Soccer, Sports

Bearcats a worthy championship game foe

It wasn’t a lack of offensive effort that kept the America East men’s soccer championship game scoreless into the 80th minute. It was Binghamton University’s conference-leading defense that kept the score deadlocked at zero, despite Boston University’s continuous offensive pressure.

The Terrier offense showcased its depth Saturday at Nickerson Field with contributions from 12 different players. BU’s mix of talented ball handlers and dangerous strikers has proved to be deadly against the last few teams they have faced, as the Terriers are currently riding a nine-game unbeaten streak.

Jason Stenta, the Binghamton goalkeeper, came into Saturday’s contest leading the league in three different categories ‘-‘- goals-against average (0.54), save percentage (.894) and shutouts (10).

The Bearcats’ dependable defense handled Saturday’s game much the same way they handled almost every other game this season ‘-‘- they studied BU and worked to smother the attacking Terriers in the Binghamton zone with multiple defenders.

‘[Binghamton] obviously had been studying our game, because our game is to move the ball and get the flank play going,’ senior Jon Jonsson said. ‘But they were closing down our flanks so we couldn’t go behind them that way.’

Despite maintaining possession for the majority of the game, the Terrier offense was limited by the Binghamton defense. The Bearcats held the Terriers to just four shots on goal for the game.

BU also registered seven corner kicks, but was unable to convert on any of them.

‘They’re a very good defensive team and they’re very organized,’ BU coach Neil Roberts said of the Bearcats. ‘The last time we played them we were able to break them down. This time, we could not. We got very few quality opportunities ‘-‘- a few corner kicks in the first half, but we really didn’t get a lot of dangerous opportunities.

‘It wasn’t due to a lack of effort or us not playing well. They just defended very well.’

The single lapse from the Bearcat defense came with 10 minutes remaining in regulation when Jonsson crossed the ball to junior Richy Dorman, who set up senior Jin Oh’s game-winning goal. After battling the Binghamton back line all game, the Terriers finally ran them down, allowing Oh to break through and put the Terriers on top.

‘Binghamton has a very solid defense,’ Oh said. ‘Towards the end we did more penetrating instead of keeping the ball. That lucky one that went through was definitely lucky, and we took advantage of it.’

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