened the score just 13 minutes later off a free kick of its own. David Bernhardsson, a first-team All-America East forward, crushed a shot from 30 yards out that went into the left side of the net and tied the game 1-1 in the 17th minute.
The Seawolves, who tied a championship record with seven goals in its two games, would regain the lead with just under four minutes left in the first half. In the 42nd minute, Berian Gobeil Cruz sent a cross into the box where Fernandes sent it past Hartford goalkeeper Luke Citriniti to give his team 2-1 halftime lead.
Fernandes added his second goal of the game and ninth of the season just six minutes into the second frame as he buried the ball into an open net in the 41st minute after Citriniti went down after making a play on Berian Gobeil Cruz' cross. Stony Brook, which will be making its third NCAA appearance, in the 79th minute when Kyle Schlesinger took a feed from Christian Molinar and went in on goal uncontested before burying his third score of the year.
The Hawks, who were making their first America East title game appearances since 1999, got one back in the 84th minute. Anthony Santaga picked up a loose ball and beat Stony Brook keeper Stefan Manz, but the Seawolves held on for the win.
Joining Fernandes on the All-Championship team were teammates Casey, Schlesinger and Kyle McTurk, Hartford's Atobra Ampadu, Damion Lowe and Anthony Santaga, University at Albany's Anthony DeSalvo and Pomare Te Anau, Boston University's Dominique Badji and Kelvin Madzongwe, UMBC's Dan Welsh and University of Vermont's Yannick Lewis.
2011 America East Men's Soccer Championship
Quarterfinals - Saturday, November 5
No. 6 Albany 3, at No. 3 Vermont 2
No. 5 Hartford 1, at No. 4 UMBC 0
Semifinals - Wednesday, November 9
at No. 2 Stony Brook 3, Albany 2
Hartford 1, at No. 1 Boston U. 0
Final - Sunday, November 13
at Stony Brook 4, Hartford 2