Facing off against America East (AE) rivals Stony Brook, the Binghamton women’s soccer team fell 1-0 in its home opener after struggling to respond to the Seawolves’ early second half goal.

For the first time since the pandemic started, BU had fans in attendance at a home game. Each player was allowed to have two guests in attendance to cheer on the Bearcats, and Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee said the team reacted positively to family support.

“The last time that we were here was Halloween of 2019 in a crazy match where there were sheets of rain coming down and our conference-ending game against UMBC, so we appreciate everything that has been done for us to get back on the field,” Bhattacharjee said. “And we so appreciate all the opportunity that has been given to us for our players to get a couple of guests in, so not quite a full crowd, but to get people in here to provide support, do it [in] a safe social distance matter, we so appreciate it, and I know our kids are very grateful to see some of their loved ones in the stands and give us that support.”

The game was marked by temperature rises and drops, on and off squalls of snowfall and occasional sunlight. Although the weather conditions were tough, Bhattacharjee said his team was able to adapt to the conditions.

“It was a tough match to manage, a big part of that was conditions that obviously affected both teams and hurt the quality of play from two pretty good soccer playing sides,” Bhattacharjee said. “But it’s just one of those games that you got to manage it, deal with it and adjust to, and I think both teams did a good job at that”

The first half of the game was a defensive battle between the Bearcats (1-1, 1-1 AE) and Stony Brook (1-2-1, 1-0-1 AE), with each recording only one shot on goal each. Eleven minutes into the second half, the game’s lone goal was scored by the Seawolves off a corner kick. After the initial shot was blocked, Stony Brook graduate student forward Alyssa Francese deflected the rebound into the back of the net in the 57th minute.

Although down 1-0, Binghamton mounted a push in the final 10 minutes of the game, with its best chance coming in the 88th minute when Stony Brook’s sophomore goalkeeper Emerson Richmond Burke made a diving save off of a shot from junior forward Stefania Piantadosi.

“Stony Brook showed why they’re such a good side and will continue to remain one of the top teams in the conference, but I think our kids proved that we’re right there and can compete with the top of the conference,” Bhattacharjee said. “And if we continue to do that, I think that we will put ourselves in a good place in April. So an unfortunate result for us, you know one that we’ll take on the chin and learn from and get better throughout the course of this week.”

Binghamton’s next game will be against Hartford on Sunday, March 21. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Al-Marzook Field in West Hartford, Connecticut.