On Saturday, the Binghamton men’s soccer team traveled to UMass Lowell and shut them out for a 1-0 win. This win continued BU’s best start to a season since 2007.
Both teams spent the first half testing the waters of the match, opening with some good chances and last-ditch defending in front of both goals. Binghamton (7-2-0, 2-0-0 America East [AE]) edged the River Hawks (2-7-1, 1-2-0 AE) out on shots in the first 45 minutes, five to four. The River Hawks consistently applied pressure, but the home side was unable to put a ball in the back of the net, giving BU its third-straight shutout win. This is Binghamton’s first win against UMass Lowell since 2013.
It was junior midfielder Ethan Homler who eventually broke the deadlock in the 67th minute. After being fouled deep into River Hawk territory, Homler stepped inside the 18-yard box for a penalty kick. With only the keeper between him and the net, Homler buried the ball in the right side of the net, sending the keeper the wrong way. Homler now has five goals this season, adding to his tally after missing last week’s game. Of Homler’s goals, four of them are game-winners, with an average of .500 per game, good enough for first in the AE.
“I thought [Homler] did a lot more than just score a penalty kick,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “He was coming back from injury and you saw no signs of that … He was certainly one of the guys that helped us go.”
Redshirt junior goalkeeper P.J. Parker played a large part in the Bearcat win by not allowing the River Hawks to net a single goal. In the 77th minute, Parker was called upon in front of the net as the River Hawks were awarded a free kick on the right flank. The home striker raised his hand and struck the ball inside the 18-yard box. Parker cheated left as a crowd formed in that direction. The ball met the head of a leaping River Hawk and was directed across the body of Parker. The Bearcat dove right as the River Hawk’s lone shot on goal reached the outstretched fingertips of Parker and fell safely out of bounds.
BU was outshot by UMass Lowell by a tally of 10-9 but earned better opportunities as they tripled the River Hawks in shots on goal, 3-1. In part due to the backline, the win gave Binghamton its fourth shutout of the year. The third straight shutout is also the first time the Bearcats have achieved such a feat since 2007.
Marco reflected on his team’s success thus far into the breakthrough season.
“I think it’s just a question of how we continue to keep improving,” Marco said. “If we think that last night was good enough to win future games, well then obviously we’re not going to be hungry, and we’re not going to compete hard and we’re going to think we’ve arrived already.”
BU will take a break from conference play as the Bearcats are scheduled to take on Bucknell University on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.