When the Binghamton men’s soccer team walked off the field Saturday night after a scoreless tie with Stony Brook, there was a palpable aura of frustration that loomed over the pitch. The draw puts the Bearcats at 7-4-6 on the season, and 1-2-3 in America East (AE) play.
“I’m not disappointed; I just think there was [a] little more quality we could have given tonight,” said BU head coach Paul Marco.
By the time the final horn blew, BU had mustered eight shots on goal. Three of those shots were posted by senior forward Logan Roberts. In the 44th minute, he made an aggressive header attempt that sent him plunging into the net, but Seawolves’ redshirt junior goalkeeper Tom McMahon made a remarkable save that kept the ball from following in Roberts’ path.
The inability to finish on scoring opportunities was the main source of BU’s frustration in the match against the Seawolves (8-5-3, 3-2-1 AE).
“I thought we lacked a little up front,” Marco said. “If we could create a couple more chances for our strikers we would have [gotten] a goal there at the end.”
Saturday night was not without celebration, however, as the Bearcats honored five graduating players. Binghamton recognized five players on Senior Night: Roberts, backs Zach Galluzzo and Shervin Mohajeri, midfielder Mike Kubik and forward Alex Varkatzas.
The most important result for BU on the night wasn’t its draw, but Vermont’s 3-0 victory over UMBC. Thanks to that result and BU’s tie, the Bearcats secured an AE playoff berth. Despite being in seventh place, BU clinched a spot in the six-team tournament since first place UMass Lowell, which recently transitioned from Division II to Division I, isn’t eligible for the postseason until next season.
“I’m very thrilled for our seniors and our team that we get to have one more match,” Marco said.
With a guaranteed playoff spot, the Bearcats can take a deep breath and figure out their game plan moving forward.
“I’d like the outcome to be a little different, but overall I thought our guys did pretty well,” Marco said.
A highlight of the draw with Stony Brook was BU’s ability to keep the Seawolves off the board.
“Coach [Marco] did a pretty good job preparing us,” said sophomore midfielder Kevin Flesch. “They stayed high in attack … and I think we did a pretty good job there.”
Marco echoed those sentiments and praised his team’s defensive pressure.
“We didn’t give [Stony Brook] a lot of time and space on the ball,” he said. “We took care of their two special players.”
Whenever Stony Brook managed to put shots on goal, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alejandro Cubillo kept them from finding the back of the net. Ultimately, Cubillo’s most effective contribution may be his ability to manage the Bearcats’ defense.
“He’s very vocal,” Flesch said. “It’s always great to have a voice in the back to see whose helping you take up positions.”
Standing between BU and AE Tournament play is one final regular season match against an Albany squad that received 20 votes in the most recent Division I coaches poll. The Great Danes currently sit in third place in the AE standings.
The outcome of this match will be a crucial factor in deciding whether the Bearcats are the fifth or sixth seed in the AE Tournament. In order to come away with a win against such a solid opponent, BU will have to find a way to capitalize on scoring opportunities and continue its stingy defensive play.
BU’s matchup against Albany is slated for Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Bob Ford Field in Albany, New York.