Fall may have set in here on campus, but the Binghamton men’s soccer team avoided the change in season during a pair of away games in the Washington, D.C., area. BU (2-3-1) finished up its road trip in a match against American University this past Monday, where it tied its opponents in double overtime, 1-1.
“We had two weekends where we were down in Virginia,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “We thought we would maybe have a better outcome in those games, especially going into the first weekend, but I think we’re coming out of them with a pretty better understanding of where we are, some areas we need to improve on and some of the things we’re doing quite well.”
The first half of the match was played fairly evenly between the Bearcats and the Eagles (1-4-1), with each team firing shots on goal, but failing to convert anything.
Both teams appeared refreshed when they returned to play following halftime, with American scoring a goal just 2 1/2 minutes into the second period. Binghamton immediately responded with a goal of its own, courtesy of junior forward Nikos Psarras and assisted by freshman midfielder Noah Luescher.
“Nikos [has] been one of our top players here — he’s scored goals nearly in every game,” Marco said. “He has a lot more to offer the team than just what he’s doing by his goals, but we’re delighted for him getting the goals that he is.”
The match against American marked the third consecutive game in which the tandem has collaborated to net a point. Luescher previously assisted Psarras during this past Friday’s match against George Mason and last weekend’s game against Virginia Tech.
“Those two guys have done great,” Marco said. “Noah’s averaged a point or more per game, and Nikos’ gotten five goals in six games. So, you know, from a scoring standpoint, we’re doing pretty well.”
Neither team succeeded in scoring an additional goal before the end of the second period, forcing the match into its first overtime. Over the course of two 10-minute overtime periods, both American and Binghamton were again unsuccessful in breaking the stalemate. The game ended after the 110th minute of play in a 1-1 draw.
“We had a good performance on Monday against a decent American team,” Marco said. “They’re very similar to us, a very young team, a lot of growing pains for them too.”
In his season debut, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Chris Shutler collected 10 saves and recorded a save percentage of 0.909 percent. His contributions helped keep American to only one goal during the match.
This weekend, Binghamton will return home to take on Columbia University as part of Family Weekend. After two weekends away, the team is excited to play at home, especially after a long week of training.
“Right now, I’m so focused on driving them to levels of fitness that they’ve never seen before in their lives,” Marco said. “It’s a very hard week for them, so I imagine the guys will be delighted come Saturday because the game, hopefully, is going to be a little easier than training has been all week.”
Seeking its third win of the season, Binghamton is set to face off with Columbia this Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.