After a four-hour lightning delay, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to take on UMBC on Saturday evening. Despite taking their first loss in America East (AE) play last weekend against Vermont, the Bearcats bounced back, taking control of the game in the first half and defeating the hosts 16-13, clinching a spot in the AE tournament.
“I don’t know if it was our best game overall, but we scrapped,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “We kept fighting. I thought we shot the ball very well. I’m proud of the way we battled and gutted out a big road win in conference.”
After winning the opening faceoff, senior faceoff Matthew DeSouza picked up a ground ball, ran it down the field and found the back of the net to get BU (8-3, 4-1 AE) on the board in the first 15 seconds. However, only two minutes after Binghamton’s opening goal, the Retrievers (7-4, 2-3 AE) tied it up. Going into the second period, the score was tied at two apiece as both teams kept play even by grabbing another goal each.
“I thought both teams were maybe just a little flat,” McKeown said. “I thought we both kind of worked out of that in the second quarter.”
The second period saw much more action as Binghamton opened the scoring with three consecutive goals, coming from sophomore attacks Matthew Keegan and Gage Adams along with junior midfielder Ethan Insinga. The run allowed the Bearcats to take a 5-2 lead over the Retrievers. UMBC would stop this run temporarily, adding a goal of their own to cut the deficit to two. However, Binghamton continued its offensive prowess, adding two more consecutive goals to go up 7-3. The Retrievers managed to keep things close, finding the back of the net two more times before the end of the period. Going into halftime, the Bearcats led 7-5.
“I’m proud of the way the guys fought,” McKeown said. “We had some adversity go against us in the second half where they got after us on ground balls a bit, [UMBC] started winning some faceoffs.”
UMBC got the scoring started in the second half to cut Binghamton’s lead to just one. A minute later, redshirt junior midfielder Thomas Greenblatt answered with a goal of his own. Just as both teams began to stagnate on offense, Insinga found the back of the net once again to put BU up 9-6. Both sides traded goals to close out the quarter and the Bearcats entered the final frame with a 10-8 lead.
“We persevered and came out with the win,” McKeown said. “We worked our way out of that second quarter, and we both got out of that sluggish start.”
UMBC got on the board first in the fourth, cutting the Bearcat lead to one goal, but the visitors responded, scoring three consecutive goals to go up 13-9, their largest lead of the match. The Retrievers would not give up, however, as they were right on BU’s tail, getting on the board once again with just over three minutes left to make it 13-10. Despite both teams trading goals in the final minutes, the Retrievers would fall short as Binghamton ended up on top 16-13, improving to 4-1 in AE play.
“We had some good possessions and were able to put up six [goals] in that last quarter,” McKeown said. “We talked about in the huddle before going into the fourth, we just had to win the fourth quarter, and we were able to do that.”
Insinga led the Bearcats overall with six points on the day, which included three goals and three assists. Overall, the victory was a team effort as three players, including Insinga, Keegan and Adams managed to record a hat trick in the victory. In addition, sophomore goalie Connor Winters contributed defensively, managing 18 saves.
“I thought the whole attack line was really good,” McKeown said. “[Insinga] did a great job … he was able to get to the net multiple times and made some big plays preserving some possessions, and [Adams] has been playing well all season for us. I thought [Winters] came up with some huge saves when we had a few defensive breakdowns.”
Binghamton will end its two-game road trip with a matchup against Bryant on Saturday, April 22. First faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium in Smithfield, Rhode Island.