Junior Leonardo Fernandes scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Stony Brook men's soccer team to a 4-1 victory over Hartford to win the 2011 America East Championship and earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. It is Stony Brook's third conference championship, joining the 2005 and 2009 teams.
Fernandes was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and he joins senior Kyle McTurk (Hauppauge, N.Y.), junior Kyle Schlesinger (Selden, N.Y.) and sophomore Will Casey (Setauket, N.Y.) on the All-Tournament team. Fernandes' five point night breaks the America East Championship record, and his eight points in the tournament ties the conference record.
The Seawolves will now await their first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, which takes place on Thursday, Nov. 17. The selection show takes place Monday at 4:30 p.m. exclusively on NCAA.com.
"It's all about the journey and all about getting better," head coach Ryan Anatol said. "Tonight it paid off. We're going to enjoy this championship tonight and then prepare ourselves for the NCAA Tournament."
Casey got the Seawolves off on the right foot just 3:29 into the match as Fernandes smacked a free kick into the box. The ball found its way to senior Mame Samb (Dakar, Senegal), and he kicked it to Casey who got a clear shot at the goal and put it past Hartford's Luke Citriniti.
Hartford responded with a goal in the 17th minute when David Bernhardsson was fouled just outside the box. His free kick sailed into the top left corner of the goal on the far side from 30 yards out to tie the match.
Just before halftime, Stony Brook regained the advantage as Fernandes took a played ball from junior Raphael Abreu (New York, N.Y.) and easily put the ball into the net from the middle of the field. Stony Brook went into halftime up 2-1.
Just 4:33 into the second half, Fernandes gave the Seawolves a two-goal cushion when a played ball in the box caused a collision that knocked down Citriniti. Junior Berian Gobeil Cruz (Montreal, Quebec) played the ball to Fernandes, who had an open net from the far side. He sailed the kick across into the back of the net on the near side for his second tally of the night.
Stony Brook went up 4-1 when Schlesinger took a long pass from junior Christian Molinar (Bay Shore, N.Y.), outran his defender and went one-on-one with the goalkeeper and pushed it past him.
Hartford scored a goal late, but the Seawolves defense held the Hawks to just five shots on goal for the night.