Rachel Tomei/Pipe Dream Photographer Senior defenseman Garrett Waldron anchored the Bearcats against Vermont, recording four ground balls and forcing four turnovers.

Heading into halftime against Vermont on Saturday, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team trailed by one in a defensive battle. The Bearcats (6-1, 2-0 America East) proved to be up for a comeback, dominating the third quarter and going on to win, 8-5. The victory marks BU’s fifth straight.

“Vermont came out with a great game plan,” said BU head coach Kevin McKeown. “They used a zone defense and kind of stymied us a little bit in the first half. As the game went on, I think we started finding our spots a little bit better.”

Despite netting just eight goals on Saturday, the Bearcats entered the game averaging 11.5 goals per game. While BU’s offense was not as explosive against Vermont (4-5, 0-2 AE), its defense continued its stellar play. BU has now held its opponents to less than 10 goals in six of seven games this year. Leading the way for the defense was senior goaltender Tanner Cosens, who recorded eight saves in the win.

“When you’re making those saves 100 times in practice … it kind of becomes second nature,” Cosens said. “It really comes down to preparation.”

Senior captain and defenseman Garrett Waldron was also a force on the for the Bearcats. He finished the game with four ground balls and four caused turnovers.

“As a defense, we knew it was up to us to get some stops,” Waldron said. “In the third quarter we were able to do that, and that’s how we were able to find a way to … get the win.”

The first half was a struggle offensively for both teams, as only seven total goals were scored. Vermont ended the half on a three-goal run to enter the break ahead, 4-3.

In the third period, the Bearcats offense found its groove, with four different players finding the back of the net. Sophomore attack Griffin Konen capped off the quarter by scoring with just one second remaining to give BU a 7-4 lead.

The Bearcats only allowed one goal in the entire second half to secure the victory. They are now 2-0 in AE Conference play and are tied for first with Albany.

“I think it was a great team effort, and it certainly is awesome to start out 2-0 in conference,” McKeown said.

Although the offense was not at its best, redshirt senior attack Tom Moore continued his stellar play, scoring a goal and adding two assists. He leads BU in goals (22) and assists (16). Moore’s dynamic play has opened up opportunities for his teammates on the offensive end. Senior midfielder Tyler Deluca took advantage of those opportunities on Saturday, scoring twice. His 11 goals currently rank second on the team.

A year after winning only four games, the Bearcats now find themselves on the verge of being nationally ranked for the first time since 2006. BU received votes in last week’s Inside Lacrosse Coaches Poll and USILA/Nike Coaches Poll.

“We’re just trying to focus week by week, coming out and having a great week of practice,” McKeown said. “We’ve really kind of set the standard that winning starts on Monday in practice.”

BU will look to continue its hot streak in a nonconference matchup on Tuesday against Canisius. The Bearcats have two nonconference games slated before returning to AE play in two weeks.

Faceoff against Canisius is set for 4 p.m. on Tuesday from the Demske Sports Complex in Buffalo, New York.