In the 69th minute of a scoreless tie with UMBC, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alejandro Cubillo took matters into his own hands. After saving a shot on goal by UMBC senior midfielder Gregg Hauck, the experienced goalkeeper looked down field and found an open man in senior forward Ben Ovetsky to score Binghamton’s only goal in a 1-1 tie.
“We’ve been working on this counterattack a lot lately,” Ovetsky said. “I was isolated one-on-one and [UMBC’s goalkeeper] ran out of the box as fast as he could, and then all it took was a nice volley to capitalize on the opportunity.”
Ovetsky and the defender were one-on-one baiting the UMBC (6-2-3, 1-0-1 America East) goalkeeper and forcing him to come out of the box. After making an impressive move with the ball, the veteran forward was a touch away from an uncontested goal, breaking a scoreless tie in front of a Homecoming Weekend crowd of more than 1,900. Cubillo was credited with the assist.
“Both goalies were terrific, [Cubillo] was outstanding in the second half,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “He made two saves that got the fans out of their seats almost like a goal was being scored. But I thought the whole back group was great tonight.”
Ovetsky has a history of scoring these important clutch goals for BU (3-5-3, 0-0-2 AE) against UMBC. Last season, he found the back of the net for the game-winning goal in the final 10 minutes of regulation. The younger BU offense players, such as freshman midfielder Noah Luescher, will look to Ovetsky for leadership in scoring opportunities.
The Bearcats’ advantage was not safe for long as the dangerous offense of UMBC went on the attack. Hauck would give his team a tie in the 76th minute on an unassisted goal, booting a tough shot to the upper left corner in traffic.
The Retrievers’ offense was not finished, however, as they forced Cubillo to make a diving save directly following Hauck’s goal. Cubillo would have his work cut out for him, but his strong play, combined with the defense’s hard work, held the Retrievers to just one goal.
“I thought it was a good collective performance defensively,” Marco said. “Their front five or six players are very very good, and I thought we did a pretty good job with them.”
The Bearcats played two overtime periods in a game that had the fans on the edge of their seats. UMBC outshot Binghamton 17-10 during the match, forcing Cubillo to make some tough saves, three in the second overtime alone.
“It’s tough for a goalkeeper, because you’re always in the spotlight, to make a save and when the moment comes it’s really fast and you don’t even have time to think about it,” Cubillo said. “But it was great to play in front of a big crowd today. Unfortunately didn’t get the result, but I’m happy and looking forward to keep working.”
Something that won’t show up on any stat sheet is the impressive defensive stops that the Bearcats made late in the game. Redshirt freshman back Kurt Wesch made a clean tackle to extinguish a breakaway play for UMBC sophomore forward Tre Pulliam early in the second half.
However, Binghamton also missed out on a couple of key scoring opportunities, most notably when freshman forward Jack Muller was on a breakaway and the Bearcats were called offsides.
The Bearcats are set to pick up play this coming Wednesday when they will travel to Hartford to continue conference play. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium in West Hartford, Connecticut.