Facing ranked competition for the second time this season, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team was edged by No. 19 Colgate in a 10-9 loss that came down to the final seconds.
The close loss featured an offense powered by senior attack Matt Springer and junior midfielder J.T. Hauck, who both contributed five points, and a defense headed by junior goalkeeper Max Schefler, who tallied a season-high 13 saves in the contest.
The star for the Raiders (6-1) was freshman goalie Brandon Burke. Though Burke allowed nine goals, he saved 15 of the Bearcats’ shots. The Colgate defense was one of the best in the country coming into the game Saturday, allowing just more than five goals per game.
Hauck put the Bearcats (2-4) on the board early, but the hosts couldn’t keep the lead through the quarter. Junior attack Ryan Walsh, Colgate’s leading scorer, put away two goals in the first quarter, matching his team’s offensive output thus far to start the second with a 4-1 advantage.
With 11:03 left in the first half, Springer pulled the Bearcats within two with his 14th score of the season, a team high. Hauck followed up with a five-hole goal to bring the Bearcats within one. But the Raiders responded instantly to retake their two-point lead.
Springer opened scoring yet again in the third quarter, and the momentum propelled BU to add another three. Springer’s fourth goal of the game regained the lead, 7-6, with 2:41 remaining in the third. The Bearcats’ efficient defense in the final minute of the quarter allowed them to carry that lead into the final frame, but it wouldn’t last.
Early in the last quarter, Walsh evened the score at seven. BU junior attack Tucker Nelson then worked his way through the tight Raider defense to give the Bearcats their last lead of the game. As the Bearcats looked to apply more pressure to the stingy Raider defense, Springer looked to extend his team’s lead to two on a 2-on-1 chance for the attack, but Burke would negate the shot. Burke’s save would lead to a lengthy Raider possession that granted the visitors the opportunity to pull away. The Raiders scored three times over the next four minutes, pulling ahead, 10-8.
With 0:52 seconds remaining, Springer scored on a bouncer from the edge of the crease to pull the Bearcats to within one. On the ensuing face-off, BU junior midfielder Alex Doerflein won the ground ball against the second best face-off man in the country, Colgate junior midfielder Alex Kinnealey.
“Several guys worked in on the face-offs today, Alex [Doerflein] just came down and won a big face-off. It’s 1-on-1 for the face-off, and he got a big ground ball there,” assistant coach Matt Francis said.
With 14 seconds left, BU worked the ball behind the net and to both sides of the crease. The Bearcats lost possession with fewer than 10 seconds, but senior midfielder Michael Antinozzi recovered and drove to the net looking to balance the score. But time expired before they got a shot, and though the play was promising, the Raiders’ defense stood strong when it needed it most.
“We had our best feeder on the ball behind, Tucker Nelson,” Francis said. “We were looking to have him dodge with his head up trying to get Matt Springer open inside.”
The Bearcats have a full week to prepare for their March 23 matchup with Air Force. This will be the first meeting between the two teams. The Falcons (4-3) are coming off of a 15-12 win over Jacksonville.
First face-off is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bearcats Sports Complex.