On Thursday, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team hit the road for its first America East (AE) postseason game since 2017. The Bearcats faced UMBC but were unable to recover from a 4-0 scoring run from the Retrievers and fell 7-6.
“I thought that we had struggled to beat some of their defenders one-on-one,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “[UMBC] made it difficult at times to be able to create the types of opportunities, shooting-wise, that we’re looking for.”
Freshman defender Jack Fearnley opened up the scoring as he took the ball coast-to-coast and snuck through the UMBC (6-7, 3-3 AE) defense, ultimately dropping the ball right into the net for his first career goal. The Retrievers tied it just over a minute later before sophomore midfielder Trey Sofield took the ball in transition and found an open senior defender Drew Furlong in the middle of the field. Furlong wound up and found the back of the net for just the second time this season as the Bearcats (5-9, 3-3 AE) went into the second frame with a 2-1 advantage.
“I think it was probably a little bit of a breakdown on [UMBC’s] part because nobody picked [Fearnley] up, literally he just went right down and scored,” McKeown said. “The second one, that was just a transition goal where [Furlong] was firm in the field and that is something we were trying to do a little bit [in] every game. So that was more of a transition opportunity that we were pushing to get to get ahead of their guys.”
Senior attack Kevin Winkoff scored seconds into the next period before the Retrievers held Binghamton scoreless over the next 20 minutes of game time. Over that span, starting early in the second period and spilling into the third frame, UMBC scored four times to take a 5-3 lead.
“[UMBC was] playing really physically,” McKeown said. “One-on-one, we had trouble getting by their sticks and I thought their goalie came up with some big saves. I thought during that time we had not a lot, but a couple of really good opportunities that didn’t drop.”
Senior midfielder Andrew Arce stopped the bleeding off a Winkoff feed as the Bearcats cut the lead back to one. A minute later, the Retrievers made it a two-goal lead once more before Winkoff brought the game back to a one-possession game. The Bearcats kept UMBC out of the net until the clock ticked under a minute in the third when the Retrievers sniped the low corner to head into the final period with a 7-5 lead.
“Anytime you give up a goal in the last minute of a quarter, certainly in a tight game, it’s a little deflating,” McKeown said. “Now I don’t think that necessarily affected us in how we played in the fourth [quarter]. I thought we really put up a great effort with how hard we were playing fighting and getting stops on defense.”
Over five minutes into the fourth quarter, senior attack Daniel MacKinney found Arce, who shot the ball past the goalie to cut the lead back to one. Over the remainder of the period, the Bearcats had several opportunities to tie the game, but the UMBC goalie didn’t allow a single ball past him and held the Bearcats scoreless.
“We just didn’t end up getting the second goal we needed,” McKeown said. “We did try some different things whether [it was] attacking from behind, attacking with some different guys and try and do some things off ball but unfortunately it couldn’t do the job.”
Winkoff’s two-goal performance propelled him to third all-time for goals in a single season in Binghamton’s Division I history. His 2.64 goals per game and 3.93 points per game both rank second all-time as well. Redshirt junior goalie Teddy Dolan finished the season with the most saves for a single season for the Bearcats. Dolan racked up 189 saves over 14 games, 21 more than the previous record.
“I always kind of knew [Winkoff] had the potential for a season like this,” McKeown said. “First-team all conference type of year and that is what he got. He’s a really dangerous shooter and very athletic as a dodger.”
The Bearcats were tabbed as fifth in the AE preseason poll, but ultimately grabbed the number two seed in the conference playoffs.
“[This season] was certainly up and down in a lot of different ways on and off the field,” McKeown said. “I think that our seniors just did a great job leading us through the good times and the bad, and they are certainly leaving this program in a better place, and they found it.”