ALBANY – Binghamton broke open a late first half tie and scored five consecutive goals, as the third-seeded Bearcats (11-4) defeated second-seeded UMBC, 9-4, the America East semifinals held at Albany's Casey Stadium on Thursday.
UMBC's season, its first under head coach Ryan Moran, ends at 6-8, but the Retrievers reached the America East Tournament for the first time since 2014. The Retrievers posted their best record at 4-2 in the conference since their last title run in 2009.
"We are really grateful for the senior leadership that (the seniors) gave us," said Moran. "We came in as a new staff and they welcomed us with open arms and did everything we ever asked them to do. A lot of our success was a by-product of how selfless the senior class was."
The game closely resembled the team's previous meeting at UMBC Stadium on April 15, as in both cases, Binghamton held a 5-3 lead at the break. But, whereas,the Retrievers outscored the Bearcats, 2-0 in the third, en route to a 7-6 victory, the Bearcats scored three unanswered goals in the stanza and took a commanding 8-3 advantage into the fourth quarter.
A key moment occurred early in the third quarter. UMBC had a man-up starting the half and got two quality looks, but Frawley shot wide from five yards out and senior attackman Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y.) had a shot from in close stopped by Binghamton netminder Tanner Cosens.
UMBC did have hope heading into the final stanza because freshman face-off specialist Jake Brothers (Elkridge, Md./Mt. St. Joseph) was dominating in the circle. He won five of six second half draws and 10 of 16 for the game. Sophomore midfielder Gunnar Schimoler (Edgewater, Md./South River) snapped a 23-minute scoring drought when he rifled home a shot from the left slot area with 11:54 remaining. The Retrievers drew a pair of fourth quarter fouls, but could not convert and the Bearcats advanced to their first championship game since 2004.
The Retrievers outshot Binghamton, 15-11, in the second half, but the Bearcats held a slim 26-24 advantage for the game. Cosens, the America East's First Team netminder, made eight of his nine saves in the second half. UMBC senior Ruston Souder (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) made all four of his stops in the first 30 minutes.
UMBC never led in the first half, but would answer each of the Binghamton's first three goals. Sophomore attackman Jack Andrews (Arnold, Md./St. Mary's) knotted the game at one, as UMBC's first ride of the game was successful. Junior defender John Tornabene (Havre de Grace, Md./Archbishop Curley) stripped the ball on a Bearcat clear and fed Andrews, who beat Cosens on a one-on-one chance at the 8:13 mark of the first quarter.
Frawley equalized the game at 2-2 with 4:09 to play in the first quarter, and Nolan used a quick-stick shot to convert a Frawley pass from behind the net to knot the game at 3-3 with 5:18 remaining in the period. But Binghamton scored twice in the final 2:39 of the period to take a 5-3 lead into intermission.
Tornabene and sophomore defender and tri-captain Jason Brewster (San Diego, Calif.) each had three caused turnovers in the contest.
The game marked the finale for nine Retriever seniors, including captains Maxwell and Souder.