On Saturday, the Binghamton men’s soccer team continued America East (AE) play against UMass Lowell as the Bearcats celebrated senior day. The celebrations continued after the match, as BU earned a 4-1 win, its highest goal total against an AE opponent since 2014.
“Outstanding, fantastic result,” said Binghamton head coach Paul Marco. “I think the guys have taken a better responsibility in front of the goal. Their concentration has grown up a little bit. You have to be really committed. I think we can do a better job on set pieces with commitment in the box to try and will the ball, but overall [I’m] very pleased. Our frontrunners are finally on the scoresheet a little bit more, so that was great to see.”
BU (3-6-4, 1-1-2 AE) outshot UMass Lowell (2-8-3, 0-3-1 AE) 17-7 in what was an end-to-end affair from kickoff. Both sides began the game with several chances to score, mostly coming early on from the River Hawks, when they forced senior goalkeeper Mats Roorda to make a point-blank save in the ninth minute. Roorda is coming off being named AE Defensive Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks.
“When we know we have those strong defenders in the back, it’s more confidence for us to do a little bit more of our own stuff,” said senior forward Matthew Cozetti. “We know that they’re behind us and they’ll be able to win the ball back.”
The scoreless drought broke in the 15th minute, however, as a misplaced pass was collected by sophomore midfielder Diego Vargas and instantly fed to senior back Devin Heanue, who finished the attack to make it 1-0. Heanue added an assist to his tally just five minutes later, finding graduate student forward Ethan Homler, who extended the lead to 2-0. In the last meeting of these teams, Homler was the sole scorer in a 1-0 victory for the Bearcats, making it two in a row for him against the River Hawks.
“It feels great,” Heanue said. “I’ve had one other [goal] this season, and it just felt great to make a good connection and put one in the net.”
Despite the best efforts of Roorda and his defense, BU was unable to keep a clean sheet. With 10 minutes left in the first half, a misplaced header from a Binghamton defender fell to the River Hawks, who hit it on the volley into the woodwork to make it 2-1.
“It’s an unfortunate goal,” Heanue said. “Those are the types of things we’re always trying to clean up. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a clean sheet, but after that we were just really focusing on not letting anything up and keeping moving forward.”
The goals didn’t stop there, as the second period saw more offensive action. Cozetti, one of four seniors honored during the pre-game ceremony, was at the center of the action. In the 69th minute, redshirt senior midfielder Parker McKnight, another honoree, was brought down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to BU. Cozetti stepped up from 12 yards and made it 3-1 to the home side.
“I feel like these last five days of practice, we were able to execute a lot of attacking plays and we’re really getting a nice bond between the attacking players,” Cozetti said. “It seemed like we gelled perfectly today in the game and the stuff we did in practice showed out today on the field.”
That wasn’t the end of Cozetti’s involvement. The Bearcat assisted on the final goal in the 82nd minute. His pass was collected by redshirt junior midfielder Anthony Lazaridis, who beat the River Hawk defender and secured the 4-1 win with a curled finish into the opposite corner.
“Cozetti steps up to take a pen, great goal for him,” Marco said. “[Lazaridis’] goal at the end was outstanding. I mean what a terrific strike, and [Homler] got a goal, so three of our guys get goals which is great.”
Binghamton’s unbeaten streak was extended to five as the seniors celebrated their third win after being honored in the pre-game ceremony.
“I think senior day is always a special day,” Heanue said. “Looking to honor [the seniors], and we were just happy to get the win for them and to send them off the right way. I was really happy [redshirt junior forward Rory Anderson] was able to get on at the end of the game as he’s coming back from injury.”
BU will begin a three-game road trip, starting with a matchup against Cornell. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Berman Field in Ithaca, New York.