After a back-and-forth match, the Binghamton women’s soccer team earned a 2-2 draw against Cornell in Ithaca, New York on Wednesday night. After Binghamton got on the board first with a penalty kick, the Bearcats relinquished their lead to Cornell after giving up two straight goals before coming back late in the second half to force a draw against the Big Red.

“We take a lot of pride in our set piece defending, and we talked about how Cornell is a very good team in terms of their service and finishing our set pieces,” said Binghamton head coach Neel Bhattacharjee. “And then the second half, we gave up seven fouls and six corner kicks, giving them 13 set piece opportunities, and both of their goals came off set piece opportunities … I think having done that we could have walked away with a win instead of a tie.”

Binghamton (1-4-3) began the match by putting pressure quickly on the Big Red’s (2-0-3) defense. Controlling the ball early with a strong attack, BU managed to get off three shots that were just short of the Cornell goal. After a slide tackle from freshman defender Sophia Garofalo broke up a Cornell attack, the Big Red drew a penalty for a handball, giving Binghamton an opportunity to take an early lead. With a penalty kick set up, senior defender Lexi Vegoda put the ball in the back of the net for Binghamton’s first score and her third goal of the year.

“We talked about how there would be space to play in behind and you just want to take advantage of it,” Bhattacharjee said. “So we did that. We talked about how our forwards can have good runs and good movement to get in those spaces in behind, and I felt like we were able to do that with a fair amount of regularity in the first half.”

After a shot from senior midfielder Victoria McKnight went just wide left of the Big Red’s goal, the momentum began to shift in Cornell’s favor. While the Big Red began to put more pressure on Binghamton’s box, no ball from the Big Red made it past junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams. As both sides waged a physical battle in midfield, the half drew to a close with Binghamton leading 1-0.

“When that happens, we just have to do a better job of playing quickly,” Bhattacharjee said. “We can break that press and then when we do that, we can open up the game. I just felt like at times we did it too slow or in the moments we did try to play quickly, it just wasn’t clean. It was frantic.”

Going into the second half, the Big Red continued to put pressure on Binghamton’s goal. Cornell’s efforts finally paid off in the 54th minute when a header made it past Williams and into BU’s goal to tie up the game at one. While Binghamton would begin to get shots onto Cornell’s goal after this score, in the 64th minute, BU conceded the lead after a deep volley by Cornell from the left side found the back of the Bearcats’ goal as the Big Red took a 2-1 advantage.

Despite relinquishing the lead, the Bearcats began to play more aggressively in search of an equalizer. After managing to break the Big Red’s press on one sequence, freshman forward Paige Luke evened the game at 2-2 with a high center shot off a pass from Vegoda.

“Even though we had to absorb some of the game at times, we still had some decent opportunities to ice the game,” Bhattacharjee said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the game-winner but [I’m] happy that [Luke] still put in the tie goal for us.”

With a little over 10 minutes left on the clock, both teams looked for opportunities to take the lead. Cornell would get the most chances, but blocks and aggressive tackles from BU would disrupt the Big Red’s momentum. After Vegoda cleared the ball out to stop a last-minute offensive effort from the Big Red, the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

“We were looking to get the game winner ourselves, but it’s difficult to do when you give enough set pieces, and you just have to defend it around your goal,” Bhattacharjee said. “Something that we will be better on is limiting those crosses and doing better on defensive transition, so we don’t necessarily give up those fouls or those pockets.”

Binghamton will move on to America East (AE) Conference play, looking to get revenge in its first matchup against the reigning AE champions in UNH on Sunday, Sept. 17. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire.