After four straight matches without a win, the Binghamton women’s soccer team bounced back with its second win of the season against Fairleigh Dickinson on the road Sunday afternoon. The Bearcats scored four first-half goals as the Knights were unable to recover, resulting in a 4-1 BU victory.
“We certainly played a very difficult recent stretch of opponents,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “I thought today we saw a lot of things start to come together in our game. We got exposed in certain areas from some pretty high-class opposition. But that gives us things to focus on and fix so we can improve and grow.”
Binghamton (2-4-1) got started early on the offensive side, putting its first three goals of the game passed the FDU (1-7) goalkeeper before the 10-minute mark. BU distributed its scoring on Sunday as four different Bearcats netted a goal against the Knights’ goalkeeper. Sunday’s performance set program records for the fastest BU has ever scored both three goals and four goals, after Binghamton’s final goal went in during the 17th minute.
“We know that we can spread things around,” Bhattacharjee said. “So once you get to conference play we are scouted and teams are gonna look to hone in on one or two attacking personalities. That just means it’s gonna open up somebody else within our attack. We’re able to spread the wealth a little bit and we are able to score goals in a few different ways. It’s not just gonna be the same one or two things that we’re trying to go to over and over again.”
Senior forward Maya Anand was on the board first for BU. The senior scored the first goal of the game just over two minutes into action, thanks to a pass from sophomore forward Peyton Gilmore who earned the assist. Six minutes later Gilmore added her own goal to grow the BU advantage. Senior midfielder Olivia McKnight assisted on the play.
“We know [Anand] is a dangerous attacker, Bhattacharjee said. “She got her third goal today. Same thing with [Gilmore] in terms of what she could do out wide or centrally. We also know that we can expect to get things happening with our attacking center mids. Whether that’s [Olivia McKnight] or [junior midfielder Victoria McKnight], who scored her second goal in two games.”
Binghamton wasted no time in earning its next score. Fifty seconds after Gilmore’s goal, freshman defender Allison Falvo earned the first goal of her collegiate career. The freshman’s score gave BU a 3-0 lead over Fairleigh Dickinson in just nine minutes of action. The Bearcats added their fourth and final goal of the match during the 17th minute, when a shot from Victoria McKnight snuck past the FDU goalkeeper.
“We got off to a fantastic start,” Bhattacharjee said. “To be up 3-0 in the first nine minutes and 4-0 by the 17-minute mark is a tremendous start to our play. We came out on fire and had good movement on the ball.”
The second half proved to be a different story than the first. Although the Knights outscored the Bearcats 1-0, BU did not allow a goal until the 87th minute, leaving too little time for any comeback. The Binghamton defense faced 23 shots all game with nine of them being on net.
“We weren’t good enough on the day to get the shutout which was really the only unfortunate piece,” Bhattacharjee said. “We’re happy to come home with an away 4-1 victory.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams got the start in net for BU. The sophomore played 53 minutes, saved five shots and allowed only one goal. Senior goalkeeper Nicole Scott relieved Williams for the middle portion of the match, and saved three Fairleigh Dickinson shots herself.
“Defensively, for the most part, we were pretty stout,” Bhattacharjee said. “We did see FDU in the first half step up their game. When that happened, [Williams] was forced to make two pretty big saves … She made two high-quality saves without giving up a rebound, and because of that, we went into halftime with a shutout.”
The Bearcats will return home for their next match against Cornell on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.