Early in the second quarter of Binghamton’s matchup with Colgate on Saturday, senior midfielder Tyler Deluca reigned in a clearing pass and immediately pivoted upfield. Deluca, unfazed by two of the Raiders’ defensemen waiting nearby, kicked his legs into high gear and barreled through toward the crease. He ripped a shot past the goaltender to put the Bearcats up, 4-2.
Deluca sprung from the ground, turned to the stands and tossed up his arms — a statement that brought the home crowd to its feet.
If nothing else, the Bearcats’ 11-8 win over the Raiders (0-2) was an opening statement. The victory marks the first time BU has taken down Colgate since the 2011 season.
“Everybody came to play,” said redshirt senior attack Tom Moore. “We win and lose together, and it was nice to come out of here with a ‘W’ today in our opener.”
Moore led the team with five points on four goals and one assist. Redshirt junior attack Sean Gilroy played in tandem with Moore, tallying three goals on the day. Although they combined for more than half of BU’s scoring, Moore and Gilroy’s scoring chances were a product of team-driven offense.
“We shared the ball really well,” said BU head coach Kevin McKeown. “The off-ball movement is what’s key in our offense and creating [scoring] opportunities.”
BU’s off-ball movement caused Colgate’s defense to break down on numerous occasions, allowing the Bearcats to dodge single defenders and get shots close to the net.
The Bearcats (1-0) mustered 43 shots against Colgate’s senior goalkeeper Brandon Burke, who posted an impressive 18 saves.
“He’s a very good goalie and it kind of gets in your head a little bit,” Gilroy said. “You’ve just got to shoot as hard as you can and know where you’re putting it — and hope it goes in.”
BU controlled the tempo of the game and applied pressure in the offensive zone, thanks to the defense’s ability to limit Colgate possessions and stifle its scoring opportunities.
“[The defense] got a lot of kills,” Gilroy said. “They were able to get ground balls and clear for us; we just possessed the ball at that point.”
The 11 turnovers forced by the Bearcats proved key to their defense.
As solid as the defense was, there were still long periods — especially later in the second half — in which Colgate was able to dominate possession. Notably, the Raiders exploited a faltering BU defense to end the third quarter on a 3-0 run and narrow the score to 8-6.
In crucial moments, however, BU relied on the stalwart performance of senior goalkeeper Tanner Cosens, who recorded 15 saves and allowed just 38 percent of Colgate’s shots to find net.
“He’s the heart and soul of our defense,” McKeown said. “Tanner [Cosens] really bailed us out. When we had some late defensive breakdown the second half, he came up with some really big saves.”
Cosens’ ability to make saves was critical for a Bearcat team that went 7-23 from the faceoff x.
“Our defense was getting stops, so we were able to get the ball back, but certainly … getting the ball at the faceoff is something that we’re going to be working on,” McKeown said.
After earning the first win of McKeown’s tenure, the Bearcats are confident as they move forward with their season.
“We know we have the parts in place to get wins and keep them rolling throughout the season,” Moore said.
BU is set to return to the field against Marist on Saturday. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.