On Tuesday, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team travelled to NJIT for an America East (AE) matchup. The Bearcats started hot, opening the game with five unanswered goals and earning a commanding 18-8 victory over the Highlanders.
“It was a great first half,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “We did a good job offensively of sharing the ball and moving it quickly and going hard to the goal … Overall was just proud of our guys on a quick turnaround.”
BU (5-6, 3-1 AE) got the scoring started early in the first period thanks to senior attack Kevin Winkoff scoring back-to-back goals in the first five minutes of play. Binghamton continued to put pressure on NJIT (0-11, 0-4 AE), taking a 13-3 lead going into halftime.
“We got some turnovers early in our defensive end,” McKeown said. “Got some possessions down to our offense … [Winkoff] shot the ball exceptionally well so it’s good to see him bounce back.”
The Bearcats tallied 14 assists for the day on their 18 goals scored. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Thomas Greenblatt and Winkoff led the way with three and four assists, respectively. Winkoff finished the game with nine points total that included five goals and four assists all in the first half. He currently leads the AE with five points per conference game.
“[Winkoff’s] doing a really nice job of sharing the ball when he doesn’t get the shot himself,” McKewon said. “He had a couple of really nice passes for goals today, so if he can do that and also shoot the ball like he is, he’s a really dangerous weapon.”
In the second half, Binghamton continued to stack goals onto its sizable advantage. BU opened the penultimate period with a 3-0 run, extending its lead to 16-3. The Bearcats took their foot off the gas toward the end of the third and into the fourth frame, conceding five goals with no response. This run brought NJIT back within single digits with two minutes remaining in the contest. Despite giving up this run, graduate student attack Justin Roderka tacked on two late goals for BU to close out the win 18-8.
“Second half we had to rely on [redshirt junior goalie Teddy Dolan] a little bit,” McKeown said. “Gave up a lot of shots, but overall was just proud of our guys on a quick turnaround.”
Dolan accumulated 19 saves on the day, one shy of his record that he set against Stony Brook the previous game. Dolan leads the AE in saves per game with 13.73.
“Not a surprise for us,” McKeown said. “We know [Dolan] is a really talented goalie. We can count on him if needed to win games. I think to achieve our ultimate goals of winning the conference, we’ll have to ask for good performances from him.”
With two games remaining on the regular season schedule, McKeown hopes to end the season on a high note. The last time BU had won the regular season championship was in 2004 when McKeown led the team as a player. In 2004, McKeown won AE Player of the Year.
“It’s been a couple games now since we’ve had a win,” McKeown said. “There was some rust that we had to shake off, I think we did that over the weekend. And now moving forward with two big games left, we still have the ability to win the regular season championship.”
With this win, the Bearcats clinched an AE playoff berth for the first time since the 2017 season. Their next matchup is against the defending conference champions Vermont who currently sit atop the AE with a 4-0 conference record.
Binghamton is scheduled to face the Catamounts on Saturday, April 23. First faceoff is scheduled for noon at Virtue Field at Archie Post Athletic Complex in Burlington, Vermont.