There was water everywhere and not a drop to drink for the Binghamton men’s soccer team as it was defeated on Senior Day by Vermont 1-0 in persistent rain. Just over three minutes into the game, a penalty kick was awarded to Vermont (11-6-0, 4-2-0 America East). The ball went to redshirt junior goalkeeper Chris Shutler’s right as he was able to narrowly save the ball, however, Shutler, unable to take control of the ball or have help clearing it from the defense, lost the ball when Vermont senior forward Geo Alves pulled it back and launched a pass inside the box to Vermont junior midfielder Jon Arnar Barddal, who tapped the ball into the back of the net, putting the Catamounts up 1-0.
“I don’t think it was a penalty,” said BU head coach Paul Marco. “Shutler [made] the save, and they [didn’t] clear the ball. [I was] really disappointed on that. It was a great save, and then we didn’t help him. In that moment, we let each other down.”
The early goal proved to be the cause of the loss, as the game remained scoreless for the 86 minutes that followed. Shutler had three saves throughout the game and was a strong force for the Bearcats (3-11-2, 2-4-0 America East). Shutler currently holds the No. 2 spot in saves per game in the AE Conference and has 52 saves for the season, the second-highest in the AE.
“A penalty is 50/50,” Shutler said. “I made the save, which definitely gave me some motivation, and then the guys I guess were not expecting it, and [Vermont] got the first one in the backside.”
The Bearcats had a couple opportunities to even the score. In the 27th and 32nd minute, sophomore midfielder Noah Luescher rifled two shots on goal, but both shots went almost directly to the goalkeeper, ending with two effortless saves.
In the second half of the game, shots were taken by senior midfielder Harrison Weilbacher and freshman midfielder Andrew McDonnell, but all went wide. It wasn’t until the 80th minute of the game that the Bearcats thought they were going to catch a break, but senior forward Nikos Psarras’ breakaway ultimately fell flat. Psarras was in close proximity to the goal, but the outcome was a shot that went almost right to the goalie.
“Overall, I feel like the guys played hard,” Marco said. “They competed well. We did all the little things except put the ball in their goal. I felt like our guys were very good tonight. We created enough to get a goal, and we just [didn’t] score a goal. There were four good looks in the second half, two good looks in the first half, two on set pieces. I mean, you get six good looks in the game, you think you’re going to get at least one goal. I’m disappointed, really disappointed, and now everything rides on Albany’s game.”
With the loss against Vermont, the Bearcats only have one more chance to redeem themselves. If Binghamton loses the game against Albany, it will not clinch a spot in the AE Tournament, ultimately ending its season.
Binghamton’s AE Tournament fate will be determined on Wednesday at the University of Albany. Kickoff from Varsity Field in Albany, New York is scheduled for 7 p.m.