After going into double overtime and outshooting No. 18 Colgate, 16-7, the Binghamton men’s soccer team came away with a tie against the Raiders (4-4-1). The Bearcats (1-4-2) were able to maintain possession for the majority of the first half, outshooting Colgate, 10-2, but could only manage three shots on goal. Binghamton recorded three shots within the first 10 minutes of the game while the Raiders did not get in a shot until the 25th minute.
“I gave the team a couple friendly reminders,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “One of them was, ‘Can we compete hard for the first minute? Can we really make things difficult in the first minute, and then at halftime, can we have 10 shots on the board?’”
The first shot was taken less than five minutes into the game by senior midfielder Connor McKnight with shots followed by sophomore midfielder Noah Luescher, senior midfielder Harrison Weilbacher, sophomore back Chris Stamper, sophomore forward Jack Muller and senior forward Nikos Psarras. Weilbacher was credited for half of the shots taken in the first period and looked as though he was going to score in the 44th minute after taking a shot hard enough that it deflected off the goalie. However, Weilbacher could not finish on the rebound and barely missed the goal as it almost brushed the post. Despite all of the missed shots by the Bearcats, the team was able to remain on the offensive for the majority of the half, as redshirt junior goalkeeper Chris Shutler only had to make one save the entire first half.
“I don’t know how many saves I had, but I didn’t have many,” Shutler said. “The guys really put their bodies on the line, just blocked the shots before they even connected, so it was good for them.”
The second period proved slightly more difficult for BU when an early goal by Colgate junior midfielder Kentaro Morrison put Binghamton down 1-0. Colgate freshman midfielder Kian Alberto won a 50-50 ball, passing the ball up to Morrison while Shutler rushed out of the box to try to stop the shot. Morrison, remaining calm and collected, dribbled past Shutler and scored his first of the season.
“I misread the ball,” Shutler said. “It didn’t bounce as I thought it would, and [Morrison] touched it around me. I just need to clean up my play and get rid of the mistakes.”
The Bearcats did not allow the goal to discourage them and came back with a goal by junior forward Haris Brkovic in the 74th minute to tie the game up 1-1. Brkovic netted his second goal of the season as he capitalized on a botched clearance by one of Colgate’s defenders. Seizing the opportunity, Brkovic bounced the ball off his stomach and fired the ball into the top right corner of the net, completely out of reach for Colgate junior goalkeeper Jacob Harris.
“I don’t remember too much of [the goal],” Brkovic said. “The ball just bounced in my area, so I kind of took a half volley and connected really well with it.”
Binghamton attempted to increase its advantage during the second half with shots by freshman midfielder Andrew McDonnell, Luescher, freshman forward Ben Hamilton and graduate student midfielder Kevin Flesch, but none of the shots found the back of the net, bringing the Bearcats into overtime.
During the first 10-minute overtime, both the Raiders and the Bearcats had one shot, yet neither team was able to produce a game-winning goal, forcing the teams to go into a second overtime. With just three minutes left to go, it looked as though the Raiders were going to score the game-winning goal when Shutler made a crowd-gasping save. Shutler, who was recently named the America East Defensive Player of the Week, blocked a shot taken by Colgate senior forward Freddy Jonsson right in front of the six-yard line, sustaining the final 1-1 score.
“I just tried to close the space as fast as I could,” Shutler said. “I just tried to make myself big, and luckily I was able to put [the ball] wide and not back into the middle.”
The team is set for Tuesday’s 2 p.m. game against George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Taking place at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex, the match is BU’s final game before conference play begins.