Despite a late surge propelled by a five-goal fourth quarter, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team was unable to complete its comeback against Hartford on Saturday, falling, 13-12. Trailing by as many as five goals in the third quarter, the Bearcats (2-6, 1-1 America East) fought the Hawks (4-4, 2-1 AE) to within one goal with 1:40 remaining.
That was the closest the Bearcats would come en route to their first conference loss of the season.
Hartford got off to a quick start out of the gate. The Hawks scored the first two goals of the contest and after a quick Binghamton answer, ended the quarter on a 3-0 run to open up a 5-1 lead at the end of the first.
BU head coach Scott Nelson attributed the rough start to early mistakes on both ends of the field.
“We had a few defensive mistakes and turned the ball over on offense,” Nelson said. “We were just asleep on defense to start the game.”
After a quiet first quarter, the Binghamton offense came to life in the second. The Bearcats scored the first two goals of the quarter, led by redshirt freshman attack Sean Gilroy. Gilroy netted his 13th goal of the year in the matchup, which ties for the most goals on BU.
Hartford pieced together an answer to go up, 6-3, however, and the Bearcats countered with two more goals of their own. The Hawks regained control of the quarter by finishing on a 3-0 run to go into half ahead, 9-5.
Following the break, Binghamton’s defense came into its own. After allowing nine first-half goals, the Bearcats were able to hold Hartford to four in the second half of play.
“The offense helped a lot with [our second half defense],” Nelson said. “They had the ball a lot more and put some goals in the net. We also changed some defensive matchups midway through the third so that helped us out.”
After a third quarter won by Hartford, 3-2, BU came into the final 15 down by 12-7. But Binghamton’s offense came alive in the fourth as senior midfielder J.T. Hauck opened the quarter with a goal just over one minute into play. Senior attack Tucker Nelson followed with his ninth of the year to cut the Hawks lead, 12-9, on a man-up opportunity for BU. The Hawks requited on their next possession, as they were able to do all day, to push the advantage to four on their final goal of the day.
Next to net for the Bearcats was junior defender George Deignan, rushing up from midfield to put the lead back to three. After opening scoring in the quarter, Hauck scored two more goals in the fourth, giving him five for the game and cutting the Hartford lead to one with less than two minutes to go.
“J.T. [Hauck] meant everything out there to us,” Nelson said. “He was the guy who got everything going for us. He had five goals and he did them every single way. Off dodges, off cuts and that’s what he’s capable of. We weren’t surprised at all and we’re hoping to see more of it.”
After their final shot attempt sailed wide, the Bearcats were unable to finish the job against the Hawks in the final seconds. Turning the ball over 14 times, with four turnovers in the final stanza, the Achilles’ heel that stuck BU in its previous matchup showed up again in its fourth consecutive loss. But according to Nelson, growth was apparent in his young team, especially in its late run.
“The guys certainly fought really hard,” Nelson said. “They never quit and we are proud of them for that.”
BU is set to head to continue AE play at UMass Lowell. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Cushing Field Complex in Lowell, Massachusetts.