On Wednesday night, the Binghamton women’s soccer team began its two-game home stand against Cornell. The Bearcats entered the match with an opportunity to post their second straight win. After a 90 minute battle with the Big Red, both teams ended with one goal each, resulting in a 1-1 tie — BU’s second of the season.
“It was a good, competitive Division I soccer game,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “I’ll give Cornell credit. They kept the lines compact and we couldn’t really play through it at times.”
Binghamton (2-4-2) and Cornell (1-4-2) began the match with a stalemate throughout the first half, as neither squad was able to put a ball passed the opposing keeper. The Big Red attempted more shots in the first frame, doubling BU’s attempts. The Bearcats faced eight shots in the period while firing four of their own toward the visitors’ net.
“Defensively we were a question mark this year,” Bhattacharjee said. “[Last year] we had three senior defenders and a senior goalkeeper … It’s all brand new back there but I love how they’ve come together. We’ve adjusted to the speed of play and we’re sharper on our decision-making and playmaking.”
BU had an opportunity to break the tie in the 14th minute when it was awarded a corner kick. The Bearcats sent a cross into the box where senior midfielder Olivia McKnight volleyed a shot that just missed the net off the left post. Ten minutes later, sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams saved a shot that led to a BU breakaway. Senior forward Maya Anand found herself on a run when three Cornell defenders crashed onto her position. The senior managed an attempt that tailed off wide right of the goal.
“We created some very good chances,” Bhattacharjee said. “Credit to the Cornell goalkeeper, she made two ridiculous saves that I’m still trying to figure out how she got there. But we created a lot of good chances, and I was pleased with the effort over the course of the second half.”
The game’s scoreless drought bled deep into the match’s second half, as the score remained 0-0 until the 74th minute. BU and Cornell continued to apply pressure on each other, adding a combined 20 shot attempts in the final 45 minutes, but it was the Big Red who struck first. The visiting team scored the game’s first goal thanks to a corner kick that found the bottom left from a header. Two minutes later, Anand earned herself another chance on net. After a free kick from junior midfielder Victoria McKnight rebounded off of the goalie, Anand snuck a shot into the back of the goal, equalizing the match at 1-1. Despite the opportunities, neither team could add to its total, ending the match in a draw.
“If there’s anything I’m disappointed about, it’s that we didn’t get the win at the end of the day,” Bhattacharjee said. “It is what it is. We’ll take the point, and now we get to rest the legs and focus on important matches coming up.”
This was Binghamton’s 13th match with Cornell during the past 13 years. The two squads have routinely faced each other during nonconference play since 2009 with exception to 2020’s limited season. The Bearcats have not lost a match to the Big Red since 2016, going 3-0-2 in that span after Wednesday’s tie.
“We’ve made some really good strides and we’ve played a very demanding schedule,” Bhattacharjee said. “We’re seeing the dividends of that. We took a couple knocks along the way but all of that preps us for the most important time of the year, getting into conference play.”
Binghamton will remain home for its first America East matchup of the season against Bryant University. Kickoff is set for Sunday, Sept. 18th at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.