After a 3-0 start to America East (AE) play, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team entered Saturday’s contest in a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings. BU hosted undefeated Vermont in an attempt to take sole possession of this title. However, despite an early Bearcat lead, a second-quarter Catamount run put the visitors ahead as they bested the hosts 11-9.
“When you play good teams and you have the conference games late in the season, that’s kind of the way it goes,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “We knew with a 4-1 lead for us, we knew [Vermont was] gonna punch back.”
Although BU (7-3, 3-1 AE) led 4-1 after the first, Vermont (6-4, 4-0 AE) put the first point on the board five minutes into the match. Redshirt junior midfielder Thomas Greenblatt answered just 90 seconds later to put the game back at a draw. The Bearcats would maintain momentum in the period as senior midfielder Nicholas Imburgia and sophomore attack Gage Adams added consecutive goals as the hosts entered the second quarter with a two-point advantage.
“I thought we played a really good team [and] good opponent, and I thought we competed pretty well,” McKeown said. “One of the things we talked about going into the game was ground balls and clearing just to really make sure we had as much possession as possible. I thought that was a big factor in the outcome.”
Binghamton’s first-period run poured into the second as an early-frame score by sophomore attack Matthew Keegan put his team ahead of the Catamounts 4-1. Vermont, however, soon found its footing and sparked its own run, scoring two straight goals, although BU would add another of their own courtesy of junior midfielder Ethan Insinga. The Catamounts, nevertheless, did not slow down their attack adding three more goals in the final three minutes of the first half and grabbed the lead back from the Bearcats. Vermont entered the break with a 6-5 lead.
“We did a good job in the middle of the field,” McKeown said. “The possession battle was something that we wanted to try to tilt in our favor, but weren’t able to do that.”
Vermont would also maintain its offensive output over the break going into the third. The Catamounts scored two straight man-up goals, taking a three-goal advantage and capping off a 5-0 run that began late in the first half. Late in the frame, Binghamton closed on its deficit. Keegan converted on a score, courtesy of an assist from Greenblatt, which brought the Bearcats to within just two points as they entered the final quarter trailing 8-6.
“I also think part of the game that hurt us a bit was we were 0-for-3 man-up, and I think [Vermont was] 3-for-4,” McKeown said. “A couple penalties there [in the] mid-third quarter that I thought really kinda put our backs against the wall and [Vermont] scored on both of them.”
BU was on the board first in the fourth as Insinga added his second goal of the game to bring the hosts within one at 8-7. The Catamounts, however, went back on the offensive, scoring three unanswered to go up four goals. Keegan added two more goals in the final minute of action, but it was too late as time ran out and the Bearcats dropped the contest 11-9.
“I think we know we can play with the best teams in the conference, and obviously Vermont is [tied for first],” McKeown said. “We were right there with them, so I think just continuing to get better over these next three weeks, taking it one game at a time and hopefully we find ourselves with an opportunity to see them again.”
Binghamton will return to action on the road when it faces UMBC on Saturday, April 15. First faceoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at UMBC Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.