On a drizzly Sunday night, the Binghamton women’s soccer team fell to Buffalo 1-0 after failing to find the back of the net for 90 minutes. Following a rough first half for the Bearcats, some halftime changes shifted the game back in favor of BU. However, unable to capitalize on its newfound momentum, Binghamton were shut out for the second game in a row.
“Tale of two halves,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “I thought Buffalo was a better team in the first half. It seemed like they always had one more option in the midfield than we did. And then that led to their attack [which led to] the difference-maker with the one goal.”
The lone goal in the game came in the 19th minute when the Bulls (3-1-0) found the ball down low on the left corner of Binghamton’s (2-3-1) territory. The Buffalo runner dribbled through a tenacious defensive effort from junior defender Grace Vittoria and slid the ball to a cutting teammate. From only a few yards out, the point-blank shot was struck past senior goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak.
“We also know Buffalo’s a very good squad,” Bhattacharjee said. “I know they’re going to do very well in the [Mid-American Conference]. So for us, the lesson to take is that we [know] it’s a good building block. We’re of course disappointed with the loss but there’s a lot of good things.”
BU’s halftime adjustments were vital in their ability to stay competitive, however. The Bearcats only put one shot up in the first but were able to muster seven in the second with two being on goal. The team came out revitalized in the second half, tripling their first-half total in shots by the 51st minute.
In the 70th minute, junior midfielder Olivia McKnight dribbled through the teeth of the defense and, when a Buffalo defender fell, was able to pass the ball to junior forward Maya Anand. Anand’s effort was nearly thwarted, but she was able to get a shot off in the box missing high.
“I thought we made some really good adjustments in the second half,” Bhattacharjee said. “Our players completely bought into it. I thought our effort was completely there. We all left it out and had some fabulous chances in the second half, so just got to be a little bit sharper [and] put that ball away in the back of the net.”
Poltorak was able to save four shots while playing the full 90 minutes. Binghamton’s opponent scoring average now sits at .83, good enough for second in the America East (AE) conference. BU also leads the conference in both saves and save percentage. Despite the stellar defense, Binghamton has a losing record in nonconference games thus far. This is due in part to their .833 goal per game average, which now stands at seventh in the AE.
“[Our scores have been] zero-zero, one-zero, now one-zero,” Bhattacharjee said. “Obviously, we need to get that scoring touch. We’re getting numbers in and around the 18, we just got to be a little bit deadly, a little bit more ruthless in terms of our finishing and quality, also looking for that final pass.”
The Bearcats have three more nonconference games before AE play begins. After losing two matches in a row and being shut out three games in a row, Binghamton is looking to make adjustments before conference play begins.
“We put a very difficult nonconference schedule together and that was by design,” Bhattacharjee said. “We really do think that by playing these types of teams is only going to help us once America East play comes around.”
After losing to the Bulls, BU is scheduled to take on Colgate on Thursday, Sept. 9. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Beyer-Small ‘76 Field in Hamilton, New York.