With 23 minutes left in the Binghamton’s men’s soccer match against UMBC, freshman forward Dan Mansfield netted his second goal of the season, securing a game-winning score in Binghamton’s 1-0 victory on Senior Day.
Mansfield’s goal was assisted by freshman defender Oliver Svalander and freshman midfielder Ethan Homler. It was the first assist of the year for the two of them, and they both now have five points. Svalander was also named the America East (AE) Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Week on Oct. 21 when he scored two goals against Stony Brook.
“Oliver played a great ball in and Ethan received the ball, and I saw that I had space in front of me,” Mansfield said. “So I demanded the ball back from him, and he played me a great ball, and I just finished it.”
While the first half was scoreless for the Bearcats (5-7-2, 2-3-0 AE), they put up four shots, all on goal. Shots were taken by redshirt sophomore midfielder Lucas Arzan, junior forward Jack Muller, Homler and junior midfielder Noah Luescher.
“I thought for a while the game was just going to end in a draw,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a goal in the game, but I’m delighted that we got the result against a really good team.”
In total, Binghamton had seven shots on goal. The Bearcats almost had two more goals in the second half. The first one came in the very beginning of the half from Luescher when he took a shot and hit the post. The second was in the 81st minute, when Svalander found the back of the net but was deemed to be offside.
UMBC (5-8-1, 0-4-1 AE) also had seven shots on goal, but sophomore goalkeeper P.J. Parker saved all of them, recording his first career shutout.
“UMBC really came at us,” Marco said. “We knew they had really good pace — a couple of tricky guys, but Parker had great saves. He kept us in the game and kept a clean sheet.”
Parker had one particularly memorable save in the 35th minute. He was recovering from a shot taken by senior midfielder Jon Bell when senior forward Tre Pulliam took a shot off the rebound toward the top left corner. Parker had to dive toward the goal and punch the ball backward over his head.
“It’s important that we got the win tonight,” Parker said. “We went into the game knowing how pivotal it was for our spot in the conference.”
The game honored two seniors: forward Haris Brkovic and graduate student defender Stephen McKenna. Brkovic will graduate with a degree in comparative literature while McKenna will continue to work on his master’s.
“Haris transferred in and McKenna’s a fifth-year guy,” Marco said. “They’re two guys who help our program. They’re leaving their mark.”
Despite it being Senior Day, Brkovic did not play, but McKenna put in a full 90 minutes. Brkovic has played in every nonconference matchup this year except for the match against Drexel, but he has only played in two conference matchups this season.
Although the team has two seniors graduating, there is a substantial number of underclassmen available to take over their roles. Before that happens, however, the seniors will have the opportunity to play in three more regularly scheduled games, and Marco appears hopeful as the season nears its conclusion.
“I think the guys are beginning to show more resilience,” Marco said. “They’re understanding what it takes to compete and play.”
The Bearcats are scheduled to take on Hofstra in a nonconference matchup at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, New York.