On Sunday, Binghamton women’s soccer fell to UMass Lowell in a 1-0 overtime away match. This game represents their first America East (AE) loss of the season through two games played.
The match was deadlocked at zero through regulation when in the 99th minute, the River Hawks (5-3-1, 2-0-0 AE) scored a golden goal in overtime to take it. After an errant throw-in, UMass Lowell sophomore forward Calliste Brookshire was the lone River Hawk deep in Bearcat (5-5-1, 1-1-0 AE) territory when her hesitation move around redshirt junior defender Gabby Piontkowski gave her a window to the net. On the left flank, just inside the 18-yard box, she kicked the ball across her body toward the goal. Senior goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak had little chance as the ball flew over her outstretched arms.
“The goal that UMass did end up scoring in overtime was just a terrific individual effort and a well-placed shot, and I think that was the only way they were going to get the ball past us and in the net,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee.
The match was a physical battle, with 31 fouls split between both teams. The match became a battle of attrition as the minutes ticked, with few scoring opportunities allowed by either side — at the 65th minute, both sides had two shots on goal. The best chance for the Bearcats came from sophomore forward Davia Rossi who nearly earned Binghamton a goal at the 30-minute mark.
Poltorak halted two close scoring attempts early on by UMass Lowell midfielders. Poltorak was joined by the backline defense of sophomore Lexi Vegoda, junior Grace Vittoria and Piontkowski in holding the River Hawks scoreless in regulation. Heading into the second half, BU’s adjustments helped fortify its defense as the River Hawks’ shot tally shrunk from seven to two.
“I thought our backline played very well, they limited a team that is pretty potent on the attack,” Bhattacharjee said. “They have a lot of special players that can break down the opponent, so for us to hold them to just three shots on target over the course of 98 minutes is a big testament to how they played, how they led the game, how they snuffed out some potential opportunities and they were there for last-minute tackles and clearances.”
The Bearcats built up pressure on the UMass Lowell backline. However, the River Hawks were able to ward off any attacks before they became threatening. Binghamton ran short on opportunities, as they were only able to muster four shots in each half and zero in the overtime period.
“Once we found a rhythm midway through the first half, [the goal] was getting possession and playing through our midfield,” Bhattacharjee said. “I thought our starting points and starting positions were in good places and then we were able to look a little bit more. I thought that [there] were a couple of times we could have pulled the trigger a little bit earlier … I think what we can pay attention to is using our own set pieces and we could have been a little bit more dangerous on the free kicks and corner kicks we had, so that’s something we’ll work on in the next couple days.”
The Bearcats were pressed in the second half on offense. BU often found itself on the right sideline in UMass Lowell territory, as the River Hawks’ constant pursuit of the ball stopped several of Binghamton’s attacks.
In preseason rankings, Binghamton was picked third right behind UMass Lowell at second. With this loss, BU sits at 1-1 in AE play.
The Bearcats are scheduled to face UMBC at home on Thursday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.