Last school year was a weird one for college sports. Binghamton University’s Women's Soccer team ended up playing a shortened season this past spring as opposed to the normal fall season. Returning to the fall for the 2021-22 academic year, the Bearcats have sky high expectations following a strong spring.  

In the 6-game spring regular season this past year, Binghamton went 5-1 en route to an appearance in the America East Championship where they fell 1-0 to Stony Brook. Despite it being an unorthodox season, it still served as one of the best in program history. 6th year Head Coach Neel Bhattacharjee says they’re very excited to be able to return to more of a normal routine.  

“It’s good that we can meet face to face when we want to do meetings, a scout on an opponent, video, all of those things,” says Bhattacharjee. “But in another way just for us to be together. I think our team has really good chemistry, a high collection of comradery. It’s very difficult to do that over zoom on a screen and not in person.” 

There will be many new faces on the pitch from the team that appeared in the spring conference championship game. The Bearcats have 11 freshmen joining the team this fall, the largest freshman class in program history. Binghamton does have a nice mix of veteran players to pair with the young talent as they return 5 All-Conference players. Among those is senior goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak who allowed only 3 goals in the 8 spring games. It also includes junior midfielder and Vestal High School graduate Olivia McKnight who was the only underclassmen to make first team all-conference in the America East last season and led the Bearcats in points with 6.   

“I know we did good last year but our standards are way higher,” says Poltorak. “Even the freshman are on board now, they know how we see ourselves going forward. We know where we want to go, we know what we want to succeed in. I think everyone is really driven and focused and motivated to do better than we’ve ever done.”  

“Knowing that we made it to the finals last year and unfortunately lost, it has brought so much more drive into this team,” says McKnight. “We really want to go win a championship because falling that short has allowed us to push that much harder over the summer. Now coming in knowing we can get to that point, and we can win an America East Championship, I think that’s going to drive us to go all the way this year.”   

The Bearcats 18 game schedule kicks off Thursday as they hit the road to take on Siena College.