The effort showed but the result was the same, as the Binghamton women’s soccer team dropped its sixth straight game in a 1-0 loss to Albany. The match marks the Bearcats’ sixth consecutive game without a goal. With the loss, BU (4-8-2) falls to 0-4 in the America East (AE).
“I was proud of the effort; we had a specific tactical game plan of how we were going to defend and the players executed it,” said BU head coach Neel Bhattacharjee.
The game was physical and defensive, with both teams struggling to find a sight at goal. The difference came in the 29th minute when Albany was awarded a corner kick. Albany’s senior midfielder and forward Alexa Schneider headed the ball off the cross bar before it fell to junior forward Vivian Vega, who slotted the rebound away.
“They’re so dangerous [on set pieces],” Bhattacharjee said. “They were able to score from [a set piece], where they got the initial ball in and were able to finish a scrum in the box.”
Binghamton pressed hard for an equalizer before the half. The Bearcats tallied three shots on goal while racking up three corner kicks. However, they were unable to beat Albany’s redshirt freshman goalkeeper Chloe Borasky, and headed into the locker room down, 1-0.
Both teams stepped up their defensive pressure in the second half. BU’s offense pushed more players upfield as the game progressed, but Albany’s defense did not give up an inch. The Bearcats were unable to produce a shot on goal in the second half.
“We got into the final third 26 times … but just weren’t able to convert it to a goal in the end,” Bhattacharjee said. “We definitely had our fair share of chances.”
Despite the loss, Bhattacharjee liked his team’s effort and its ability to keep the match close.
“I think the game really boiled down to one thing: They scored on a set piece and we didn’t,” Bhattacharjee said.
The defensive game plan for Binghamton worked very well for most of the game. Their plan was to limit Albany’s chances in front of goal and increase the pressure as soon as they touched the ball.
“I thought our defending was really good higher up the field. Our forwards were told to funnel play to a certain direction, which they were able to do,” Bhattacharjee said.
Bhattacharjee was pleased with the lack of work required of star junior goalkeeper Katie Hatziyianis, who was called on to make just two saves. Coming into the game she had a .782 save percentage to go along with a 1.29 goals against average. Her 61 saves are third most in the AE.
“Whenever we [defend high up the field], that’s so much less pressure for our backs and goalkeepers to have to deal with,” he said. “If you think about it, Katie Hatziyianis really didn’t have to make huge point-blank saves.”
The area in which Albany gave the Bearcats the most trouble was set pieces. The Great Danes had five corner kicks in the game, resulting in their lone goal, as well as multiple dangerous free kicks.
“[Their] service was pretty good and they’ve got some pretty good runners, [and] the timing of the runs especially, that was a big one, ” he said.
The Bearcats currently sit in last place in the AE. However, coming off this good performance they still have four games remaining, which gives them some time to move into playoff contention.
BU is scheduled to play Maine on Sunday. Kickoff is set for noon at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.