On a rainy Tuesday evening, the Binghamton men’s soccer team earned a draw against Hofstra, leaving the final score even at 2-2. The Pride (7-6-2, 4-2-1 Colonial Athletic Association) battled the Bearcats (5-7-3, 2-3-0 America East) in an Empire State battle for both teams’ final nonconference game of the regular season.
“I thought we were really good yesterday,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “We didn’t start very well. [Hofstra] has a lot of older guys on their team — Hofstra is a very good team. They had a lot of juniors and seniors on their team and they are even older ‘cause they’re international guys. We started, I think, eight freshmen in yesterday’s match.”
In the first 10 minutes of the game, Hofstra controlled the pace. The Pride pinned Binghamton into their own defensive zone, but Binghamton stood tall. In the 29th minute, freshman defender Oliver Svalander scored an unassisted goal to give BU a 1-0 lead, netting his third goal of the season.
Fewer than six minutes later, in the 35th minute, Hofstra equalized the score off a header from junior forward Matthew Vowinkel on a pass from junior midfielder Storm Strongin. The half ended at 1-1.
In the 70th minute of the game, Binghamton took the lead once more on a goal from senior forward Haris Brkovic. Brkovic danced around multiple Hofstra defenders to put the ball in the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Then, in the 82nd minute, a shot by freshman midfielder Ethan Homler hit the post and ricocheted out for a Hofstra counterattack. Less than a minute later, graduate student defender Stephen McKenna committed a foul in BU’s penalty box, leading to a penalty shot being awarded to the Pride.
Vowinkel converted on the penalty shot to tie the game for the Pride at 2-2. This marked his fifth goal in the past two games and his second of the night.
“It for sure was a penalty — we fouled him,” Marco said. “I think our response for what happened moments before wasn’t great. We get in behind them and Ethan Homler hits an absolute rocket that hits the post so hard that it comes outside the [18-yard box], and they counterattack off that and that’s where we take the penalty from. An inch or two to the left, that ball is in the back of the net and we are comfortable in the lead with five minutes left. Instead, the game gets tied within less than 10 seconds.”
The two teams competed evenly in both overtime sessions, with no goals scored. BU had three shots on net in the extra frames, but was unable to get anything past Hofstra graduate student goalkeeper Alex Ashton. The Pride did not record a shot on goal in the extra periods, but BU’s sophomore goalkeeper P.J. Parker had three saves on the night.
In the past four games, Binghamton has gone unbeaten at 2-0-2. Veteran players, such as junior midfielder Noah Luescher, have seen that the team has been playing much better as of late.
“The team has grown a lot over the past couple weeks,” Luescher said. “We don’t give away games anymore and fight for each other every game. The effort and grit the team shows is outstanding. We still need to gain more experience and start doing the right thing at the right time. But altogether we look good and the future looks bright.”
Binghamton will look to keep its unbeaten streak alive when they travel to play against AE foes Hartford this Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium in West Hartford, Connecticut.