Seahawks fall to Binghamton in tournament closer

Marty Simpkins | Staff Writer

The UNC Wilmington men’s soccer team ended the weekend on a sour note Sunday, losing their second game of the UNCW Hilton Garden Inn Classic to Binghamton, 3-2.

The Bearcats scored the deciding goal with one second left in regulation, dropping the host Seahawks to fourth place in the tournament.

“We didn’t manage the game very well at the end,” said Coach Aidan Heaney. “Our players were trying to clear the ball but couldn’t do it. They thought that the game was over, so they lost a little bit of focus, and Binghamton punished us for that.”

The first goal went to Binghamton sophomore Steve Celeste in the 19th minute, assisted by Jake Keegan and Tommy Moon.

The Seahawks countered by turning up the aggressiveness on offense.

After a few close misses, the Seahawks were finally able to get on the scoreboard when freshman forward Colin Bonner knocked in a header off of a throw-in in the 40th minute, leading to a tie score at half.

The freshmen on the team played a key role in Sunday’s game, giving the Seahawks more energy on the field.

“They (the freshmen) showed in spurts that they belong in college soccer, but they need to play consistent,” said Heaney. “Jose Garcia played a lot of minutes, Bonner scored us two goals and (Andrew) Barber played well in the first half, but they kind of faded away in the second half. Hopefully they’ll play more consistently and play well in all 90 minutes of the game.”

The second half began with the Seahawks falling behind again.

After sophomore Jamie Dell was unable to capitalize on a one-on-one with Binghamton goalie Stefano Frantelizzi, the Bearcats rebounded and took their second lead of the game when Keegan scored in the 56th minute.

After several minutes of back-and-forth play between the squads, the Seahawks took advantage of a breakdown in the Bearcat defense.

Bonner was able to get behind the visitor’s defense and score his second goal of the afternoon for the Seahawks when he sent a goal past Frantelizzi in the 83rd minute.

It would not be enough, however, as Keegan then ended the game effectively with his second goal of the afternoon in the 89th minute.

After winning the past three UNCW Classics, the Seahawks (2-4-1) finished last in this year’s tournament. The team returns to play September 22 when they visit George Mason University and begin their conference season.

“I want to see how our players will bounce back after a loss like this,” said Heaney. “Are we going to feel sorry for ourselves or are we going to do something about it? You can’t do anything about it now, so we’ve got to make it right in the next game.”