Men's soccer kicks off 2012 at FDU Friday
Aug. 23, 2012
Stony Brook, N.Y. - Year one of Ryan Anatol's tenure as Stony Brook's head men's soccer coach was about working hard, playing together as a team and getting better every day. The result was the program's third America East Championship in its history and second in the last three seasons.
Anatol's Seawolves came within a penalty kick of advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, falling to one of the best teams in the nation, Monmouth, after 110 physical minutes of action on the pitch.
Year two will be no different as Anatol will look to take Stony Brook to the next level. His task will be to blend his 13 returners and 10 newcomers into a squad that gets better every day with the hopes of not only repeating as America East champions, but also advancing deeper into the NCAA Tournament and establish the program as a force in the Northeast Region.
Although Stony Brook returns 94 percent of its scoring from last season, winning in 2012 will be no easy task. The Seawolves are facing one of their most challenging schedules in program history. Of the team's 17 regular season games, Stony Brook will be facing nine opponents that finished in the top 100 in the RPI rankings last season, including national championship runner-up Charlotte (Sept. 7), which is ranked No. 8 in the NSCAA Preseason Poll.
Stony Brook does already have some tough competition under its belt in 2012. In spring training, the Seawolves played an exhibition against Connecticut at LaValle Stadium and soundly defeated the Huskies, 4-0. This month, the Seawolves and Huskies battled again, and it ended in a scoreless draw. UConn is ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll.
Stony Brook will be largely dependent on its senior class, which will be going for its third conference championship in four years. The group is arguably the most successful class in program history, boasting numerous accolades. At the head of the group is midfielder Leonardo Fernandes (North Babylon, N.Y.), who is the team captain and the two-time reining America East Midfielder of the Year. He is also a preseason All-America and on the Hermann Trophy Watch List. Fernandes is already the program's all-time leading Div. I goal scorer and will look to climb the all-time, all-divisions list in 2012.
Fellow senior Berian Gobeil Cruz (Montreal, Quebec), last season's America East Striker of the Year, is right behind Fernandes on SB's Div. I goal scoring chart. He will look to follow up his highly-successful 2011 campaign with a strong senior year. Senior Kyle Schlesinger (Selden, N.Y.) has developed a knack for being in the thick of clutch action. He delivered two game-winning goals and assisted on a third last season and was named to the America East Championship All-Tournament team for strong midfield play. Senior Raphael Abreu (New York, N.Y.) is a dangerous goal scorer off the bench. He has 11 goals over the last two seasons and was an All-America East forward in 2010. Seniors Antonio Crespi (North Babylon, N.Y.) and Christian Molinar (Bay Shore, N.Y.) will anchor the Seawolves back line, where Molinar has started each of the last two seasons. Senior Stefan Manz (Bronx, N.Y.) has recorded 13 clean sheets over the last two seasons at goalkeeper.
Stony Brook will open the season at Fairleigh Dickinson Friday night against a talented Knights squad that went 11-5-3 last season. SB's home opener is a week from Friday, Aug. 31, against Lehigh at LaValle Stadium at 7 p.m.
2012 Stony Brook Men's Soccer
Game #1: Stony Brook Seawolves (0-0-0) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (0-0-0)
Fri., Aug. 24 • University Stadium • Teaneck, N.J. • 7 p.m.
Stony Brook Seawolves (0-0-0)
Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (0-0-0)
The Matchup: A pair of New York area clubs square off to get the 2012 season off on the right foot. This is the seventh all-time meeting between the two teams, and the Knights lead the series 5-1. But Stony Brook was the victor in 2011's matchup. At LaValle Stadium, the Seawolves fell behind the Knights 1-0 in the second half before Berian Gobeil Cruz converted a penalty kick in the 70th minute and then Raphael Abreu scored the game-winner in the 84th minute to lift SB to a 2-1 victory.
The Opponent: Fairleigh Dickinson has been picked to finish second in the strong Northeast Conference, behind only Monmouth, who defeated the Knights in the NEC Championship final last season. The Knights finished last season 11-5-3 and return nine starters from the team, including leading scorer Jack McVey, who posted seven goals and four assists in 2011. Jacob Lissek returns in goal after allowing only 16 goals in 19 matches last season. FDU is looking for its first conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth since 2008.
Leo the Lion: Leonardo Fernandes has firmly placed himself in the upper echelon of collegiate soccer. A two-time America East Midfielder of the Year, Fernandes was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List and was named a third-team preseason All-American by College Soccer News. Fernandes has 22 goals and 10 assists in his 56-game career with the Seawolves.
Strong Offense: Stony Brook led America East with 31 goals scored last season and should continue its strong offensive ways. The team returns 94 percent of its goal scoring from last season.
Preseason Pick: Stony Brook goes into 2012 as the favorite to repeat as America East champion. The Seawolves were picked first in the preseason coaches poll, receiving six out of a possible seven first-place votes.
Openers: This game represents the earliest regular season game in Stony Brook history. SB is 21-23-5 all-time in season openers. Last season, the Seawolves battled Lehigh to a scoreless draw.