Following a two-game America East (AE) conference win streak, the Binghamton men’s soccer team took on West Virginia in its first nonconference matchup in two weeks. The competition was steep, but the Bearcats (3-6-2, 2-0-0 AE) ultimately fell to the Mountaineers (7-4-0) in a 2-0 shutout.
“I thought that we prepared really well for the match and then our effort was average, below average,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “It wasn’t what we had been seeing from the guys, so I was a little disappointed in our inability to cover ground and make life difficult for the opponent.”
The game began with Binghamton on the defensive end, warding off an onslaught of shots from the Mountaineers’ offense. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Isaiah Pettis racked up four saves in the first 17 minutes alone. However, his efforts were unable to stop a shot from West Virginia’s junior defender Ryan Kellogg, who netted his first goal nearly 22 minutes into the match.
Four minutes later, before the Bearcats even had a chance to respond to Kellogg’s goal, the West Virginia offense had rifled another shot into the back of the net, pushing the score at 2-0 just 26 minutes into play. The remainder of the half went on without any further goals from the Mountaineers or BU.
“I thought right after they got their second goal, we go down to get a goal, and I really think that would’ve helped us make it 2-1 and now we’re back with some fighting spirit, but we just missed wide on a header,” Marco said.
The second half featured an offensively charged Bearcat squad as it attempted to close the gap and log a goal of its own. The team was unsuccessful in securing a score, but it was able to hold West Virginia scoreless in the second half of the match. Pettis posted four more saves over the period to ensure the Mountaineers were held to two goals.
“I thought [Pettis] played his part,” Marco said. “Some of the saves that he was making were distant saves, so they weren’t really troublesome. He did make three terrific saves in the game.”
Despite the Bearcats’ attempts at a comeback, the Mountaineers took victory on their home turf, 2-0.
“I thought that the game just kind of played out that way,” Marco said. “Once we conceded the two goals, we got through to halftime. At halftime we talked to the guys, they came out better in the second half. I guess the best part of the match was that we saw some new faces and the guys played fairly well in the game. Looking ahead to Saturday’s game now, we’re hopeful that we have a full squad back for Saturday.”
The Bearcats, for their part, are still undefeated in AE conference play with two victories. They will take on Stony Brook this coming Saturday as part of the Homecoming festivities. The Seawolves (5-3-2, 2-0-0 AE) are currently tied with BU for first in the conference, giving good reason to believe that the match will likely be highly competitive.
“Homecoming is always a special game and knowing that it’s a conference game, it will be a very tight game and to see some of the alum back in, it’s just a great feeling,” Marco said.
Binghamton takes on the Seawolves on Saturday, Oct. 6. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.