1999 Women's Soccer Season In Review

Fall, 1999

Stony Brook, N.Y. - As the 1999 season opened, head coach Sue Ryan and her team was brimming with excitement. An outstanding recruiting class joined a group that enjoyed one of its best seasons ever in 1998 (11-5-2) and the team seemed poised to do even better in '99.

Over the course of next 19 games, the team battled its way to an 8-11 record. Usually, a sub .500 record can be considered a disappointment, but the 1999 edition of the women's booters were anything but that. The young team, 17 underclassmen on a 21-person roster, battled injuries to their best players and bad breaks all season long and despite finishing the season under the .500 mark, the program once again took another step forward in what undoubtedly will be a bright future for women's soccer at Stony Brook.

On the first day of September, the season got underway on the right foot with a 4-1 win over Iona. After falling behind, 1-0, the Seawolves stormed back with four unanswered tallies beginning with Kristin Lynch's first two collegiate goals. Lynch headed home a Beth Arikian corner kick to even the score at one before Kerri McCabe and Lori Kotzen extended the lead to 3-1. Lynch closed out the scoring with her second of the game, again coming off a corner kick from Arikian. The Lynch-Arikian combination turned out to be a lethal one this year as Lynch went on to score five times this season, all on corner kicks from Arikian.

The next five games saw the Seawolves trade wins and losses before heading into the Holiday Inn Express tournament with a 3-3 record. One of those games was an exciting 1-0 win over St. Peter's. With Stony Brook in control throughout the game, the Seawolves were unable to tally until Larisa Mahns volleyed home a shot from 18-yards out with 3:50 remaining to give SB a dramatic 1-0 win.

In the opening round of the HIE tournament, the Seawolves lost a heartbreaker to American, 2-1. Down 1-0, the Lynch and Arikian combination struck again to get the Seawolves even, but despite outshooting the Eagles, the Seawolves were unable to tally again and midway through the second half, an American direct kick glanced off a SB defender into the goal to lift the Eagles to the win. Undaunted by the loss, Stony Brook bounced back the following day and again dominated offensively, outshooting Marist 20-10. A goal by freshman Sarah Hanover was all the offense they would need in a 1-0 win. Lynch and sophomore back Lisa Mariano earned all-tournament honors.

In their next outing, the Seawolves found some help at attack from a new face. Freshman forward Krisha Zagura stepped up and showed she could be a force on offense. Trailing 1-0 versus Mt. St. Mary's, Zagura drew the Seawolves even with her first collegiate goal less than a minute into the second half after taking a pass from fellow freshman Stephanie Smyrl. Zagura tallied again less than ten minutes later, taking a feed from Rebecca Ferreira for her second goal of the game. Marti Yeager closed out the scoring for Stony Brook in a 3-2 victory. The win put the Seawolves over the .500 mark (5-4) heading into a game against local rival St. John's.

Under the lights in Jamaica, NY, the Red Storm and Seawolves battled for 90 minutes with no one able to score in regulation. Less than four minutes into the overtime, St. John's took advantage of a SB miscue deep in its own end which resulted in a breakway to notch the game-winner. It was the first of three overtime losses this year for Stony Brook, a much different outcome from a year ago. Last year, the extra session was much more kind to SB with the Seawolves going 3-1-2 in overtime.

The team bounced right back against Siena three days later, earning a 2-1 over the MAAC squad. Zagura and Arikian tallied for the Brook. It was Arikian's first goal of the season. Over the course of the next three games, the Seawolves struggled, losing all three in the span of one week. A 3-0 loss to Penn, a 3-1 loss to Hofstra and an 1-0 overtime loss at home to Loyola stung the Seawolves as they fell to 6-8 on the year. The Loyola game was again indicative of the team's struggles in 1999. Despite outshooting the Greyhounds 19-2 and controlling most of the play, Loyola pounced on a mistake in the second overtime to earn a 1-0 win.

Next up was Sacred Heart. Lynch and Zagura once again stood out for Stony Brook each scoring in a 2-0 win over the Pioneers. One week later, the Seawolves looked to put back-to-back wins together for the first time since September but lost another hard fought contest. After taking the lead in the first half on a goal by Mariano, Quinnipiac evened the score just before halftime. The game remained tied at one until the second overtime period when the Braves netted the game-winning game with three minutes remaining in the contest. It was Stony Brook's second double-overtime loss of the year, its third overtime loss overall.

As the final few days of the season approached, excitement grew as the team prepared for a road trip to Florida, the first road trip to the Sunshine State for the women's soccer team since 1990. Taking part in the Florida Atlantic Tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, the Seawolves met UNC-Wilmington in the first round. In one of the most bizarre soccer games in school history, Stony Brook outshot Wilmington 21-7, but fell by the score of 5-2. In what seemed to be a microcosm of the season, the Seawolves controlled play and most of the offense, but could not score and gain control of the game. Wilmington scored on its first two shots of the contest, the first coming almost thirty minutes into the game. In the loss, Arikian enjoyed her finest game as a Seawolf , scoring twice, once off a direct kick and later on a blast from 25-yards away.

In the consolation round, Stony Bounced back for a 3-1 win over host Florida Atlantic. Emily Snyder got the ball rolling, scoring her first collegiate goal in the 12th minute. Eleven minutes later McCabe volleyed home a pass from Mariano for a 2-0 Seawolves lead. Later, Lori Kotzen tallied to extend SB's lead to 3-0. For their efforts, Mariano and Arikian were named to the Florida Atlantic All-Tournament team.

The 1999 campaign was a breakthrough season for Mariano. The 5-2 sparkplug from Naugatuck, CT, began to assume a leadership role with this year's team. She often led by example as her attacking, aggressive style rubbed off on her teammates. She also got more involved in the offense this year, using her speed to jump up into the attack and score two goals on the year. The season ended on a overcast Tuesday afternoon in November against Columbia. The Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Zagura got the Seawolves even in the first half with her sixth goal of the season. She finished the season as the team's leading scorer with six goals and one assist. Columbia broke open a close game in the second half, getting two goals en route to a 3-1 win.

In the end, the final season record was 8-11, but with a little luck things could have been much different. Of the eleven losses, five were by one goal, three in overtime. A simple bounce here or there and the final record may have been 11-8 or better. Despite the record, Coach Ryan acknowledges that the team made major strides this year. "Although the record doesn't show it, our team was much better at the end of this season than it was last year," Ryan explained. "The team continued to get better and better as the season wore on as we came together as a group late in the year. If the players continue to work hard for next season and we can have a little more luck healthwise, we will be fine next season."

The Seawolves were indeed hit hard by injuries this season and it was a big reason for SB dropping six of their last eight games. Freshman Jenny Fontanetta was lost for the year five games into the season with mononucleosis, Mariano missed three games (concussion), Lynch missed two games (ankle), Kotzen missed two games (broken wrist), Lori Nelson missed one game (hip), Janine Rollins (knee) missed the entire season and Mahns battled a leg injury for the last six weeks of the season. At times, the Seawolves were missing three starters from the lineup but the Seawolves made the most of what appeared to be a very difficult situation.

Newcomers began to develop and assume major roles on the team. Zagura worked her way in the starting lineup midway through the season and wound up leading the team in scoring. Snyder started all 19 games in her first season as did Arikian (3g, 6a) at the midfield spot. Arikian's six assists equaled the seventh-best single-season performance in school history. B Kristin Baker made tremendous growth on defense. Arguably the team's most improved player, Baker became a standout at back, starting the final ten games of the year and solidifying herself as a player for the future.

Lori Nelson recorded three shutouts in her first season in goal for the Seawolves and Renee Pelletier notched a shutout in her only start of the season. M Stephanie Smyrl and F Sarah Hanover came off the bench and consistently gave good contributions all year long.

One drawback to the conclusion of the 1999 season was saying goodbye to a trio of seniors who have meant so much to the women's soccer program. Audra Dutkowsky (18 starts in '99), Melissa Eigen (71 career starts) and Larisa Mahns closed out their careers in '99. These senior captains helped build a team that posted a 5-10-2 record in their first year to a team that is ready to go to another level as they graduate this spring. Their impact was dramatic and they will surely be missed.

As the Seawolves look towards the year 2000, they can build upon the lessons learned in 1999. Although Stony Brook will again be a young team next year, only two seniors return, the players are a seasoned group with plenty of game experience. Returning starters include five sophomores who made major contributions in their first seasons and will be counted on for even bigger things for 2000. If coach Ryan puts together another great recruiting class like last season, the Seawolves will be positioned for success as the millennium begins. And with a little luck, it will come quickly.