The Binghamton women’s soccer team may have put its best foot forward, but its 16 shots and 11 corner kicks failed to overpower Niagara University in a double-overtime match on Monday night.
After the Bearcats (3-0-1) put an onslaught of on-goal attempts at the start of the match, the Purple Eagles (1-1-1) were the ones to net the first goal of the game around the 25-minute mark. Despite appearing dominant and in-control during the opening 20 minutes, BU found itself down a goal at 24:10.
“When Niagara got their first shot, they actually scored,” said BU head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “Sometimes you can be the better team, but it may not show on the score line.”
Binghamton was able to come back and score a goal of its own about 10 minutes later, courtesy of freshman forward Essie Bonney and assisted by freshman midfielder Chloe Tracy and junior midfielder Patty Loonie. The goal, which was Bonney’s second of her rookie season, pushed the score to a 1-1 tie just before the half.
Just two minutes into the second period, freshman forward Genna Michitti recorded a goal that was assisted by redshirt junior forward Kayla Saager to give BU a 2-1 advantage. The goal marked Michitti’s first of her collegiate career as well as Saager’s eighth point of the season.
“We had a good chat at halftime and it translated to an early goal,” Bhattacharjee said. “Now we were up 2-1, and you could really see our team putting our stamp on the game.”
However, despite this initial success, the Bearcats were unable to ward off the Purple Eagles long enough to win the game. With eight minutes remaining in the match, Niagara scored a second goal, putting the score at a 2-2 tie and forcing the game into its first of two overtimes.
“I thought we got off to a fabulous start, which is something that we’ve struggled with,” Bhattacharjee said. “We’ve given goals up early in a couple halves that we’ve played. We got a 11-0 shot advantage, got numerous corner kicks, but the frustrating thing is that we didn’t convert those chances into a goal. So while we got off to a good start, it didn’t translate on the score a lot.”
Binghamton logged two shots and three corner kicks during the two 15-minute overtime periods, but this did not result in any change to the score. Both squads held up their defensive lines until the game ended in a stalemate at the 120-minute mark.
“We felt like that was a result that got away from us,” Bhattacharjee said. “That was a win that we could’ve had if we just kept our focus and attention and game quality up, but we let it slip. It’s an unfortunate lesson for us to learn, but one we’ll take and hopefully learn from going into the future.”
Bhattacharjee recognized several of the freshman players as the source of some of the success that BU featured throughout the game. Their play was influential in contributing to Binghamton’s 23 total shots and 13 shots on goal.
“It’s great that Chloe [Tracy] got an assist and Essie Bonney got her second goal and Genna Michitti got her first goal, so to see them perform well was good,” Bhattacharjee said. “[Freshman defender] Erin Theiller was solid in the back line for us all night. She gave us another solid, consistent performance.”
Following a highly contested match against Niagara, the Bearcats are next scheduled to take the field this Friday against Fairfield University. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.