Stony Brook Men's Soccer Eliminated from NCAAs in Penalty Kicks
Courtesy: Stony Brook Athletic Communications
West Long Branch, N.J. - After a tremendous defensive battle that went scoreless for 110 minutes and saw great saves by both teams, the Stony Brook men's soccer team fell to No. 23 Monmouth in penalty kicks, 5-4, in the first round of the NCAA College Cup Thursday night at The Great Lawn.
Stony Brook ends the season 10-6-4 after earning its third America East Championship in program history. Monmouth advances to play No. 3 seed Connecticut Sunday in Storrs, Conn.
"It was a great match between two great teams," head coach Ryan Anatol said. "I thought we had some great chances tonight, and I thought we did everything we could to put ourselves in position to win. Both goalies had great games."
The match was an incredible defensive battle that featured some outstanding saves. Stony Brook had the better of the opportunities in the first half. Early in the contest junior Berian Gobeil Cruz had a pair of shots saved by Monmouth's Alex Blackburn.
In the second half, both teams went on the offensive and both goalies responded with big plays. Stony Brook junior Charlie Jones (Birmingham, England) had a clear look at the goal but his shot was cleanly saved by Blackburn in the 49th minute. Then from the 57th mount to the 61st minute, Stony Brook goalkeeper Stefan Manz (Bronx, N.Y.) had to make three saves, including a point-blank shot from Kalle Sotka in the middle of the box.
Thirty seconds into the first overtime, Manz had to make a diving stop to his right on another Sotka shot, saving the game. The Seawolves came right back down the field, and sophomore Will Casey (Setauket, N.Y.) took a cross from the far side. He was in the box and shielded by a defender when he smacked the kick towards an open net, but Blackburn raced to chase it down before it could reach the back of the net.
In the second overtime, only Stony Brook had a shot on goal as Gobeil Cruz had a good look at the net that was again taken away by Blackburn.
In penalty kicks, both teams connected on the first two shots - Stony Brook's Kyle Schlesinger (Selden, N.Y.) and Gobeil Cruz converted - but on Stony Brook's third, junior Antonio Crespi (North Babylon, N.Y.) missed high. Although Stony Brook hit its last two, Monmouth went perfect with Anthony Vazquez clinching the victory.
Manz made six saves for Stony Brook and earned his fifth shutout of the season. Blackburn made seven saves and recorded his 13th clean sheet.
Stony Brook has established itself as a strong competitive team and will look to return to the America East Championship and NCAA College Cup in 2012. The Seawolves, under Anatol, will return nine of their 11 starters.