Ithaca may be ‘gorges,’ but the Binghamton men’s soccer team had a slightly less-than-gorges match against Cornell on Tuesday night. The Bearcats (3-5-1) fell to the Big Red (4-3-1), 3-2, in a close game at the Charles F. Berman Field in Ithaca, New York.
“I thought we played very well in the game last night,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “In between the two boxes, I thought we were very, very good. In the boxes, we weren’t very good. In buildup play, we were terrific; we kept the ball for very long spells in the game.”
Even though both teams played competitively for the first 20 minutes, Cornell netted a goal to take a 1-0 advantage at the 20:30 mark. Binghamton made offensive strides to tie the score, recording four shots on goal, but they were not enough to get on the scoreboard before first period was over.
The time spent in the locker room during half-time seemed to regroup the team, however, as sophomore forward Haris Brkovic scored a goal just under three minutes into the second half. Unfortunately for the Bearcats, the Big Red responded with a goal of its own a mere 40 seconds later, giving Cornell the lead once again, 2-1.
Binghamton made attempts to tie the match, but its efforts were thwarted further when Cornell posted another goal at the 62nd minute mark, pulling further away from the Bearcats with the score at 3-1.
Undeterred, the Bearcats maintained their aggressive play, exemplified by redshirt senior midfielder Charlie Novoth’s yellow card midway through the second half. Their hard work paid off when Brkovic recorded an additional goal just four minutes before the end of the period. As Binghamton was unable to find the back of the net again, the score remained in favor of Cornell, 3-2, and it ultimately claimed victory.
Despite the loss, BU played competitively against a squad that took down No. 11 Syracuse two weeks prior. Perhaps most notably, this was Brkovic’s second game in a row in which he scored two consecutive goals. Neither of Brkovic’s goals in this match were assisted.
“He’s been in the right place at the right time, and his energy and work rate has increased recently, which has allowed him to perhaps perform at the level he has been performing at,” Marco said. “He has the qualities but perhaps earlier in the year he didn’t understand the demands of the game and now that he’s seen what he can do physically and technically, I think that he’s showing that in match play.”
With conference play set to begin this Saturday, the Bearcats are preparing to face off against Stony Brook. Binghamton enters the match averaging 2.00 goals scored per game, which ranks No. 20 among all NCAA Division I schools as of last Monday.
“The next couple of days will be us trying to get a little better in areas where we need to improve no matter who we’re playing,” Marco said. “Then, obviously, we’ll do a few things to get ready for Stony Brook.”
Binghamton is slotted to take on Stony Brook this Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, New York.