The weather may be cooling down in Binghamton, but the men’s soccer team braved the early September heat down in Harrisonburg, Virginia this past weekend at the James Madison Tournament, where it went 0-2 overall against stiff competition.
The Bearcats (2-2) began play at the invitational on Friday night in a match against James Madison University. The Dukes (2-1-1) took control of the game early by scoring just 13 minutes into the game, and followed up quickly by netting another shot a minute later, pushing the score to 2-0 after only 14 minutes of play.
For the remainder of the half, Binghamton went on the defensive, with redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alejandro Cubillo posting two saves against the Dukes. This style of play continued into the second period, where Cubillo made an additional four saves before the end of the game.
Although Cubillo did not surrender any goals in the second half, the Bearcats were simply unable to score. Binghamton ultimately fell to James Madison, 2-0, while recording only one corner kick and seven shots for the entire game.
“I felt a little disappointed after Friday’s match,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “I don’t think we put enough into the match. If we had played like we did today [Sunday] on Friday, I don’t know how that match would’ve gone. I would’ve liked our chances a little better.”
BU returned to the field on Sunday to face off against No. 15 Virginia Tech. The game remained fairly even until the Bearcats gained the advantage in the 34th minute of the match, courtesy of junior forward Nikos Psarras and assisted by freshman midfielder Noah Luescher. The goal marked Psarras’ second goal of the season and Luescher’s second assist.
The Bearcats maintained their 1-0 lead until about the 70-minute mark, when the Hokies (2-2) were able to score off of a penalty kick. Despite Binghamton’s efforts to reverse the tie, Virginia Tech was able to score again just 11 minutes later, putting the game at 2-1.
“We did enough to secure at least a point today,” Marco said. “In one moment, I thought the ref did a really good job during the game, but he awarded them a penalty kick that myself and other coaches — their coaches — even their players’ body language, wasn’t appealing for a penalty. I think everybody was a little stunned that he gave it. So, [I was] disappointed because that’s how they tied the game.”
BU fired two more shots in a last-ditch attempt to tie the match, but with neither successful, the Hokies went on to take a victory, 2-1.
“I thought that our guys who played up front did a decent job today,” Marco said. “It was a lot of ground to cover for them in the heat, but Noah and Nikos, [freshman forward] Jack [Muller] and [junior forward] Chris [Nkoghe], I thought those guys did a pretty good job. And then the guys in the back I thought did a pretty good job. [Redshirt senior] Charlie [Novoth] and [junior back] Kevin [Flesch] and [freshman midfielder Chris] Stamper and [redshirt freshman back] Kurt [Wesch] were all solid today.”
Due in part to the tough competition, the Bearcats were left with a 0-2 overall record for the weekend invitational. However, with a day of rest and a couple days of preparation, Marco seemed optimistic about returning to play next weekend.
“Overall, I’m a little better after today’s performance than I was after Friday’s performance,” Marco said. “We’re still a work in progress. We still have some time to get a little fitter. The fitness is still a problem for us. But we saw a lot of guys play today and a couple of guys played quite well.”
Binghamton is scheduled to take on George Mason University this Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from the George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Virginia.