Just in time for Homecoming Weekend, when the Binghamton men’s soccer team typically draws its largest crowd of the season, the Bearcats are on a hot streak.
Having won its second-straight conference match last week, BU (4-8, 2-0 America East) aims to draw out its newfound dominance against AE-rival Vermont at 6 p.m. Saturday to remain undefeated in the conference.
Most recently, BU bested New Hampshire last Saturday, when senior defender Derrick Ladeairous fired an unassisted goal into the back of the net in the 84th minute. That triumph came on the heels of a 1-0 victory over Hartford the weekend before, when senior forward Steven Celeste netted the game’s only score for a game-winner of his own.
Despite being outshot by their opponents in both matches, 8-5 and 10-7, respectively, the Bearcats have taken advantage of their opportunities at various points during each match. That capitalization is an aspect of their play they had struggled to execute earlier this season. Still, head coach Paul Marco sees room for improvement.
“I still think we need to create more scoring opportunities,” Marco said. “Although we’ve scored goals, we still need to create more opportunities. That continues to be a focus with our team.”
Undeterred by an extended six-game losing streak earlier in the season, the Bearcats rebounded to post an undefeated record so far in conference play. However, each of these victories has come by the smallest of margins.
“The conference games are all very tight. They’re close games — a moment here or there,” Marco said.
Such close competition makes it even more imperative that Binghamton executes as it has practiced during training sessions, which, according to Ladeairous, has included “attacking, working on our movement up top and forward.”
Saturday evening’s game will be one of the main events of Homecoming Weekend, which is usually characterized by a large fan turnout.
“It just gives everyone more energy and I think it will be a lot of fun,” Ladeairous said.
The Bearcats will need to utilize this extra intensity to try and quell the Catamounts, whom they have not defeated since 2010.
In their most recent matchup last fall, Vermont bested Binghamton, 2-0. The Catamounts (6-5-2, 1-1-1 AE) enter Saturday’s game on a positive note, after playing to a scoreless tie at UMass Lowell on Wednesday before beating Stony Brook, 2-0, the subsequent Saturday. In that match, Vermont was led by sophomore forward Brian Wright, who supplied both a goal and an assist. In 2013, the speedy Canadian led his team in scoring and was named the America East Rookie of the Year. That in mind, controlling Wright’s explosiveness should be a key point for the Bearcats’ defense.
The Bearcats will take on Vermont with more rest than anticipated. On Wednesday, Binghamton was scheduled to travel south to face AE-powerhouse UMBC. Due to the anticipation of inclement weather, however, that game was rescheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 29.
Kickoff against the Catamounts is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Bearcats Sports Complex.