Junior forward Steven Celeste and senior midfielder Tommy Moon kicked off the Binghamton men’s soccer team’s home opener with a bang, laying the groundwork for a 2-0 win over Buffalo Friday night.
With 1,200 screaming fans welcoming back the Bearcats (2-2-1) after a four-game road trip, an offense that had recorded just one goal all season scored in the 19th minute. Moon, who had tallied Binghamton’s lone goal in a 1-0 win over American, hit Celeste in stride, and the junior found the back of the net to build an early 1-0 lead.
“I was drifting to the back of the box … I know Tommy has great vision, I know he’s a great technical player, so I screamed for it … and got a nice foot on it,” Celeste said of his goal.
Junior midfielder Ben Nicholson was also given credit for an assist on Celeste’s goal.
The Bearcats continued to assert themselves in the second half, with senior back Robbie Hughes putting the game on ice with a 77th-minute goal. Hughes scored the clincher on a header in the box from junior back Matt McCoy’s corner kick.
“We created some great opportunities today, scored two goals, we hit the post and the crossbar each, so, overall, I’m pleased with the effort we’re getting,” head coach Paul Marco said.
Although BU produced its highest-scoring output of the season, the spotlight shined brightest on its defense. By holding the Bulls (0-4-2) scoreless, the Bearcats, who haven’t allowed a goal in 310 consecutive minutes, earned their third consecutive shutout.
The team’s stout defense was led by sophomore goalkeeper Stefano Frantellizzi, who saved six shots. The backline also played its part, with defenders deflecting two additional shots.
The Bulls took eight corner kicks in the contest, keeping a steady amount of pressure on Frantellizzi and his defense.
“[Frantellizzi] was absolutely outstanding. Period,” Marco said.
Frantellizzi deflected praise to the backline.
“My defense is communicating well, so everything is going the right way right now,” Frantellizzi said. “We’re fighting for the ball, we’re getting every header basically.”
The Bearcats did not escape the win unscathed, however. With 18 minutes remaining in the first half, Moon collided with a defender at midfield and went down immediately, with an apparent injury to his left leg. He was carted off the field shortly thereafter.
The specific injury has yet to be disclosed by the team, but Marco said on Friday that he was hoping Moon’s status would be day-to-day.
After dropping their first two games, the Bearcats have come back to win two of their past three, adding a tie against George Mason.
BU will aim to continue its defensive dominance Wednesday night against Cornell. Kickoff against the Big Red (3-0-1) is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Charles F. Berman Field in Ithaca, N.Y.
This article was updated on Sept. 16 at 11:55 p.m.