The Binghamton women’s soccer team hosted Bryant on Sunday to open up conference play. It was a battle of attrition for both teams, but the Bearcats scored late in the first half and shut out the Bulldogs for 90 straight minutes. BU secured its third win of the season and is now 1-0 in America East [AE] conference play.

“We knew three points were on the line,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “I thought we did really a lot of good things in terms of our possession. I’m very pleased with the result.”

The game started off strong for the Bearcats (3-4-2, 1-0 AE), as they managed to control the possession game in the midfield, as well as effectively keep the ball in the Bryant (3-5-1, 0-1 AE) third of the pitch for a majority of the first half. Binghamton held ball possession for 56 percent of the match. Despite only finding the back of the net once, BU’s defense held on to blank the Bulldogs, securing its 1-0 victory.

“A lot of our game came from our spacing and how we defended,” Bhattacharjee said. “Bryant is a very good possession team, and that’s what we wanted to take away from them.”

Chances were created by the bunches for the Bearcats, as they were able to send seven first half shots up toward the Bulldogs goalkeeper. The away squad could only muster one shot attempt in the first 45 minutes. BU’s pressure on Bryant came to a boiling point in the 40th minute, when junior defender Lexi Vegoda flared a pass from just past midfield deep into Bulldog territory over a crowd of black jerseys. Sophomore midfielder Hannah Knych was on the receiving end with just the away side goalkeeper to beat. Knych pushed the ball right inside the box as the keeper came out, before the sophomore laid the ball right under the Bulldog to take a 1-0 advantage.

“We got good opportunities,” Bhattacharjee said. “We outshot them and won a couple of key set pieces as well.”

As the second half came to a start, the game turned into a more physical battle as both teams managed to get booked with yellow cards. A total of five yellow cards were distributed, as two Bulldogs earned cards just five minutes into the frame. The fouls also turned up for each team, with the Bearcats picking up six fouls compared to Bryant’s four.

In the end, the Bearcats managed to put a lot of pressure on the Bryant defense and goalie, outshooting the visitors 15-6. Binghamton’s defensive effort, along with three saves from sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams, allowed BU to hold on to its one-goal advantage and take a victory in its first AE matchup. Williams earned her first collegiate solo shutout in the process.

“We’re going to enjoy and savor this for the moment and take the three points,” Bhattacharjee said. “I’m very happy with this performance.”

Bryant provided the Bearcats with a unique challenge this week. The Bulldogs are the most recent addition to the AE conference, with them previously playing in the Northeastern Conference.

“We’ve played them a few times in the past and know that they are a very good possession team,” Bhattacharjee said. “We felt really good about our preparation which allowed us to play good against the side.”

The Bearcats return to action on Saturday, Sept. 24 for a one-game break away from conference play against Delaware State. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Drass Field at DSU Downtown in Dover, Delaware.