The Binghamton women’s soccer team started its America East (AE) schedule on the wrong foot, dropping a low-scoring game at Vermont, 1-0. The loss snapped the Bearcats’ three-game winning streak and marks their first shutout since their Sept. 2 road loss to Duquesne.
The Bearcats (5-4-2, 0-1-0 AE) came barreling out of the gate at the start of play, firing numerous shots in the direction of Vermont’s net in the first 25 minutes. The Bearcats fired off nine shots before Vermont (3-5-2, 1-0-0 AE) got its first of the game. Only one of those nine shots was fired on net, however, with the others either going wide or blocked.
That problem persisted for the Bearcats throughout the remainder of the match. In total, the Bearcats launched 17 shots, but only two of them went on goal, leaving freshman goalkeeper Lydia Kessel of Vermont with little work to do.
“Today we had a great first half,” said BU head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “We created a decent amount of opportunities, [but] unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalize.”
Vermont, by contrast, only put up two shots in the entire first half, but both were sent on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak saved each shot for the Bearcats, both within a two-minute span. Other than that spurt, Vermont’s offense was stagnant and ineffectual in the opening period, leading to a deadlocked 0-0 halftime score.
The Bearcats started the second half with a glorious opportunity, as freshman defender Kayla MacKenzie fired a shot off the post, but that mostly ended Binghamton’s offensive production. Conversely, Vermont began to push back on the Bearcats’ solid defense, finding more creases in which to put shots. Poltorak stood strong, however, recording two more saves to keep the Bearcats in the game.
“In order to have success, your keeper has got to be consistent,” Bhattacharjee said. “[Poltorak] has really been able to do that, so we’re pleased with that. She had a good game today, not much she could have done on the goal.”
Finally, late in the game, Poltorak and the Binghamton defense gave way in the 72nd minute. Senior midfielder Brooke Jenkins of Vermont put her team’s fifth shot on goal past Poltorak on a feed from sophomore midfielder Ella Bankert to give the Catamounts a 1-0 lead. In the final 18 minutes, the Bearcats struggled and failed to score the equalizer, ultimately dropping the match.
“Unfortunately, the game shifted after the second half,” Bhattacharjee said. “Vermont upped their pressure and then they created some dangerous chances for themselves, obviously scoring a goal and hitting the crossbar at one point. That’s what kind of escaped us a little bit.”
Leading the way for the Bearcats in shots was sophomore midfielder Ivana Pjetri with four. Binghamton’s two shots on goal came from MacKenzie and sophomore midfielder Dora Hayes. Poltorak finished with another solid stat line, saving four of five Vermont attempts, but it wasn’t enough to secure the victory.
The loss expounded on the problems the Bearcats have faced on the road this season. Binghamton has yet to win a match away from the Bearcats Sports Complex, compiling a record of 0-4-2 thus far. In those six matches, the Bearcats have just five goals, and three of those games ended without Binghamton finding the back of the net at all.
“It’s great that we have the confidence at home, and we need to show that on the road,” Bhattacharjee said. “If we can get wins at home and get ties on the road, that’s a pretty good formula. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for us today.”
From here on out, it’s naught but AE opponents for the Bearcats. Binghamton’s schedule continues Thursday, Sept. 26 at UMBC. Kickoff from Retriever Soccer Park in Baltimore, Maryland is scheduled for 6 p.m.