A week after defeating Hartford, 10-9, and extending its win streak to eight games, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team suffered its first loss since February. The Bearcats (9-2, 3-1 America East) fell to UMBC in a low-scoring affair, 7-6, on Saturday.
BU’s first game against Hartford (4-7, 1-3 AE) came down to the wire. The Hawks struck first but the Bearcats responded quickly, ending the first quarter on a 4-1 run. The Bearcats seemed to be in control, but Hartford dominated the second period. Hartford stormed back with five straight goals to go into the locker room ahead, 6-4.
“I thought it was great to see us be able to play from behind,” said BU head coach Kevin McKeown. “It was the first time we’ve really had to make a comeback being down at halftime, and I thought our guys responded well.”
The Binghamton defense was key in getting the Bearcats back in the game, shutting out the Hawks’ offense in the third. The offense added three straight goals of its own to regain the lead heading into the fourth, 7-6.
“It was a great team effort in the second half,” McKeown said.
The theme of the game was unanswered goals and after Binghamton’s three scores in the third, Hartford recorded three of its own to regain the lead, 9-8, with just 3:55 left in the game.
Redshirt senior attack Tom Moore tied the game with less than 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Bearcats finished off the Hawks when junior midfielder Joe Grossi scored 32 seconds later to give BU a 10-9 edge to finish the game.
“Our whole team fought well all game, we battled and it was a tough one, a close one, but to get this conference game is huge for us,” Grossi said.
The win improved BU’s record to 3-0 in the AE play. This marks the Bearcats’ best start in conference since 2014 — the last time they made the conference tournament.
Senior goaltender Tanner Cosens came up big once again with 11 saves. He made a key save with 52 seconds left to preserve the Binghamton victory.
“It’s awesome to come out in the second half and really find yourself and do it for your friends and do it for your teammates,” Cosens said.
After the exhilarating win over Hartford, the Bearcats had a week to prepare for UMBC (5-6, 3-1 AE), who came into the game third in the AE, only one game behind BU. The Bearcats started the game much like their game against Hartford, ending the first quarter with a 4-1 lead. However, the offense struggled for the rest of the game.
The Retrievers defense took over after the first, only allowing the Bearcats two goals for the remainder of the game. They were able to hold BU’s top scorer Moore to two goals and zero assists.
As weak as BU’s offense looked, the Bearcats still found themselves with a chance to win the game in the final minutes. Sophomore midfielder Joe Licata completed his hat trick with 6:07 remaining in the fourth to give BU a 6-5 advantage.
The Retrievers answered a minute later to tie the game before scoring the game-winning shot with 3:13 remaining. BU grabbed possession with 30 seconds left, but the UMBC defense stood tall and caused a turnover before running out the clock.
The loss drops BU out of the Inside Lacrosse top-20 rankings, but BU is still tied for second with UMBC in the AE.
The Bearcats are set to continue AE play against No. 5 Albany on Wednesday. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.