Fresh off an electric Homecoming win, the Binghamton men’s soccer team kept its momentum going Tuesday night. The Bearcats (5-2-3) defeated Bucknell, 1-0, in their last game before the start of America East (AE) play.
“We used a lot of energy on Saturday’s match,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “I was very pleased with their performance, [and] the manner at which they conducted themselves throughout the match.”
At critical moments in the match, BU’s composure against the Bison (2-6-2) was its greatest asset.
In the 32nd minute, junior forward Ben Ovetsky reigned in a pass from sophomore forward Nikkos Psarras, dribbled the ball through two defenders and snuck past the goalkeeper to score the game’s first — and only — goal.
“Me and Nikkos [Psarras] just have an understanding that’s hard to mimic for other players, so he kind of put it on a platter for me; he did the hard work and I did the easy work,” Ovetsky said.
After his third goal and seventh point of the season, Ovetsky is tied with Psarras for the team lead in both categories.
Although Ovetsky’s was the game’s only goal, Binghamton still created chances around the net, tallying five shots over the course of the match. Ovetsky had three of them, two of which came from header opportunities that missed the target in the second period.
“[I was] a bit disappointed, but [it’s] nothing a little practice can’t fix,” he said.
While the offense kept applying pressure, the Bearcats’ back line held strong against Bucknell’s formidable attack, which levied nine shots on the match. The Bison failed to capitalize on any of their scoring opportunities.
“We’re a young back four — the center-backs especially — but I think we communicate very well,” said redshirt junior back Charlie Novoth.
Also contributing to Binghamton’s strong defensive performance was redshirt freshman goalkeeper Chris Shutler, who recorded a clean sheet in his collegiate debut. In the 52nd minute, he shined when he turned away two consecutive shots that would have tied the match.
“I think Chris Shutler in goal was fantastic,” Marco said. “He really kept us in the game.”
After Shutler’s save, the momentum proved to be in Binghamton’s favor. As time wound down, the Bearcats sustained their intensity to secure the victory.
“We were able to keep the ball, keep it simple and just play out,” Shutler said.
Despite their successful end to nonconference play, the Bearcats recognize the difficulty of their schedule moving forward in the AE, which has four of its teams ranked in the top-50 nationwide.
“It’s going to be a great year for the conference,” Marco said. “We’re the fourth-rated conference in the country.”
The Bearcats are set to begin AE play on Saturday against UMass Lowell. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Cushing Field Complex in Lowell, Massachusetts.