The Binghamton men’s soccer team tallied their fourth victory of the season against Canisius in Buffalo. By a score of 3-1, Saturday’s win marks the Bearcats’ best start to a season since their 2007 campaign.
“I would say now that the team is healthy, [and] I think we’ve gotten a lot better in the last month of playing,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “Last night’s performance, the first half especially, was outstanding. The guys played great soccer, it was really fun to watch. We kind of see what they think they can be during training, and we thought they were really good last night.”
The Bearcats were quiet until the 39th minute when junior midfielder Ethan Homler fed the ball to graduate student midfielder Noah Luescher. Luescher dribbled the ball into Canisius territory, froze two defenders with a feint and shot from 35 yards out. The Canisius goalkeeper played too far up the field and the ball rolled past his outstretched hands to the right corner of the net. Luescher continued his climb through Binghamton’s record books in point totals as he scored his 46th career point, putting him into second place.
In the 44th minute, BU used its newfound momentum to solidify its lead. After a red card was issued to a Canisius defender for committing an infraction in the box, Homler lined up for a penalty kick. Homler kicked the ball toward the left side of the net where it met the defending goalkeeper’s fingertips. Despite the effort, the ball hit the back of the net and gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead. Homler has showcased a productive season thus far, with seven points and two-for-two on penalty kicks. Two of his points were also game-winners.
“I think [Homler]’s been a work in progress since he came in,” Marco said. “He has certainly embraced his role within the group. He has grown up a little bit — he’s a lot more mature now as a player and a person than he was when he first came out. He was high energy and didn’t really understand what it was going to take to be successful … It’s terrific, I’m extremely proud of him and the growth he’s shown and I think he still has three or four more levels to get to.”
In the 58th minute, Canisius would get back into the competition with a penalty kick goal. The final 30 minutes of the game were relatively quiet until the 89th minute, when redshirt junior back Carter Beaulieu found the ball near the right corner. Beaulieu cut the ball to redshirt sophomore forward Rory Anderson who crossed a Griff defender trying to slide tackle and shot the ball across the goalkeeper.
The Bearcats were able to control the flow of the match, nearly doubling Canisius’ shot total by a record of 15-8. Marco emphasized the importance of knowing when to attack and defend instead of constantly aggressing.
“We’ve been really focused on keeping possession of the ball and searching for moments to attack, rather than attacking every time we get the ball,” Marco said. “I think the guys are understanding that it’s a much higher level of playing soccer because now you’re trying to figure out moments to go and attack. When you always attack you can then open yourselves up to counterattack because your team gets stretched a little bit. I think the guys are really starting to grasp the difference between searching and attacking with the ball.”
The Bearcats will look to continue their hot start against the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the SU Soccer Stadium.