It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Binghamton University women’s soccer team. After posting a 6-3 nonconference record, the Bearcats (6-7-1, 0-4-1 America East) have not won since Sept. 16, and their chances of reaching the America East tournament have dwindled significantly.
In order to play postseason soccer, Binghamton needs to win at least two of its remaining three down the stretch. And even then, the Bearcats would need University of New Hampshire, The University of Maine or University at Albany to go winless in the regular season’s final weeks.
With the pressure riding high on Binghamton, Boston University is set to visit the Bearcats Sports Complex this weekend. The Terriers (9-5-1, 5-0 America East), whom America East has banned from the conference tournament following the university’s decision to leave for the Patriot League at the end of the school year, have yet to lose a conference game. They have also won the past five conference championships.
Last season, the Terriers shattered Binghamton’s hopes for the America East title, beating the Bearcats 2-1 in the conference semifinals. This season, Boston has accumulated 26 goals, 228 shots and 55 saves, compared to Binghamton’s 15 goals, 162 shots and 59 saves.
Boston junior forward Madison Clemens won America East Player of the Week last week after scoring three goals in two games. She holds a team-high record of seven goals this season, while Binghamton senior forward Sarah Furminger carries a team-high five goals into the match. Both players rank among the conference’s top five goal-scorers.
“Boston is a strong team and they have some really talented players,” Binghamton head coach Sarah McClellan said. “We tend to match up pretty well against them and we tend to rise to the occasion to play against the team.”
While Boston has dominated the conference tournament recently, the Bearcats last earned the America East Championship title in 2004. They have still qualified for the tournament in seven of the past eight years, though, reaching the semifinals in four out of the past five.
Though recent games have not gone in Binghamton’s favor, McClellan said that the stats don’t show how hard the team is playing.
“I actually think that our forwards are getting the ball more and they’re taking care of the ball and they’re creating chances,” she said. “We’re not finishing the chances, so that’s something we need to get on the other end of heading into these final games, but the fact that we’re getting the chances and we’re being dangerous in our attack is something that we’re doing quite well with.”
The Bearcats do have two advantages that could push them closer to finishing on those chances: It is their homecoming weekend, and they have a seven-day hiatus between last Sunday’s game against Maine and this weekend’s upcoming matchup with the Terriers. Homecoming weekend generally generates more of a crowd than any other home game does.
“Getting the week off here will help us to get back on track and to get our rhythm back and our feet under us,” McClellan said. “[The game will] be exciting because it’s homecoming weekend and it’s also our senior day.”
The Bearcats have 12 seniors, so McClellan said she expects a lot of emotion and a lot of energy.
“We’re definitely looking forward to it,” McClellan said.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Bearcats Sports Complex.