After being selected to finish first in the America East (AE) in the AE preseason coach’s poll, the Binghamton women’s soccer team looks to build upon a season to remember.

Going 9-5-5 on the year, with a 6-1-1 record in AE play, the Bearcats entered the AE Tournament as the top seed with home-field advantage and a first-round bye. The first visitor to challenge BU in the playoffs was Albany, with a slugfest taking place between the two teams.

With Binghamton overcoming a one-goal deficit to take the game into overtime, both teams remained even at 3-3 as the second period came to an end. The contest then went into a nail-biting shootout, with BU narrowly squeaking by to advance to the AE championship.

The Bearcats then took on UNH at home with a similar scenario playing out in the championship game. After coming back from a three-score hole in the second period, the Bearcats again entered a shootout against the Great Danes following a scoreless overtime.

This time around, however, the squad fell just one PK short of the win, and UNH was crowned as the AE conference champions.

Despite the heartbreaking end to their season, the Bearcats received several awards to honor their regular-season dominance. These included four AE first-team all-conference selections, including returning players junior forward Peyton Gilmore, graduate student midfielder Olivia McKnight and senior defender Lexi Vegoda, alongside a United Soccer Coaches All-Region Team selection and AE midfielder of the year honors for McKnight.

Perhaps the highest honor, however, was AE coaching staff of the year, awarded to Binghamton for the first time in Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee’s tenure. With most of last year’s starters returning, the Bearcats will be a force to be reckoned with, looking to take the next step and bring home an AE Championship.

BU will kick off the season on the road against Fairfield University on Thursday, Aug. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Lessing Field in Fairfield, CT.