Following a thrilling upset over the 28th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes eight days ago, the Binghamton men’s soccer team (2-1) carried its momentum into Monday’s home opener against Manhattan, besting the Jaspers (0-3), 1-0.
After the game, however, BU Head Coach Paul Marco said he had wasn’t completely convinced the team’s drive headed into the Labor Day contest.
“The momentum died a little in the middle of the week, we had too long a gap between Ohio State and this match for us to have momentum still,” he said. “Friday, Saturday we had a little bit of a lull, and then we were good again yesterday in training so I thought we’d get a good response from the guys.”
The Bearcats came out strong in the first half, with dominating ball control in the offensive end. But despite ample opportunity, Binghamton failed to find in the back of the net. While the Bearcats struggled to convert in the first, freshman midfielder Kristian Piippo buried a cross from senior midfielder Tucker Sandercock in the 69th minute. The goal, the first of Piippo’s collegiate career, proved to be the game winner and propelled the Bearcats to their second straight shutout win.
“I saw Tucker [Sandercock] go down the line and I was just trying to get to the box,” Piippo said. “Tucker delivered a good ball and I brought the ball down and just smashed it through the goalkeeper’s legs.”
After Piippo’s goal, Binghamton took its foot off the gas, allowing Manhattan to control possession for the first time in the game.
“We let them back in the game a little bit and maybe that was the time to go and get the second goal,” Marco said. “Instead we sat deeper and let them have the ball a little bit more. Our energy wasn’t as high when we pressed.”
The Jaspers made a late run, shooting two of their five total shots in the final three minutes of the game. But the Binghamton defense and junior goalkeeper Robert Moewes were up to the task, keeping the shutout intact. BU outshot Manhattan, 9-5.
“Overall, I was pretty pleased,” Marco said. “Manhattan came at us late, tried to get the goal to equalize, but our guys were good.”
Binghamton is set to return to the field Wednesday against Saint Peter’s (1-2). This time, the team believes the short gap between games will allow the momentum to carry over.
“Go over this game, talk about what we did right and what we did wrong, fix any little mistakes that can be fixed before the next game,” senior Tucker Sandercock explained. “I think we got the next game in the bag.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.