Emily Earl/Pipe Dream Photographer Sophomore midfielder Harrison Weilbacher battles two defenders in last season's 1-0 loss to UMass Lowell.

After an early-season slump, the Binghamton men’s soccer team has won its last two games. So far this season, the Bearcats (5-2-3) have been forced to test their depth after a spate of injuries to experienced players. In the process, BU’s young talent has proved reliable. Now, Binghamton will begin America East (AE) play looking for an upset against No. 19 UMass Lowell.

Here are three things BU head coach Paul Marco said before Binghamton’s trip to Lowell:

The America East is the best it’s been

Marco has been Binghamton’s head coach since it became a Division I program and joined the AE in 2001. He has led the Bearcats to two conference championships, in addition to an appearance the conference championship last season. But he acknowledges this year will be tough. In the most recent NSCAA coaches poll, UMass Lowell is ranked No. 19, while Vermont and New Hampshire have both received votes.

“I probably say, without hesitation, that the America East is the strongest since I’ve been here,” Marco said. “I did say that going into the season that I thought this was a good year for the conference. I’m really delighted with how well the conference has done.”

Psarras is day-to-day

Sophomore forward Nikkos Psarras is nursing a minor injury, and is considered day-to-day. Since senior forward Alex Varkatzas’s season-ending injury in early September, Psarras has emerged as a key player in Binghamton’s offense. He has tallied three goals and one assist, good for seven points. Psarras shares the team lead in goals and points with junior forward Ben Ovetsky.

“[Psarras] is a contact guy so sometimes you give it out and sometimes you take it,” Marco said. “Today he took it a little bit, but hopefully he’ll be fine by Saturday.”

Cubillo is the keeper going forward

While the Bearcats miss the presence of two-time AE goalkeeper of the year Robert Moewes, redshirt freshman Alejandro Cubillo has held his own in pre-conference play, recording a .730 save percentage. Cubillo beat out the team’s two other goalkeepers, redshirt freshman Chris Shutler and freshman Isaiah Pettis, for the starting spot after transferring from UConn.

“Cubillo right now is our No. 1,” Marco said. “I think we have three terrific goalkeepers. Chris [Shutler] came in against Bucknell and did a very good job. He made three terrific saves for us. And then Isaiah Pettis has been outstanding for us. Because we have three young freshmen, it’s a challenge. If we go the entire year without playing Isaiah [Pettis] then he doesn’t use up a year of eligibility, which could be a great thing for our program, and for him later on.”