Despite a notable offensive performance from the Binghamton University’s men’s soccer team, the team fell to George Mason, 4-3, a little over seven minutes into overtime. Even though the loss to the Patriots (3-1-1) marked the third consecutive loss for the Bearcats (2-3), the squad remained optimistic about the remainder of its season.
“I thought we played quite well on Friday,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “Perhaps one of our better performances.”
Binghamton had its offense going early with a goal from junior forward Nikos Psarras in the fifth minute of play. BU’s attack remained consistent as it finished the night with nine shots on goal and 20 shots as a team, double the Patriots’ total shots for the entire game.
GMU responded to the goal with two of its own from senior forward Henning Dirks and sophomore midfielder Ryan Mingachos, pushing the score to 2-1 at the half.
Psarras went on to find the back of the net again as he fired a shot in the 64th minute to tie the game at two. After surrendering another goal to George Mason, BU responded when freshman midfielder Noah Luescher tied the game up at three in the 88th minute to force an overtime.
“You score three goals, you should hopefully win the game,” Marco said.
Unfortunately, those three goals were not enough, as the Patriots scored in the 98th minute to defeat the Bearcats in overtime. Marco attributed the defeat to a few key mistakes from players who played well otherwise. One example he pointed to was a missed clearance that led to the first Patriots goal.
“For as well as guys are playing, if they have one moment that lapses and [show] a lack of concentration, you may be having a great game,” Marco said. “But it may cost us a game if you aren’t sharp in one moment.”
Marco stressed the importance of fitness for the Bearcats’ future success and their ability to keep games within reach. He acknowledged many of the team’s issues to its lack of fitness when compared to opposing squads.
“[George Mason] didn’t make any changes, and we had to make changes because guys are tired and cramping,” Marco said.
According to Marco, the lack of fitness and injury prompted the absence of four major players: junior midfielder Florian Orth, junior midfielder Harrison Weilbacher, junior midfielder Conrad Nowowiejski and redshirt sophomore back Stephen McKenna. Despite the fitness concerns, Marco recognized that the team has been performing well, especially against the Patriots.
“We created many of our scoring opportunities,” Marco said. “We kept the ball for spells in the game. We were very useful with the ball. Possession was quite good in the game. We handled some of their special players in moments when they tried to get dangerous.”
Despite the losing streak, Marco emphasized that the Bearcats’ team this year is an especially good one. Although BU has not won since August, Psarras and Luescher have emerged as vital contributors who have positively impacted the team.
“We knew when the season started and the guys arrived for preseason that it was the start of something special,” Marco said.
The future is undeniably bright for the Bearcats, and there is not an overwhelming number of problems that Marco believes the Bearcats need to address, even with the recent slump in mind.
“I think we just need to clean up some of these mistakes that we’re making and we’ll start to see the W’s hopefully start showing up again,” Marco said.
Binghamton is seeking to fix these mistakes before its match against American University on Monday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon on Sept. 11 from Reeves Field in Washington, D.C.