Carrying a 2-6-2 record into America East play, the Binghamton men’s soccer team hoped for a fresh start. Vermont had other ideas, though, and treated the Bearcats to a 2-0 defeat at Virtue Field in the conference opener for both teams.
Binghamton (2-7-2, 0-1 America East) has not won since Sept. 13.
Second-half goals by Vermont freshman midfielder Jackson Dayton and freshman forward Brian Wright propelled the Catamounts (7-1-3, 1-0 AE) past the Bearcats, who did not capitalize on a few solid first-half chances.
The most favorable opportunity came in the 42nd minute when freshman midfielder Mike Kubik rebounded a miss by senior forward Marts Reid-Warden. Kubik’s shot, however, sailed high. Junior forward Steven Celeste registered three shots in the opening nine minutes, but none found the back of the net.
“We started the match pretty well,” BU head coach Paul Marco said. “We were on top of the game in the first half … we had better opportunities to score goals. They didn’t have much in the first half, and when halftime came I was a little disappointed that we weren’t leading at least one-nil.”
After the scoreless first half, the Catamounts took control in the second, outshooting the Bearcats, 9-3. The Bearcats were unable to get into a groove, while Vermont went on the attack as a myriad Catamount forwards opened fire on BU sophomore keeper Stefano Frantellizzi, who finished with five saves on the day. The Catamounts dominated in the first 10 minutes of the second half, scoring both of their goals during that span.
In the 52nd minute, Dayton took a pass from freshman forward Bernard Yeboah on the left side of the penalty box and struck in the near post for the first score of the game. It was Dayton’s first career goal.
The Catamounts gave themselves some insurance just four minutes later when Wright chipped the ball over Frantellizzi and into the net after a broken play. Freshman forward Shane Haley set up on the goal on a quick no-look pass to earn the assist.
“[The Catamounts] raised their level of competitiveness,” Marco said. “They fought a little harder. The difference in the game, I thought, was their two strikers who started to impose themselves physically on our backs, and we had a hard time dealing with that.”
Junior midfielder Ben Nicholson, who currently has a 4.0 GPA, was originally scheduled to take the LSAT exam in Binghamton on Saturday morning, but was able to take it to Burlington as a standby. After taking the exam, Nicholson came back to anchor BU’s midfield later in the afternoon to complete a whirlwind day.
The Bearcats will now work to end a three-game losing skid and a six-game winless streak when they host UMass Lowell during homecoming weekend. The River Hawks (2-9, 0-1 AE), in their first season in the America East, are scheduled to face NJIT on Wednesday.
Binghamton ranks sixth in the America East with 0.64 goals per game. In order to get back on track, Marco said the Bearcats will need to regain their offensive footing.
“Once we find that guy who can start scoring goals for us, things will all change quickly,” Marco said. “We’re looking forward to a great week of training, and we’re really looking forward to playing Lowell on Saturday.”
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Bearcats Sports Complex.