#Seawolves welcome Rhode Island to LaValle Stadium Friday night

Kofi Ramirez Osei-Tutu

Sept. 12, 2013

2013 Stony Brook Men's Soccer

Game #4:
Stony Brook #Seawolves (1-2-0)
vs. Rhode Island Rams (1-2-0)

Friday, Sept. 13  •  LaValle Stadium  •  Stony Brook, N.Y.  •  7 p.m.
LIVE: STATS  |  AUDIO (WUSB 90.1 FM)  |  VIDEO (AmericaEast.TV)

Stony Brook #Seawolves (1-2-0, 0-0-0 America East)
Head Coach: Ryan Anatol, third season
Career Record: 22-14-5
Record at SB: same

Rhode Island Rams (1-2-0, 0-0-0 Atlantic 10)
Head Coach: Gareth Elliott, first season
Career Record: 43-42-9
Record at URI: 1-2-0

The Matchup: Stony Brook returns home for non-conference action with the Rhode Island Rams, the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the soccer pitch. The Seawolves are looking to regain their offensive confidence after failing to score a goal in two matches last weekend. The Rams opened 2013 with two losses before scoring a 3-1 win over Bryant at home last Sunday. Stony Brook is riding a six-match home winning streak during non-conference play.

Scouting URI: The Rams are in their first season under head coach Gareth Elliott, who played and previously was an assistant coach at Rhode Island. He inherited 14 letterwinners from last season's team that finished 4-11-3 overall and 3-5-1 in the Atlantic 10. Leading returning scorer Mike Casey has not yet played this season, but Matt Sykes has a goal in each of URI's first three games. Thomas Spenser is the Rams goalkeeper and has stopped 74 percent of shots.

Last Time Out: The Seawolves had nearly an equal amount of chances as Drexel in their match last Sunday, but it was Drexel that had an undefendable goal in the eighth minute, and the Dragons tacked on a last-second empty net goal to win 2-0. Stony Brook had four shots on goal, all stopped by Drexel goalkeeper Tyler Affelerbach.

Rookie of the Week: After scoring his first collegiate goal in the first half last Friday, Favio Sbarra was named America East Rookie of the Week on Sept. 3. 

In the Rankings: Stony Brook was No. 8 in the first week of the NSCAA Northeast Region poll. The Seawolves fell out after falling in both games last week.

Welcome Everybody: The Seawolves have a lot of new faces on the roster in 2013 as they brought in 16 newcomers, including 13 true freshmen. The 16 newcomers represent a mix of talent across all positions and from numerous different parts of the world. The 16 newcomers are from six different countries (including the U.S.).

Preseason Pick: Despite losing seven letterwinners to graduation, including three of the top four scorers, the Seawolves are still highly regarded among the America East men's soccer coaches. Stony Brook was picked to finish second in the eight-team conference by the coaches in the preseason poll. The Seawolves received one first-place vote and finished second to defending America East tournament champion UMBC. Last season's regular season champion, Vermont, was third followed by Hartford, New Hampshire, Albany, Binghamton and league newcomer UMass Lowell.

Tough Schedule: The Seawolves annually challenge themselves against stiff competition, and 2013 will be no different. Stony Brook will play six opponents that finished in the top 75 in the NCAA RPI last season, including three teams (Northeastern, Drexel, UMBC) that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Seawolves themselves are a quality matchup for teams as they finished at No. 55 in the NCAA RPI, the highest finish since a program-best No. 45 in 2005.

Going for 4: The Seawolves are in search of their fourth America East conference championship in program history. Since joining the conference in 2001, the Seawolves have qualified for postseason play seven times, reached the semifinals six times, advanced to the title game three times and won all three. Stony Brook will look to gain home field advantage in postseason as the program is undefeated in America East Championship home games (6-0-2).

What a Pro: Former Seawolves All-American and three-time America East Midfielder of the Year Leonardo Fernandes has moved on to become the first Stony Brook men's soccer player to appear in an MLS game since Chris Megaloudis in 2008 (New York Red Bulls) and the first-ever to start an MLS game. After being selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft by the Philadelphia Union, Fernandes won a spot on the roster and then made his first appearance on May 18, 2013 against Chicago. He then made three starts for the Union in early July, playing a career-high 86 minutes against Real Salt Lake on July 3.

Coach Anatol: The Seawolves are in good hands under third-year head coach Ryan Anatol, who has led Stony Brook to back-to-back 10-win seasons in his first two years and took the program to the NCAA Tournament in 2011. The NCAAs have been a staple in his coaching career. He went to the NCAA Tournament eight times as an assistant coach at South Florida and Akron, including an appearance in the quarterfinals in 2008.

Up Next: The Seawolves will host Villanova Sunday at LaValle Stadium at 2 p.m.