Over the weekend, the Binghamton women’s soccer team traveled to Delaware State for its final nonconference matchup of the 2022 season. After winning its first America East (AE) match against Bryant a week earlier, BU continued its now four-game unbeaten streak with a 5-2 victory over the Hornets on Saturday.
“It was nice to end the nonconference play with a win and doing it on the road,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “We made a couple of key errors. We gave up a goal  seconds into the start of the second half. Then gave up a second goal that tied the game.”
BU’s (4-4-2, 1-0 AE) offense got off to an early start in the first half when junior midfielder Victoria McKnight broke the stalemate just seven minutes into play. While it was a high-scoring affair with seven goals between both sides, Binghamton entered the half leading Delaware State (0-11-0) by one.
“Defensively I thought we did a good job stepping up and minimizing possessions,” Bhattacharjee said. “We didn’t necessarily have to defend too much because we had the ball for a good share of the time … When you have that kind of possession you don’t have to worry about defending as much.”
The Bearcats produced 12 shots in the first half compared to the home team’s single attempt, as well as forced the Hornets goalkeeper to make six saves during that time. Although Binghamton controlled the first period of play, Delaware State entered the second period only trailing by one. The home team pressured BU early and tied the game at 1-1 just 37 seconds into the second half.
“I was pleased with our possession and what we limited our opponent to do,” Bhattacharjee said. “I’m hoping we can continue that.”
Binghamton continued its offensive pressure, eventually earning its second score in the 54th minute when senior forward Maya Anand converted off of a BU corner kick. However, Delaware State refused to go away, responding less than two minutes later to even the score at two goals. This was the Hornets’ final goal of the match, but they continued to keep pace with the Bearcats as neither team scored over the next 25 minutes of play.
“While we limited [Delaware State] to just four shots, we gave up two goals,” Bhattacharjee said. “We know we’re better and more capable [than] that. We want to limit those chances and put ourselves in a position to get shutouts in the [AE].”
The match had been a close battle up until the 82nd minute, when Binghamton finally began to pull away. The Bearcats added three goals to their total during the final 10 minutes of action and did not allow a single Delaware State shot attempt during that time. Sophomore forward Peyton Gilmore gave BU the lead with her first goal of the match. Anand added her second goal of the match four minutes later, and sophomore midfielder Hannah Knych extended the lead to three shortly after with her first score.
“[Anand] didn’t play in the first half,” Bhattacharjee said. “[She] came on in the second, and I think she scored on her first touch right off the corner kick play. She did well in having an impact, giving us an offensive attack and being a dangerous threat. She won [AE] offensive player of the week, and she’s one of the conference leaders right now at six goals overall.”
The Bearcats led 5-2 with less than three minutes to play as their advantage proved to be too much for the Hornets to mount a comeback. Binghamton’s five goals and 29 shot attempts mark season-highs in both categories. The defense faced just four shots in the match and sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams was called on to save just one of them.
“Those [mistakes] are things we don’t want to happen in conference play,” Bhattacharjee said. “We learned from it, and it’s certainly nice to get that last nonconference result and now really focus everything on [AE] play with two big games coming up this week.”
Binghamton is now scheduled for only AE matchups for the remainder of the season. Its next game is against NJIT at home on Thursday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.