Seawolves fans should have a lot to cheer about this fall. Here are three reasons why:
- Football is looking to build on its 10-win 2017 season.
- Three teams — women’s soccer and volleyball, and men’s cross country — are defending conference titles.
- Women’s cross country and men’s soccer expect to be competitive this year.
The Seawolves finished 10-3 in 2017, earning a second-place finish in the nation’s most competitive conference (CAA Football), an 11th overall ranking in the national polls and a quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Division 1 FCS playoffs.
This fall, the team returns to the gridiron with 20 seniors. The offense will feature 10 seniors and eight returning starters including quarterback Joe Carbone, who last season posted one of the best QB seasons in Stony Brook history, and 2017 First Team All-American tight end Cal Daniels.
Sixth-year senior and captain John Haggart, who sat out with injuries his first two seasons, will anchor the defense. He has recorded a trifecta of sacks per game on two occasions in his Stony Brook career.
Other defensive standouts include senior captains Shayne Lawless and Noah McGinty. The linebacking duo combined for 188 total tackles in 2017.
The special teams unit, led by senior punter Marc Nolan, senior kicker Alex Lucansky, junior kicker Nick Courtney and junior snapper Billy Barker, will help control field position and put points up on the board.
Poised to make noise again this autumn is the Stony Brook women’s soccer team, which went 11-11 last year, topping Vermont 2-1 in the America East Championship and earning their first trip to an NCAA Tournament since 2013.
Of the five student-athletes who took home all-conference honors, four are returning, including sophomore goalie and America East Rookie of the Year Sofia Manner, senior defender Kaitlin Loughren, and sophomore forwards Fanny Gotesson and forward Alyssa Francese, who both netted America East All Rookie Team honors.
Men’s soccer, led by coach Ryan Anatol, are coming off a 7-6-5 season that culminated in their fourth straight America East postseason appearance. The Seawolves won five of their first seven contests last year, including posting a 5-2-4 mark at LaValle Stadium. The men’s soccer program will look to its three seniors (Martieon Watson, Serge Gamwanya and Steven Ghitis) to lead the way in 2018.
Last season was noteworthy for first-year volleyball coach Kristin Belzung, who guided the Seawolves to their first NCAA Tournament appearance after the team captured the America East championship with a pair of sweeps over the top two teams in the conference, Albany and Binghamton, respectively.
Senior middle blocker Mckyla Brooks, who was named America East Championship Most Outstanding Performer while garnering All-Conference team honors, returns for the 2018 season along with three of her fellow All-League teammates. Junior setter LeAnne Sakowicz was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team along with junior outside hitter Maria Poole. Sophomore libero Kiani Kerstetter is coming off of an impressive debut, earning America East All-Rookie Team honors in her first season with the Seawolves.
Losing two-year captain Christina Melian, a school record-holder, America East Elite 17 Award winner and finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award is game-changing, but Women’s Cross Country Head Coach Andy Rowan still has a solid core of harriers returning.
The women, fueled by Melian, senior Tiana Guevara, and juniors Annika Sisson and Alexandria Ortega, are coming off a third-place finish at the America East Championship, missing second place by a single point.
Last year’s men’s cross country team won the America East Championship for the second straight year, nudging out a very good UMass Lowell team by three points.
Native New Zealander All-Academic honoree Cameron Avery, a junior, finished second at America East, helped out by sophomore Vann Moffett, who placed in the top ten.
Avery noted, “We now sit on the verge of an historic America East three-peat and clinching our first-ever berth in the NCAA championship race.”
All things considered, the autumn athletics schedule promises to yield a bountiful harvest if you happen to be a Seawolves fan.
— Glenn Jochum