Men’s soccer rolls to 2-0 mark in conference play with 1-0 win over Albany

Conference play offered the Binghamton University men’s soccer team a fresh start and, so far, the Bearcats have capitalized.

Brad Blansky/Contributing Photographer In the 44th minute, senior back Austin Hughes’ header provided all the offense Binghamton would need against Albany.

Binghamton (6-5, 2-0 America East) took down University at Albany at the Plumeri Sports Complex on Saturday night, 1-0, a week after beating University of New Hampshire in the conference opener.

“I thought that the guys did quite well in the game,” BU head coach Paul Marco said. “We worked hard. I’d like to see us finish a few more chances, but overall I thought it was a well competed match that we were on top of and able to get an outcome.”

With 43 minutes of scoreless action in the books, Binghamton senior back Austin Hughes broke the ice, heading a corner kick from senior midfielder Adam Whitehead into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.

It was Whitehead’s team-leading fifth assist of the season. He now has 15 career assists, which is the most recorded by a Binghamton player during its NCAA Division I era.

The Bearcats outshot the Great Danes (2-9, 0-2 America East) 3-1 in the first half and 6-4 in the second.

While the second half saw many more scoring opportunities, Hughes’ goal in the first would prove to be the game-winner as freshman goalkeeper Stefano Frantellizzi recorded one save in his first career solo shutout. Frantellizzi and junior goalie Chris Hayen combined for a shared shutout in a 3-0 win over Adelphi University two weeks ago.

Despite the quiet first half and scoreless second half, Marco said the level of competitiveness was consistent throughout the game.

“[The Great Danes] had tremendous spirit,” Marco said. “They were up for the game. They were trying to get a result and I thought our guys handled the emotion of their team well.”

With the victory, Binghamton has pieced together its first three-game winning streak since 2009, and the team’s 2-0 start in conference action is its best since 2007. Friday night’s win also marked the first time the Bearcats had surpassed the .500 mark since Oct. 31, 2009, and their five consecutive road wins mark their longest such streak since the team made the leap to Division I in 2001.

“I didn’t really know any of that until someone pointed it out on our own website,” Marco said. “I just try to prepare the guys for each match. Our focus has already gone to Stony Brook [University]. It’s only on Stony Brook right now.”

The Seawolves (7-3-1, 1-1 America East) will come into the Bearcats Sports Complex on Wednesday night with a 1-1 conference record. Defending the America East conference championship, Stony Brook is coming off an overtime loss to Boston University, which snapped their six-game winning streak.

“We know that we have a very good opponent coming in on Wednesday,” Marco said. “We know that they’re a quality team. I just think that our guys need to take care of the 90 minutes on Wednesday night and not get too caught up in what we did in the past or what they want to do in the future. We just have to focus on the present game.”

Binghamton and Stony Brook are scheduled to start play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.