On Sunday afternoon, the Binghamton women’s soccer team won their first America East (AE) game of the season against Vermont at home. A second-overtime goal from junior forward Maya Anand gave the Bearcats a hard-fought win after over 102 minutes of play.
“[We] started with great work rate from [freshman midfielder Maria Poulos] in midfield,” Anand said. “She had an awesome slide tackle, and then I just saw a ball in front of the goal, and a defender coming at me [and I] just did my classic move and then shot. I was a little worried it wasn’t gonna go in, but it hit the post and went in, and that was just a great feeling.”
After applying enormous pressure throughout the entire second half, the Bearcats (5-4-1, 1-0-0 AE) were able to get one in the back of the net in the 102nd minute. As the Catamounts (3-4-1, 0-1-0 AE) tried to clear the ball to midfield, Poulos went on the defensive as she picked the ball out from a Vermont defender with a slide tackle. Defense turned to offense quickly as Poulos’ slide tackle placed the ball into a crease where only Anand could get to it. The Bearcat outran one defender and juked another racing toward her. Anand, now within the 18-yard box, saw the net was able to push the ball just beyond the outstretched hands of Catamount senior goalkeeper Lydia Kessel.
“[Poulos came] on at the start of the second overtime,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “One thing we need is energy from our substitutes that come off the bench. She did that right away, and especially as you can see both teams were struggling with legs getting into the double overtime period. Her pressure is what set up [Anand’s] goal.”
The first half of the match was fairly quiet for BU as they put up six shots while struggling to retain possession. Vermont put up fewer shots with only four total but saw some opportunities to take an early lead. In the opening minute, the Catamounts quickly moved downfield, infiltrating Bearcat territory. A pass across the width of the field gave a Vermont attacker an opportunity to take a 1-0 advantage. As she moved into the box draped by a Bearcat defender, her shot was blanketed by senior goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak. The Bearcats came out stronger in the second half as they dominated shot totals by a tally of 13-2. Even with the halftime adjustments, BU could not net a goal in the latter half.
“No matter what, I was happy with the effort after halftime,” Bhattacharjee said. “First half we were just a little bit slow and a little bit safe, and the second half we wanted to be the aggressor, we wanted to put our pace, our stamp on the game and just be more brave, more courageous in the attack.”
Sunday’s game continued a strong season for Anand, Binghamton’s leading scorer. She has 13 points so far, including six goals in 10 games. On top of almost doubling her total minutes from last season, Anand is also tied for the conference lead in goals this year despite averaging 2.70 shots per game — good enough for fourth in AE.
“My confidence is pretty good,” Anand said. “I think the biggest difference is being fit and just being surrounded by great teammates who just keep pushing me every single day to just be better, so I think going forward we have a lot of potential for everyone on the team.”
The Bearcats are scheduled to take on UMass Lowell on Sunday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Cushing Field Complex in Lowell, Massachusetts.