Following a season-highlighting eight-game unbeaten streak, the Binghamton University men’s soccer team has now dropped two straight as they followed last week’s overtime loss with a 4-0 rout at the hands of the first-place Boston University Terriers. Boston clinched the America East regular season title with the win Wednesday night.
Binghamton head coach Paul Marco thought his team looked good Wednesday morning, but the Terriers didn’t seem to care once the game started.
From the opening touch, Boston looked like a team on a mission as it dominated play for much of the first half, outshooting the Bearcats 12-2 including six corner kicks in the opening period. However, due to the efforts of the Binghamton defense, the Terriers were unable to convert their chances into goals for the first 40 minutes.
But the next 50 were a different story.
With just under five minutes remaining in the first half, Boston senior Aaron O’Neal took a pass from junior Michael Bustamante and fired past Binghamton redshirt-freshman goalie Chris Hayen to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
‘It was disappointing that we had played so hard for 40 minutes, and to go into the locker room 0-0 would have been fitting for us,’ Marco said. ‘So going into the locker room 1-0, down, we then needed to chase the game to get a goal back, so that opened the team up a little bit.’
During the break, he discussed with his team the need to be more confident with the ball. He said that when the Bearcats were able to work well with the ball and move it quickly, they put Boston ‘into areas that they weren’t very happy and weren’t very comfortable with. When we didn’t do that, we just gave the ball back to them and then they were counterattacking us. I thought that we did a little bit better to start the second half.’
But the Terriers picked up right where they left off as junior Ben Berube took advantage of a Binghamton defensive breakdown quickly following the intermission and fired in his seventh goal of the season, assisted by Bustamante.
Minutes later, Binghamton senior Scott Zobre gave the Bearcats a glimmer of hope as he streaked toward the Boston net, but his attempt was broken up by the Terrier defense. Boston cleared the ball and ended the chance.
As the clock ticked past 30 minutes left to play, Boston was given a gift as senior Ryan Shea crossed a ball high from the left side of the field towards the Binghamton goal. Hayen reached up to deflect it but accidentally tipped it behind him and into his own net as he gave Boston its third goal of the game.
‘Those things happen,’ said Marco, who has been pleased with Hayen’s performance in his first year as Binghamton’s goalie.
Just as the Bearcats thought the beat-down in Beantown was coming to a finish, Boston freshman Vicente Colmenares found himself with a fellow Terrier in front of the Binghamton net and capitalized on the prime scoring opportunity for his first career goal, putting the icing on the cake for Boston as they took the game 4-0.
The Terrier attack was a fierce one throughout the game as they outshot the Bearcats 22-9. Out of those 22 shots, nine were on target compared to Binghamton’s two, and while four of Boston’s nine found the back of the net, both Bearcat chances were stopped with relative ease.
‘At the end of the day we made a couple of crucial mistakes that cost us some goals and they [Boston] did a good job of finishing. Disappointing, but looking back at the game I think it was a result that we let get away from us,’ Marco said.
The coach also noted that upon returning to Binghamton early Thursday morning, the team was ready for training that afternoon.
‘That’s a good sign,’ he said. ‘When you fall off the horse, you get right back on it.’
With the win, Boston (10-4-1, 5-1-0 AE) secured the No. 1 seed in the America East conference tournament, scheduled to kick off Nov. 6, ensuring them home field advantage throughout the tournament. Of late, the Bearcats’ fortune has not been as promising.
Plenty went wrong for Binghamton (4-6-4, 2-2-2 AE) as a result of last Saturday’s overtime loss to Stony Brook. The Bearcats’ seemingly unbreakable stranglehold on home-field advantage slipped away, their eight-game unbeaten streak was snapped and perhaps most importantly, they relinquished sole possession of second place in the America East standings.
With the Wednesday loss to Boston, they have now dropped into a tie for fourth place in the conference with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
Binghamton will try to reassert its dominance at home as it hosts those very Wildcats on Saturday for a crucial matchup that is sure to have an impact on seeding as the calendar turns to November and playoff time.
Marco expects a well-disciplined and competitive UNH squad, but he also said he thinks his players will be prepared for what is sure to be ‘a great college match.’
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex.