After winning four straight matches, including three America East (AE) games, the Binghamton women’s soccer team welcomed UNH to the Bearcats Sports Complex in a conference duel on Sunday. The Bearcats put together a late comeback, including a penalty kick that found the back of the net, but a two-goal deficit was too much to overcome as Binghamton dropped its first game in over a month by a score of 2-1.
“Unfortunate outcome,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “[We] gave up two unfortunate goals … We know we could’ve been sharper … just some uncharacteristic giveaways.”
The Bearcats (6-5-2, 3-1 AE) faltered early in the 26th minute when the Wildcats (5-5-1, 2-1-1 AE) were on a break and cut the ball toward the end line. UNH nearly lost possession, but hustled back to the ball and cleared it just outside the six-yard box with a chance to score. With a trio of Binghamton defenders and sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams surrounding the ball, it slipped to a UNH foot. The Wildcat initially mishit the ball, but collected her own rebound and moved to the right. After sliding at the ball, it flew by Williams and into the woodwork as New Hampshire opened the scoring.
“It’s a tough conference,” Bhattacharjee said. “They had a lot of energy, a lot of spirit and a lot of fight.”
Each team was held scoreless through the remainder of the first half, but the aggressiveness turned up in the second. After a flurry of BU shots in the first five minutes to start the second half, the Wildcats regained possession as Binghamton failed to tie the game up. Then, in the 51st minute, the Bearcats dug their hole a bit deeper as they conceded an own goal to make it a 2-0 deficit.
“[We] got off to a good start, and it took a while for us to get our own stamp on the game,” Bhattacharjee said. “Certainly it is hard when you go down a goal, certainly even harder to go down by a second goal. I give them credit, [UNH] had a good game plan.”
Just under ten minutes later, the Bearcats responded in an effort to mount a comeback. A foul on New Hampshire gave a penalty kick to the Bearcats with an opportunity to cut the Wildcats’ lead in half. Up to take the penalty kick for BU was junior defender Lexi Vegoda. The Bearcat lined up the shot and sent the ball rolling to the lower leftmost part of the goal. As the ball approached the woodwork, a UNH defender dove toward it, but Vegoda notched her first goal of the year and the second of her BU career, cutting the lead by one goal to make it 2-1.
“We took a couple more risks in the second half,” Bhattacharjee said. “We knew we had to chase the game and we weren’t comfortable with a 1-0 loss. We put our foot to the pedal and created some opportunities.”
From that point forward, Binghamton kept up the pressure and began to play more aggressively, getting a pair of shots in the 87th and 89th minutes. The Bearcats outshot their opponents 8-7 in the second half, looking for the equalizer. In the end, however, they were unable to get the second goal, with the game ending 2-1 in favor of the Wildcats.
“It’s a tough loss,” Bhattacharjee said. “But it is something we are going to learn from and grow from as we go into the second half of conference play.”
Following the loss, BU will look to bounce back against UAlbany on Thursday, Oct. 13. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Bob Ford Field in Albany, New York.