The Binghamton men’s soccer team was unable to break its recent losing streak this Saturday, as it fell to the Iona Gaels in a 3-0 shutout. The Bearcats (1-4), who have been dealing with injuries, were missing redshirt freshman midfielder Parker McKnight, sophomore defender Aidan Sullivan and junior midfielder Noah Luescher.
“We knew the game was going to be difficult for us without our three essential starting midfield players, as Parker, Noah and Aidan were all out for us,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “I thought our guys played pretty well. We’re asking guys who have not played long spells in the game to play those longer spells.”
The Bearcats were solid throughout the entire match, minus a key 15-minute window which the Gaels seized, tallying the only three goals of the game in that span.
“Fifteen minutes of being poor on our part in a 90-minute match, about 15 minutes — I don’t think it was more than that,” Marco said. “I was disappointed in how we played the first goal — that was just bad defending — and that has not been typical of us.”
It was early in the second half when the Gaels recorded two quick goals at around the 55-minute mark and a third in the 63rd minute.
The first half of the game, on the other hand, was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams finding angles and opportunities to score. Iona registered 13 shots during this period, four of which were on goal. The Bearcats had chances of their own, but were unable to capitalize on their solid offensive pushes throughout the match.
“We were just a bit unlucky,” Marco said. “We created a couple of really good chances. We smashed a couple of balls that got blocked. The goalkeeper made two great saves. The first 45 minutes were really good — very even game, both teams had good chances and both teams didn’t capitalize on those.”
Binghamton played more accurately in the second half, with three shots on goal, two of which were made by freshman midfielder Sean Molloy, who filled the void at midfield left by Luescher and McKnight.
The Bearcats had early success facilitating their offensive pushes through freshman defender Oliver Svalander, but failed to successfully feed the ball to him consistently throughout the match.
“We wanted to get Oliver the ball more — he was very good in the game today,” Marco said. “We needed to feed him the ball more, so we decided to get it to him on every third pass. We did that a little bit and when we got it to him, we were very effective. So, the guys need to maybe realize what’s going well during the game and then, capitalize on that until they stop it and then, get into something else, and then, go and take that. We are not making those decisions quick enough right now.”
Despite playing without their top midfielders, the Bearcats did return one of their stalwart defenders, graduate student defender Stephen McKenna, as well as junior forward Jack Muller.
“We got McKenna back, as he was out for a few matches, but he ended up playing the full minutes,” Marco said. “We got Jack back, who played probably longer than we wanted him to.”
The Bearcats plan to end their losing skid and secure their second win of the season against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.