On Thursday evening, the Binghamton women’s soccer team traveled to Lewisburg to take on Bucknell, capping off the team’s three-game road trip. After 90 minutes, the Bearcats dropped the match to the Bison for BU’s second straight 2-0 loss.
“It was a pretty well-played game between two good teams,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “We played a very good opponent in Bucknell that had won the Patriot League last year and went on to the NCAA tournament. That’s exactly the type of team that we want to play at this point of our season.”
The Bison (3-2) got off to an early start, scoring their first goal nearly seven minutes into the match. The score came after a save by senior goalkeeper Nicole Scott rebounded back out to the home team and the Bison took advantage of the ricochet and broke the scoreless tie. Scott played the entire first half for BU (1-3-1). The senior faced 14 shots in 45 minutes and recorded six saves in the process.
“Bucknell is very good in their attacking transitions, so that means we had to be very good in our defensive transition,” Bhattacharjee said. “I thought our backs tended with [Bucknell] very well. We did rely on our goalkeepers to make a couple of big saves which we know they are capable of doing.”
The second half bore a similar story to the first. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams took over in net, saving five of Bucknell’s 10 shots in the half. The sophomore allowed one goal in the period, when a Bison scored a header off of a corner kick in the 65th minute.
“It was a very good test and I thought our backs did really well over the course of 90 minutes to deal with that,” Bhattacharjee said. “Overall it was one of the best performances of our backs and goalkeepers up to date for the season so far. They did it against a very gifted, athletic attacking opponent.”
BU had opportunities to score over the 90-minute match, but was unable to convert on any of its chances. Senior midfielder Olivia McKnight had three shot attempts during the game and sophomore forward Peyton Gilmore challenged the Bison keepers with two shots on net herself.
“I thought our game plan was very good,” Bhattacharjee said. “When we executed at times it looked really good and sharp … We played very well. We created some great scoring chances that I’m still surprised didn’t go in the back of the goal. But that’s just the game of soccer sometimes.”
Binghamton’s loss to Bucknell marks the halfway point through its nonconference play. The Bearcats have five remaining matches until America East (AE) conference play begins. Bhattacharjee believes the team’s most recent opponents will help it prepare for conference play.
“This can help us prepare for our [AE] conference play, which is starting up in a couple of weeks,” Bhattacharjee said. “We’ve played a really tough stretch and we know it’s not gonna get easier … That’s where we wanna be at this point and we’re putting ourselves in a position to compete against these like-minded teams. It’s gonna set us up really well to get into conference play. ”
The Bearcats will make their return to Vestal for their first home match since Aug. 21, when they shut out Temple 2-0 in the 2022 home opener.
“[Coming home] is gonna be nice,” Bhattacharjee said. “We’ve had a difficult schedule. One thing that I told our team is that this was our third Thursday night away match in a row. It’s difficult to go away Thursday and then come back late Thursday.”
BU is set to return home to take on Syracuse on Thursday, Sept. 8. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, NY.