On Tuesday, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team took the field at home against No. 20 Lehigh for the team’s final nonconference matchup of the season. The physical battle was dictated by scoring runs and concluded with a 12-10 Bearcat loss after a late comeback fell short.

“This is a game that we look at to help us finish in April and hopefully get into the postseason, that’s what the goal is,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “We’re gonna have to beat a team similar to this to get to where we wanna be. [The game] had a lot for our guys to learn and it shows them too that we can compete with most teams out there.”

After conceding the first goal of the match, BU (4-5, 2-0 America East [AE]) responded swiftly after the faceoff, tying it at one. Then, just over a minute later, the Bearcats tacked on a second goal to take an early 2-1 lead. The remainder of the period was a battle of runs as three unanswered Lehigh (5-3, 3-0 Patriot League) goals gave the Mountain Hawks a two-goal lead. The home team remained unfazed though, as it was able to sneak two scores past the Lehigh goalie in the final minute to enter the second frame tied at four.

Senior attack Kevin Winkoff added his 23rd goal of the season in the first period, extending his streak, as the senior has scored in every match for BU in 2022. The Bearcat ranks second in the AE in both goals and goals per game.

“It’s not a surprise,” McKeown said. “I think that’s what we expect from [Winkoff] and what he expects from himself. He’s carried us and has done a great job all year.”

The second quarter was less evenly matched than the first. Lehigh put itself on the board first, but the Bearcats were able to quickly respond and bring the game back to a tie. Despite this, Binghamton still entered the break at a deficit as the Mountain Hawks ended the period on a three-goal run to take a commanding 8-5 lead. BU was outshot 25-14 in the first half.

“I was proud of the way we competed,” McKeown said. “There was a couple things and moments defensively, covering inside, where we gave up a few too many in there to beat a really good team like [Lehigh].”

After the halftime break, the Bearcats were able to convert on two shots to narrow the Lehigh lead to just one. However, the Mountain Hawks remained in the driver’s seat and refused to let Binghamton keep the momentum. Lehigh ended the period with two straight goals to begin a three-goal run that spilled into the final frame.

“[Lehigh is] very strong at the faceoffs, but I thought our guys really competed hard there today,” McKeown said. “Disappointed we had a stretch of failed clears that hurt us a little bit. In the second half, it hurt us and our ability to go on a run offensively.”

Although BU trailed by as many as four during the fourth quarter, the home team refused to give up. The Bearcats clawed their way back into the match, as junior midfielder Quinn O’Hara set senior attack Daniel MacKinney up for a goal with just over 10 minutes remaining. O’Hara then took the game into his own hands, scoring two unassisted goals over an 80-second span to bring the game back within one. BU stood one goal behind for four minutes before a late goal by the visitors sealed the match in Lehigh’s favor at 12-10.

“[O’Hara] stepped up well,” McKeown said. “We’ve been looking for that from him. It was great to see him really take it to the goal hard. He’s a big kid and used his body well. I was proud of him and the way he played and hopefully he can continue to do that.”

The Bearcats will move back into conference play during their next match against NJIT on Saturday, April 2. Faceoff is set for 7:30 at Lubetkin Field at J. Malcolm Simon Stadium in Newark, New Jersey.