Coming off of a 11-8 loss to Marist, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team was hungry for win and knew it would have to improve its defensive performance to get it. This is just what the Bearcats did over the break, besting both Hobart and Siena, and allowing just 11 total goals in the process.
The Bearcats (3-1) scored early against Hobart, ending the first quarter with a 5-1 advantage. After a stagnant first few minutes, the Bearcats found the breakthrough they needed.
In the first start of his career, sophomore attack Griffin Konen wasted no time proving his worth on the field, scoring the first goal of the game off of a fast-break assist from junior attack Thomas McAndrew. The stands and sideline erupted, giving the Bearcats the momentum they needed to defeat Hobart, 12-6.
“We worked hard all week during practice knowing that in order to win, we had to play hard the entire time,” said senior captain and midfielder Tyler Deluca.
Deluca led the team in goals, tallying three on the day. Redshirt junior attack Sean Gilroy followed with two goals and an assist while McAndrew added a goal and two assists. The Bearcats’ offense has become increasingly difficult to defend, with a multitude of players contributing each game.
“[Assistant] coach [Chris] Cooper, who’s running the offense, is doing a great job of putting the guys in places to set them up for what they’re doing well,” said BU head coach Kevin McKeown. “Today we shot the ball really well when we had some good opportunities.”
Those opportunities carried into the second quarter, when BU recorded another five goals while Hobart struggled, tallying just one goal.
Senior goalkeeper Tanner Cosens, who was named America East Defensive Player of the Week at the beginning of the week, proved problematic for the Statesmen. He recorded 13 saves and an impressive .684 save percentage.
“[Cosens] has done an outstanding job in his preparation for the season,” McKeown said. “It comes as no surprise that he is off to a terrific start.”
Even after Hobart went on a three-goal run midway through the third quarter to narrow the lead to 11-5, Cosens rallied the defense against the Statesmen.
“There wasn’t much we had to do as a coaching staff there,” McKeown said. “Our guys did a great job of remaining calm and levelheaded.”
Junior midfielder Austin Macchi also contributed to BU’s offensive success, coming up with 13 of 14 faceoffs won by the Bearcats.
“I was confident; I had a good week of practice and I thought the faceoff wings worked hard preparing for the game,” Macchi said. “They gave me great opportunities to win faceoffs.”
Preparation has become key for the Bearcats, who have increasingly improved in both faceoffs and shot percentage since their home opener against Colgate. The Bearcats have made an impressive adjustment in the past three weeks, going from a 25.6 shot percentage against Colgate to 32.4 percent against the Statesmen.
“We really focused on the little things, and making sure we had no empty possessions,” Deluca said. “We shot the ball really well and made sure not to let them have any clean saves.”
The game against Siena (0-6) was another defensive showcase, but the Bearcats’ offense took longer to get going. Binghamton ended the first quarter up only 2-1. BU added two more in the second while shutting down the Saints’ offense and securing a 4-1 advantage going into the half.
Siena was able to keep in close in the second half, but ultimately struggled with the stout BU defense. BU took the game, 10-5. Cosens had another impressive outing despite not seeing as many shots as the previous contest. He tallied seven saves on 12 shots on goal.
Senior attack Tom Moore, who has a goal in each game this season, spearheaded the Bearcats’ offense. He scored four goals while also tallying three assists and leads the Bearcats in both goals and points.
With a healthy balance of offense and defense, the Bearcats have gotten off to a strong start under McKeown.
BU is set to return to action this Saturday against Delaware. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m. from Delaware Stadium in Newark, Delaware.