For the first time this season, the Binghamton men’s soccer team was shutout on Friday. The result came at an unfortunate time for the Bearcats, as the team was eliminated from playoff contention at home with a 1-0 loss to Hartford to close out the season.
“My first thought is extreme disappointment,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “We had a really good game plan going into the game.”
Under this year’s revised postseason format, the Hawks (3-1, 3-1 America East) clinched the AE Pod B title and one of four playoff spots. The Bearcats (2-4, 2-4 AE) will miss the postseason for the third time in four years.
The lone goal came in the 76th minute when Hartford’s senior midfielder Jovanté Etienne sent a through ball to sophomore forward Nadav Datner who tapped the ball into the lower-right corner of the net, escaping Binghamton’s defense and sophomore goalkeeper P.J. Parker.
“[Parker], I don’t know what more he could’ve done on the goal,” Marco said. “It’s a breakaway and [Datner] looks at the full goal and it’s just [Parker], so unless he hits it at him, he probably doesn’t make the save.”
After Datner’s goal put the Hawks up, the Bearcats had opportunities to equalize the score. Two shots were taken by sophomore midfielder Ethan Homler in the final five minutes of the game, but neither managed to go in. A volley from Homler looked promising, but it was blocked by a Hartford defender.
“We created enough chances to get a goal and we just didn’t put the ball in their goal,” Marco said. “The two volleys we had at the end of the game: one of them was on goal, and then the header we just missed wide, so we had enough chances to equalize after [Hartford’s] goal and we don’t get the goal, so disappointed.”
One factor that hurt the Bearcats in Friday’s game was the absence of sophomore defender Michael Bush, who missed the game due to injury.
“Does [Bush] help us in the back a little bit more with the goal we conceded,” Marco asked. “Maybe and obviously, we miss his presence — he’s a giant. Every team has to deal with injuries and guys who are available and unavailable, and I thought with the guys that we had on the field today we had enough quality in the team to get goals and we just didn’t.”
The Hawks outshot BU 8-5 with four of Hartford’s shots on goal. Homler and sophomore forward Dan Mansfield were the only Binghamton players to record shots. Between the two goalkeepers, Parker had one save in the second half and sophomore Mats Roorda had two in the first.
“I think our biggest piece for our goalkeepers right now is for somebody to step up and say ‘I am the number one’ and to be more consistent in their play,” Marco said. “I thought [Roorda] was very good in the first half with the wind at his face. He came and did the things he had to do … Both [Parker and Roorda] played their part.”
With the loss to Hartford, Binghamton’s 2021 season has come to an end. Marco said he hopes there’s a possibility that some nonconference matchups can be scheduled later in the semester to prepare the team for next fall’s regular season. There is one week remaining in the AE regular season to make up for canceled games, and the playoffs will begin in two weeks.
“Congratulations to Hartford,” Marco said. “They took an opportunity in a given moment and made a great goal.”