SBU women fall to Maryland in NCAA soccer

Stony Brook's Larissa Nysch leaps into the arms

Stony Brook's Larissa Nysch leaps into the arms of Tessa Devereaux in celebration during the America East Championship final. (Nov. 4, 2012) (Credit: Steve McLaughlin)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- It's 2012, the Year of the Seawolf, and anything can happen for Stony Brook athletics.

For much of Saturday night's NCAA first-round game at Maryland, it looked like the magic would continue for Stony Brook's women's soccer team, thanks to the skills of goalkeeper Ashley Castanio. But Maryland scored two goals in the final six minutes and eliminated Stony Brook, 2-0.

Castanio made nine saves and stonewalled Maryland on numerous scoring chances. The Terrapins finally broke through in the 85th minute when Katherine Mumby scored from 22 yards out. It was the 24th shot of the game for the Terrapins, who outshot SBU 25-4.

"[Castanio] always comes up big," Stony Brook senior midfielder Sa'sha Kershaw said. "It was not a matter of anything else, we knew she would step up."

Hayley Brock tacked on an insurance goal two minutes later to complete the scoring.

Maryland (14-6-2) advances to Friday's second round at Stanford, where it will face Denver (16-2-4), which beat Colorado College, 3-1. Stony Brook finishes at 12-7-3.

Castanio, who shut out Hartford in the America East championship, was brilliant throughout the first half, and most of the second half. Maryland outshot Stony Brook 11-1 in the first half, but the game stood tied at zero.

"Soccer's an interesting sport," Stony Brook coach Sue Ryan said. "I told the team before the game and at halftime, 'We only need one chance.' It's not something where you have to wear a team down getting yards. We need one goal. And that's what we were working toward -- that one shot that can go in."

That chance never arrived. Stony Brook managed just one shot on goal, by Stella Norman.

Maryland took nine corner kicks compared with SBU's one. Castanio made a point-blank save with 10:45 remaining. Thirty seconds later, SBU had its best scoring chance, but the open shot went wide on the other end.

Maryland was seeded fourth in the region and is ranked No. 9 in the nation. Stony Brook entered the America East Tournament as the sixth seed, the lowest-ranked team to reach the playoffs, but went on the road and upset the league's top three teams to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

The run was just the latest in a season in which numerous Stony Brook squads have found success on the national stage. That might not be a coincidence.

"I think winning is contagious," Ryan said. "The more people win, the more it seems like, 'Wow, that's really fun and exciting. We want to do that, too.' Our team specifically, I think our unit is better than the individuals. Our whole theme is, our family versus everyone else's team."

Added Kershaw: "All the athletes know who you are and they want to congratulate you on everything you do well. You want to cheer on the other sports to do what you've done. It's really exciting."

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