Binghamton’s closest chance at a goal was with 12 minutes remaining in the second half, when a streaming Peyton Gilmore directed the ball toward Syracuse’s box.
The Bearcats’ forward pushed through a group of Syracuse defenders before goalie Lysianne Proulx dove down, swallowing the ball in her arms among a group of moving cleats. Proulx stood up, and Binghamton and Syracuse players began to fade away from the goal. Gilmore’s wasn’t even recorded as a shot on goal.
On Thursday night, Proulx posted zero saves, but that was because Syracuse (3-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) maintained possession and eliminated the threat of any Binghamton (2-2-1, 0-0 America East Conference) offense in its 1-0 shutout. While the Orange fired 10 total shots on goal, Binghamton held a zero. With Syracuse’s third win of the season, it has already matched its best start since 2016, when the Orange went 3-0-1, the best four-game start in head coach Nicky Adams’ time at Syracuse.
“We are understanding the changes that we need to make better, and we’re executing them the next day,” Adams said. “We were just a bit more organized in front of the backline. We knew our midfield play was what’s going to be crucial this game.”
Adams said her team noticed on film that Binghamton played through the midfield and wanted to force them into the central part of the field. As the Bearcats started the game pushing toward Syracuse’s goal, they began to crash inside. Soon the Orange began to keep possession.
Thirty-eight minutes in, Natalie Weidenbach placed the ball down on the left corner of Binghamton’s baseline for Syracuse’s first corner kick. As the ball flew, Jenna Tivnan rose up for a header in the middle of the box, her first connect of the game, only for it to land in Haylee Poltorak’s hands.
Telly Vunipola set herself up on the left side of the field 14 minutes later, driving into the Bearcats’ box before sending the ball into the penalty area. Pauline Machtens called for the ball, then tapped it into the right corner, her first goal of the season and the game’s only one of the game.
“(Vunipola) was just running, and I screamed at her, ‘Play the ball in,’” Machtens said. “It was an easy shot.”
In the first 45 minutes, Syracuse kept generating offense through free kicks as Binghamton accumulated seven fouls in the first half. The ball stuck on Binghamton’s half, but when it played onto Syracuse’s side of the field, SU defenders fed it to Proulx.
Proulx fired the ball back out toward streaking Syracuse forwards and midfielders. The same would occur for the rest of the game.
Adams has talked about her team “building the block” throughout the past four games of the season. She hasn’t had a 3-1 start during her three-year tenure as head coach at Syracuse yet. Now, everything is clicking, Adams said.
Adams said last Sunday that Syracuse may not win the ACC this year, but that play is later in the season. For now, as the game’s clock winded down within five minutes against Binghamton, Adams pulled Meghan Root from the game, sending her starting forward off with a pat on the back to the bench. With two minutes left, a collective of men’s soccer players watching the game began to unite in chant and stomp on the bleachers — “Start the buses,” they repeated.
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