#Seawolves head north for Saturday night tilt at UMass Lowell

Favio Sbarra

Oct. 18, 2013

2013 Stony Brook Men's Soccer

Game #13:
Stony Brook #Seawolves (5-6-1)
vs. UMass Lowell River Hawks (2-12-0)

Saturday, Oct. 19  •  Cushing Field  •  Lowell, Mass.  •  7 p.m.
LIVE: STATS  |  VIDEO (AmericaEast.TV)

Stony Brook #Seawolves (5-6-1, 1-1-1 America East)
Head Coach: Ryan Anatol, third season
Career Record: 26-18-6
Record at SB: same

UMass Lowell River Hawks (2-12-0, 0-3-0 America East)
Head Coach: Christian Figueroa, fourth season
Career Record: 30-26-2
Record at UML: same

The Matchup: The #Seawolves are back on the road for the next two matches, beginning Saturday night at UMass Lowell, the first meeting between these two programs since 1998. This is UMass Lowell's first season as a Div. I program after accepting an invitation to join America East back in February. The only four meetings these two teams had occurred as Div. II programs back in the 1990s when both teams were part of the New England Collegiate Conference. The #Seawolves are 1-2-1 against the River Hawks.

Scouting UMass Lowell: The River Hawks were coming off a 15-win season and reached the third round of the 2012 NCAA Div. II Tournament. But the program is finding Div. I competition a bit more challenging. UMass Lowell has wins over Canisius and Sacred Heart, but has struggled otherwise. The team has lost its first three conference games to Binghamton, Albany and New Hampshire. Defense has been the issue for the team, which has allowed the most goals in America East by far with 31. On offense, Homero Morais leads the team with five goals and four assists.

Last Time Out: Despite another strong match of chances, Stony Brook could not get over the hump against Binghamton, ending the match in a 2-2 draw. After scoring the first goal on a Jorge Torres pooch shot over the defenders from 35 yards out, the #Seawolves let up two goals to go down 2-1. However, Keith McKenna punched in the equalizer in the second half.

Honored for the Game-Winner: After scoring the golden goal in overtime to beat Albany on Oct. 4, Martin Giordano was named America East Player of the Week on Oct. 7. It was Giordano's first-ever Player of the Week honor after garnering one Rookie of the Week honor during his freshman campaign in 2012.

Player of the Week: Will Casey's 66th minute goal vs. Northeastern on Sept. 28 was the game-winner, and it led to his being named America East Player of the Week on Sept. 30. It was Casey's first-ever weekly honor, and he currently leads the team in goals (4) and points (8), which also both rank in the top 10 in America East.

Better Score First: Stony Brook is nearly unbeatable when it is the first team to score in a match. When the #Seawolves go up 1-0, they are 23-2-2 under head coach Ryan Anatol.

Rookie of the Week: After scoring his first collegiate goal in the first half against Sacred Heart on Aug. 30, 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, but fell out of the poll in week two and is looking to make a case for re-entry this weekend.

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: Stony Brook plays its final non-conference match of the regular season Tuesday at Lehigh at 7 p.m.