Over the weekend, the Binghamton men’s soccer team was unable to snap its losing streak as they fell to NJIT in overtime. Despite the efforts of redshirt sophomore midfielder Anthony Lazaridis who netted two goals in the second half, the Bearcats fell short and lost 3-2. Binghamton has now dropped five games in a row and has gone winless for the sixth straight matchup.

“As the game got heated, I thought we got actually better at playing and then we get two goals back,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “I thought we didn’t manage the game very well at the end, and then in overtime to concede the goal that we do is just poor on our part.”

The Highlanders (4-10-1, 2-4-0 America East [AE]) opened the game with a goal in the fourth minute from a free-kick deep out of the left flank. The kick flew past the crowd of red and green shirts as the ball went untouched into the BU (7-7-1, 2-4-0 AE) net. Junior keeper Mats Roorda grabbed two saves in the rest of the half before he was forced to exit in the dying minutes of the first half, taking a blow to the head after an NJIT counterattack. Redshirt junior goalkeeper P.J. Parker protected the net for the remainder of the match.

The highlight for the Bearcats was the performance of Lazaridis, who brought his side back into the game with two goals in the second half. In the 67th minute, a cross from senior forward Kosta Nika set Lazaridis up in the box. On the left-most part of the goalie box, the charging redshirt sophomore squared the ball up and hammered it with his head. The ball notched in the top left corner beating the Highlander keeper, tying the score.

Less than eight minutes later, Lazaridis struck again. In the 75th minute, redshirt sophomore Rory Anderson stole the ball as an NJIT defender tried to clear it. Anderson hesitated and shook the only Highlander who had an opportunity to stop the attack. He found a cutting Lazaridis who slid the ball to the near side of the net right past the goalkeeper, giving the Bearcats their only lead of the game.

“I thought the ball that [Anderson] played for the second goal was outstanding, we needed more soccer like that,” Marco said. “I thought that [Lazaridis] was great today, he’s been inconsistent the last couple of weeks, so it’s great to see what he did today and hopefully he can build on it into the next game.”

The lead following Lazaridis’ goals didn’t last long as NJIT found an 85th-minute equalizer to send the match to overtime. The Highlanders then only needed three minutes to find their winner. In the 94th minute, the ball was stuck near the midline when an NJIT striker flipped the ball in the air and another Highlander found a charging forward wide open. The Highlander stopped on a dime and struck the ball past Parker to win in sudden death.

“We did enough to win the game, the game was there, we were winning with five minutes left and we couldn’t hold the lead,” Marco said. “We were winning the game and they just should’ve wanted more instead of less. Now we have two games left, and they’re must-win games.”

Despite the high scoreline, it was a gritty match all around with both teams combining for 20 fouls in total, bringing the game to a stop-start pace. This brought on many calls for penalties from both sides, giving the referee the task of controlling an intense affair.

“I very rarely comment on the referees because they’re human beings and they make mistakes, but I thought today’s match was disrespectful to the game,” Marco said. “The game got choppy, the trash talk back and forth, there should’ve been a lot of cards given.”

The final scoreline overshadowed the pre-match honoring of Nika, midfielder Noah Luescher, defender Tim Leuenberger, defender Ryan Pyszka and midfielder Andrew McDonnell for Binghamton’s Senior Day.

The Bearcats are scheduled to take on UAlbany next on Thursday, Oct. 28. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bob Ford Field in Albany, New York.