The Binghamton University men’s lacrosse team secured its first win of the season on Saturday, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the delight of the Senior Day crowd in Vestal, New York. The Bearcats (1-11, 1-4 America East) defeated Hartford in a 15-12 finish, rupturing a three-game win streak for the Hawks (4-10, 2-3 AE). Senior midfielder Joe Licata led the Bearcats with an outpouring of offensive production, tallying a game-high five goals for his fifth hat trick of the season.
Although Binghamton’s defense was not able to stifle the Hartford offense, which had scored 40 goals in its previous three matches, the Bearcats beat the Hawks at their own brand of lacrosse, especially in the second half, in which they netted 12 of their 15 goals. Redshirt junior goalie Kevin Carbone was key in slowing Hartford, as he stopped 19 of 31 shots on goal.
The Bearcats were consistently able to get open looks on dodges from offensive leaders such as Licata, sophomore attack William Talbott-Shere and freshman midfielder Kevin Winkoff, but failed to convert with near-misses early on. Hawks freshman goalie Cam Logan was also a key hindrance to the Bearcats’ offense, as he saved 15 of 30 shots that were put on net. His 6-foot-5-inch frame made it difficult for Binghamton scorers to convert on their open looks.
“We were finally able to not get deterred when things were not going our way,” said BU head coach Kevin McKeown. “We had the 8-7 lead and we were going back and forth there as we traded goals with them. We did not let them go on a run — we responded really well when they popped one in and I was impressed with how we stuck with it.”
The Bearcats began to cash in on outside shots during the second half, igniting the offense. They took their first lead of the game near the end of the third on a Licata dodge from behind the goal. The third quarter was pivotal for Binghamton, as the team was able to keep the Hawks to just five shots in the entire period, one of which found the back of the net. Meanwhile, the Bearcats’ offense came alive with 19 shots, nine of which were on goal, and were able to convert five in the period.
“We had a lot of young guys step up,” McKeown said. “Two freshmen with hat tricks, Kevin Winkoff and [freshman midfielder] Andrew Arce, so it was great to see those guys take the next step as well, and we’re looking forward to another opportunity to get another America East win.”
The two opponents were neck and neck in almost every category, including saves, turnovers, clears and ground balls. The game-changing factor was Binghamton’s efficiency throughout the second half that led to those 12 goals. The Bearcats were 3-of-13 of shots on goal in the first, but were 12-of-17 of shots on goal in the second half.
Hartford’s offense was spearheaded by junior midfielder Owen Trepeta and senior attack Dylan Jinks. Jinks registered his sixth hat trick with three goals and three assists, while Trepeta registered four goals to lead the Hawks in scoring.
Although the Bearcats have been eliminated from postseason contention in the America East, the team can still end on a high note by closing out the season on a two-game winning streak. The team faces UMass Lowell in its final game of the year, a team that is still fighting for a postseason berth and is bound to give the Bearcats a tough challenge.
“It feels great to get a win, and there’s still a lot of things we have to learn on the film,” McKeown said. “We have an opportunity to get a team next week that defeated us last year.”
The season finale against the River Hawks is slated for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at Cushing Field Complex in Lowell, Massachusetts.