On Saturday afternoon, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team hosted Albany on senior day for its final game of America East (AE) regular season play. After holding a 15-11 lead with just over four minutes left in the game, a series of goals from Albany made the game 15-14 with a minute left. However, a last-minute save from sophomore goalie Connor Winters in the game’s final seconds allowed Binghamton to maintain its lead and secure a 15-14 victory over the Great Danes.
“[Winters] has been there for us all year with some big end-of-the-fourth-quarter saves,” said Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown. “I’m certainly glad [Winters] was able to do it again today for us.”
Throughout much of the first quarter, BU (9-4, 5-2 AE) and the Great Danes (5-9, 4-3 AE) went back and forth, trading goals as Albany led 3-2 with just over five minutes left in the quarter. Not long after, the Bearcats went on a 3-0 run with sophomore attack Matthew Keegan adding two goals and senior midfielder Nicholas Imburgia adding a goal of his own, which gave the home team a 5-3 advantage. Each team then scored once more in the quarter, as Binghamton headed into the second quarter leading 6-4.
“We always talk about setting the tone from the first whistle,” McKeown said. “I thought we did a good job there. The offense was moving the ball well early. [Albany] stuck some of those shots. We had six [goals] in the first quarter, so it’s a good way to start.”
In the second quarter, the Bearcats got on the board first as redshirt junior midfielder Thomas Greenblatt found the back of the net, building on the momentum that stemmed from the end of the first quarter. After Albany added a goal of its own, Binghamton scored two straight goals, both coming from sophomore attack Gage Adams, making it 9-5. With under five minutes left in the half, the Great Danes scored two unanswered goals at the end of the second period, which narrowed Binghamton’s lead to 9-7 going into the half.
“I thought we battled well there today,” McKeown said. “We got hot and then they switched their guys up a little bit and kind of stemmed the momentum there. So it was a little bit more even as the game went on.”
The third quarter opened with another two consecutive goals from the Great Danes which tied the game at nine. Not long after, both teams traded scores to make the game 10-10. Binghamton bounced back from their slow second-half start with three goals — one from Greenblatt and two from junior midfielder Ethan Insinga — in the last 10 minutes of the quarter compared to Albany’s one goal in that timespan. Going into the final frame, Binghamton found themselves up 13-11.
Binghamton got the scoring started in the fourth quarter as Keegan and Adams both found the back of the net to put the Bearcats up 15-11. However, the Great Danes made a late comeback late in the quarter as they scored three consecutive goals to cut Binghamton’s lead to just one with a little more than a minute to play. Despite Albany’s best efforts in the closing minutes, the Bearcats never relinquished their lead and secured a 15-14 win, finishing AE conference play with a 5-2 record and clinching the No. 3 seed in the AE tournament.
“I did feel like we were starting to pull away a little bit there in the fourth,” McKeown said. “[Then] they got some possessions, won a couple face-offs and scored some quick ones … We felt like it might be a game where whoever can outscore each other would win and thankfully we had one more [goal] than they did.”
Binghamton will face No. 2 seeded Bryant in the AE semifinals, looking to get its revenge, after falling to them in AE conference play, on Thursday, May 4. First face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Virtue Field in Burlington, Vermont.