The chances of the Binghamton University women’s soccer team reaching the America East tournament have decreased once again. Following a 1-0 loss to Boston University on Sunday, the Bearcats (6-8-1, 0-5-1 America East) must now beat both of their two remaining competitors to maintain any chance of obtaining a postseason berth.
The Terriers (11-5-1, 7-0-0 AE), ranked No. 6 in the NSCAA Northeast poll, managed only one goal on the Bearcats, scoring one minute and seven seconds into the second half. On the deciding play, Boston junior midfielder Megan McGoldrick sent the ball down the left side. A Binghamton defender deflected the pass straight to freshman midfielder Clare Pleuler, who broke toward the middle and released a shot from 19 yards away that banked off the far right post and fell in.
“[The game] went pretty well, but in the second half we had just one momentary focus lapse on tactics,” Binghamton head coach Sarah McClellan said. “But we really got some good chances and I thought better chances.”
The Bearcats got their first chance just 51 seconds into the first half, when senior forward Jamie Holliday sent a corner kick into the middle. The ball was collected by senior midfielder Emily Pape and sent sailing to the goal out of the Boston keeper’s reach, but it went just wide.
Another good chance came in the 64th minute, when senior forward Kerry Sullivan received a pass from senior forward Sarah Furminger. Sullivan dribbled the ball into the box on the right and sent a high shot from 18 yards that Terrier junior goalie Andrea Green tipped over the crossbar.
The last chance came during the game’s final minutes. Holliday sent a dangerous ball into the box, and with freshman forward Samantha Crane rushing toward it, Green punched it clear before knocking Crane to the ground in the collision.
“We were pretty happy with the overall team’s defending and organization and we were able to get some attacks in,” McClellan said. “It was one of the better games we’ve played this month and it definitely built our confidence to play such a strong team.”
Following their lone goal, the Terriers led an uneventful second half compared to the Bearcats, who outshot their visitors eight to four after the break. In total, the two teams were even with 11 shots and four saves. Additionally, six of Boston’s shots were off target, while only five of Binghamton’s were. The Terrier’s stats weren’t as high as they have been in their past games.
“We limited Boston to zero corner kicks and that’s something that I think they’re probably top in the country in,” McClellan said.
The team also celebrated Senior Day prior to the game, honoring the 12 graduating seniors on the team: Brittany Walsh, Meghan McCarty, Elena Solazzo, Kerry Sullivan, Candice Rowland, Jamie Holliday, Meghan Campbell, Emily Pape, Sarah Furminger, Amanda Rittmeier, Taylor McCavanagh and Alyssa Staubitz.
The Bearcats’ final two regular season games are set for this Thursday at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Sunday at the University of Vermont.
“We’ve got to focus on these next two games to get us into the playoffs,” McClellan said. “[The other teams are] going to be trying to clinch a spot, so they’re going to be competitive battles and we’re going to have to really put everything on the field in each of the games.”
Even if the Bearcats win each of their final two contests, they are not guaranteed to make the conference tournament. Vermont, Stony Brook University or University at Albany would need to lose out for Binghamton to steal the No. 6 seed. If all of those three teams win or tie, Binghamton will be eliminated from postseason contention.
Despite the dire situation, McClellan said her team plays well under pressure.
“If you look at last year we were in a similar place,” she said. “Our team tends to really pick it up and get after it when it comes down to the wire.”
The Bearcats are set to take on UMBC at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Retriever Soccer Park.