After wrapping up the regular season with a narrow win over Albany, the No. 3 seeded Binghamton men’s lacrosse team faced No. 2 seeded Bryant in an America East (AE) semifinal matchup. Despite an opportunity at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, the Bearcats were unable to execute and concluded their season with a 12-11 defeat to the Bulldogs.
“Really proud of the way the guys fought,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “We asked for them to give a little more at halftime — to be able to do better on ground balls — I thought we buckled down defensively and gave it our best shot there, but just came up a little bit short there.”
BU (9-5, 5-2 AE) opened the game stagnant offensively as Bryant (11-4, 5-2 AE) took advantage and struck first, scoring two goals less than four minutes in. The Bearcats responded as sophomore attack Matthew Keegan got on the board off an assist from redshirt junior midfielder Thomas Greenblatt. Neither team had success on offense for the next five minutes until the Bulldogs scored their third goal of the game. Binghamton responded with three unanswered goals to take a one score advantage. However, Bryant snuck a goal with 17 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game going into the second frame.
“[Keegan] and [Greenblatt] were a great one-two punch,” McKeown said. “I think either one of them could’ve been offensive player of the year, but good to see [Greenblatt] get that and [break] the assist record at the school. So I think both of those guys were huge pieces that play great off one another. They’re great people and great leaders on our program.”
The Bulldogs found the back of the net first in the second period, scoring 35 seconds in. Shortly after, senior midfielder Quinn O’Hara brought the score even once again. Despite the back-and-forth nature of the game, Bryant took control for the remainder of the half, outscoring the Bearcats 5-2 as Binghamton entered the break, down 9-6.
“[Bryant] was able to win a couple of faceoffs quick and got the ball back,” McKeown said. “They’re a team that does go on runs, and we saw that in our first game against them and we’ve seen that in other games of theirs this year.”
Facing a three-goal deficit heading into the second half, BU immediately got to work as junior midfielder Ethan Insinga netted a goal two minutes into the period. Greenblatt made it a one-score game and Insinga knotted it up to cap a three-goal run by the Bearcats. The Bulldogs’ one and only goal of the quarter came with just under three minutes remaining as they took a one-goal cushion heading into the final frame.
“We definitely wanted to limit transition looks,” McKeown said. “[Bryant] got a few of those in the first half, so that was one thing. We wanted to make sure we were helping when we needed to. It felt like in the first half we didn’t do that quite enough so that’s what we wanted to look to do [in the second half].”
In the fourth quarter, O’Hara managed to tie the game at 10 less than two minutes into the frame. However, the Bulldogs answered with two consecutive scores to take the lead once again. With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Adams found the back of the net to make it a one-score game. In a last-ditch effort to send the game to overtime, the Bearcats had one last chance in the final minute. Despite getting three shots, including one that hit the post, Binghamton could not secure the equalizer as it fell short 12-11.
Insinga led the scoring with a hat trick while O’Hara, Keegan and Adams both added two goals apiece. Greenblatt added one and tallied two assists in the process. Sophmore goalie Connor Winters was between the pipes for BU and accumulated nine saves.
“I’m proud of them,” McKeown said. “They put themselves in positions to make some plays, hit a couple of pipes, just came up one play short, unfortunately.”
The loss ends Binghamton’s season in the AE semifinals for the second consecutive year in a row. Nonetheless, there were many accolades earned by the Bearcats this season. Greenblatt broke the program’s single-season assist record en route to being selected as AE Player of the Year. Additionally, Greenblatt, along with Keegan and Winters, were selected to the All-Conference First Team. Keegan led the conference in goals and points per game, while also ranking tied for seventh in the nation with 3.36 goals per game.
“In terms of overall success, it was a good step forward for us,” McKeown said. “But unfortunately, we kind of ended at the same spot as we did last year with a one-goal loss in the semifinals. We just gotta use that as another learning experience and continue to propel ourselves, continue to tell the story of Binghamton and our program. I think we still have a few more mountains to climb, and I think the future’s bright here.”