Katherine Scott/Pipe Dream Photographer

Led by the talent of freshman midfielder Noah Luescher and freshman forward Jack Muller, the Binghamton men’s soccer team powered past George Washington University, 4-0, to start the season off with a win. In its third season-opening win in the past four years, BU (1-0-0) delivered a four-goal performance that was the team’s highest-scoring output since 2014.

“I thought all the guys played well tonight,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “The freshmen had a great impact in today’s game.”

The Bearcats came out of the locker room swinging, netting their first goal at the 3:43 mark. Luescher executed a deep pass to junior forward Chris Nkoghe, who fired a shot that found the back of the net.

Binghamton’s offense began to stagger after its first goal, but as the end of the first half neared, Muller attempted to extend the lead with two shots on goal from close range. The Colonials’s goalkeeper, junior Thor Arne Höfs, made two incredible saves to keep George Washington (0-1-0) in the game as the teams switched sides.

With the score at 1-0, the Bearcats started the second half re-energized. At just four minutes in, redshirt senior midfielder Charlie Novoth crossed a ball to Muller, who finished the play, pushing the lead to 2-0.

“We came out strong [and] scored again early,” Novoth said.

The Bearcats kept the pressure alive, as just six minutes later, Luescher scored the team’s third goal of the game. After his strike, BU put a stronger emphasis on defense, with the Colonials applying more offensive pressure.

Toward the end of the second period, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alejandro Cubillo was forced to make two diving saves to keep the clean sheet and earn the seventh solo shutout of his career. Binghamton later posted on an insurance goal, as junior forward Nikos Psarras pushed the score to 4-0 with less than three minutes remaining.

There was no certainty to how the Bearcats would perform with multiple freshmen in the starting lineup, but with stellar play from several different newcomers, the Bearcats prevailed. Luescher’s three points were the highest total recorded by a BU freshman since the program moved up to the NCAA Division I level in 2001.

“The back four were really good even though we had two new faces in there,” Marco said.

Guided by the veterans on the team, Binghamton’s new players said they are looking to continue their success as the season progresses.

“Charlie is a great captain,” Luescher said. “He’s a leader, he always tells us freshmen to improve ourselves and work hard. It’s a pleasure to have a player like him on our team.”

With an impressive season opener under its belt, the team is optimistic about the upcoming season.

“It’s tough to say how the season will go from one game, but from tonight’s performance, as a team we only have positive thoughts,” Novoth said.

Binghamton will play its next game on the road against the defending Patriot League champion Colgate on Monday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Beyer-Small ’76 Field in Hamilton, New York.