The Binghamton men’s lacrosse team traveled to Bethlehem to take on Lehigh on Tuesday. Despite a strong second half performance where the Bearcats outscored the Mountain Hawks 7-1, the hosts prevailed as a seven-goal first quarter put the contest out of reach. BU dropped the first of a two-game road trip 14-13.
“One thing that we can take from [this game] is that we know we have the ability to come back,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “We really did a better job there in the second half. Being down by a large margin to a good team can be a little intimidating. I don’t think we were intimated by that, so it was encouraging to see. Our guys stuck together, they kept a positive attitude and I think that reflected in how we were able to claw our way back there.”
Lehigh (4-1, 1-0 Patriot League) started off the match strong, opening the game up with four goals before Binghamton (3-2) got on the board. The Bearcats were scoreless until the 5:26 mark, when sophomore attack Gage Adams found the twine courtesy of an assist by junior midfielder Ethan Insinga. The Mountain Hawks scored thrice more in the last four minutes to close out the first frame with a commanding 7-1 lead.
The second period took on a markedly different, competitive tone. While Lehigh notched another six goals, Binghamton added five of its own. Although the Mountain Hawks got on the board first, Adams added a second goal to his total, along with one from redshirt junior midfielder Thomas Greenblatt, to complete the two score run. Despite Lehigh scoring five more times in the frame, Adams found twine once again, completing the hat trick, along with scores from senior midfielder Nicholas Imburgia and sophomore attack Matthew Keegan. The half ended with the Bearcats trailing 13-6.
“I think a lot of [the offense stepping up] was just more possession,” McKeown said. “We played a lot of defense in that first quarter. It came down to the opportunities that we got, and we got a little bit more comfortable as we got more opportunities just going against [Lehigh’s] defense and having some success.”
After halftime, BU took command of the game in the third quarter. Lehigh couldn’t find the back of the net and could scarcely find the front of it either, with the Bearcats holding them to three shots in the period and no goals. Binghamton, on the other hand, went on the attack, scoring four goals in the frame. Senior midfielder Quinn O’Hara scored a goal, alongside another of Keegan’s and another pair from Adams. The third frame ended as a considerably tighter game, with the Bearcats trailing 13-10.
“Changing to a zone defense at halftime was a driving factor in the improvement on defense,” McKeown said. “That was a big change for us. We really hadn’t done it much all year. We were struggling stopping [Lehigh’s] dodgers one-on-one, so just felt like we needed to do something to be able to limit that.”
The match’s fourth and final period saw the BU continue its resurgence. After allowing the Mountain Hawks’ final goal of the game at the 12 minute mark, Imburgia responded with his own score followed by a second from Greenblatt. O’Hara brought BU to within one point with 3:42 on the clock, but despite the second half effort, the comeback was unable to be completed as Binghamton went down with a fight 14-13 in Bethlehem.
The Bearcats outshot the Mountain Hawks 37-35 and had 15 turnovers to Lehigh’s 20. Individual highlights include Adams’ five goals and Greenblatt’s two goals and three assists.
“Offensively, all those guys did a nice job,” McKeown said. “I thought they were clicking well as a unit. Offensively, as a whole, it was probably the best game that we’ve had yet.”
Binghamton will continue on the road to face Fairfield on Saturday, March 11. First face off is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium in Fairfield, Connecticut.