The Binghamton Bearcats hosted the Cleveland State Vikings and the Manhattan Jaspers to close out each of their fall ball slates for the 2017 season. I saw the Bearcats defeat the Vikings by an unofficial score of 11-7 in the first scrimmage, before heading out at halftime of the second scrimmage, which the Vikings led the Jaspers by an unofficial score of 11-5. They eventually won around 17-11 according to the CSU staff.
The Bearcats defeated the Jaspers by an unofficial score of around 11-6, according to one of the Bearcat assistant coaches.
Most of these observations and notes came from the first game, but I did see some things in the second game as well:
- Both scrimmages, and I would assume the final scrimmage of the day, used a 60-second shot clock that started when the offense brought the ball into the restraining box. This was the first time I’ve seen the shot clock in person, and I love it. Some parents and fans in the stands were saying how it eliminates discrepancy between officiating crews. And it’s true. However, it’s still a work in progress.
- Between the first and second scrimmages, I spoke to Vikings head coach Dylan Sheridan. We finally met in person. He was happy to see a shot clock used, but wanted to see a 90-second shot clock that started on possession.
- In the first scrimmage, Binghamton jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Senior midfielder Stephen Petrelli scored a hat-trick in the opening quarter. Last year, he played in all 16 games, starting in five, and scored 15 goals and three assists. I’d expect Petrelli to get some more starts at midfield in 2018 and be a big contributor.
- Senior attackman Thomas McAndrew scored twice in the first half for the Bearcats. The offensive side of the team loses Tom Moore and has to find ways to replace his huge production. One guy will probably not replace him, so guys like McAndrew, Joe Licata, and Griffin Konen will need to up their game.
- Speaking of Konen, on the last goal of the first half, Konen forced a turnover against Vikings goaltender Marshal Amon and fed the ball to Joe Grossi for an easy goal.
- The Bearcats’ defense looked strong against Cleveland State early. Dan Mottes and Zach Barrett are now sophomores and after starting all 16 games last season alongside Garrett Waldron. Look for redshirt-junior Sal Fama and sophomore Noah Madgwick to compete to fill in that final starting spot. They played alongside Mottes early on and gave the Vikings a tough time on offense.
- Barrett did not play on Saturday. From what I heard up in the stands, he’s been recovering from shoulder surgery back in August.
- Tanner Cosens is gone from the cage, but he’s still with the program as an assistant. Redshirt-sophomore Kevin Carbone now wears Cosens’ old No. 7 jersey and started the first scrimmage of the day. In the first half, I had him record eight saves, including six in the second. He looked very sharp in his 30 minutes of playing time, and I wouldn’t be worried about their defense if I was a Binghamton fan. Freshman Hunter Greco replaced him in the second half and made three saves.
- Shifting my focus to Cleveland State. Sheridan told me they were missing five starters, including two attackmen and starting goaltender Caleb Espinoza.
- Sheridan wasn’t that happy with how his team played after the first game. I thought their defense was pretty good, but their offense had plenty of easy mistakes against Binghamton. This is still a very young program with the majority of the team as sophomores and freshmen.
- They’re still learning a few things as well. An example I saw was subbing out of the box. New volunteer assistant coach Mark Frey, who replaces Gary Cintron, was working the box in both games. The players are still learning when to get on and off the field, but isn’t that what fall ball is all about?
- Once the Vikings got comfortable, they started to play their style of offense. I could hear Sheridan yell to his guys “Let’s get faster” during one of their possessions in the second quarter. They eventually picked up their speed, and it was very evident in the first half against Manhattan.
- Sophomore attackman Stephen Masi recorded two assists in the first scrimmage followed by two goals in the first half against Manhattan. He started all 14 games last year and recorded only two assists. He had a shot that hit the crossbar in the second half against Binghamton.
- Sophomore goaltender Marshal Amon got the start in net for the Vikings in the first game. In three quarters, he made 11 saves by my count. Freshman Brady Moze made five saves in the final quarter, and fellow freshman Stephen Russo made nine saves against Manhattan in the first half. Some of Amon’s stops helped keep the Vikings in it against the Bearcats.
- I was pretty impressed with how Cleveland State’s defense played. Andy German is a veteran defensive coordinator, and Kyle Bernlohr played with a couple of very good defenses when he was with Maryland. I expect them to take some strides this season.
- During transition, the Vikings were not afraid to bring a pole on offense. They’re usually around the top of the box and love to pull the trigger. It was very evident in the first quarter against Manhattan. Freshman Michael Harris scored twice in the quarter, and his second goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman Zach Whitenack.
- Shoutout to freshman Blake Storer and senior Parese Williams for sporting green lacrosse heads on defense. Loved it.
- Finally, take note of sophomore FOGO Danny Tesler. I raved about him at halftime of the Binghamton scrimmage when he went 6-for-7 on draws. He won the first three draws in the second half before being replaced by freshman Jack Dively. Both of them worked with Sheridan before scrimmaging Manhattan:
- Sheridan told the Ohio Boys Lax Report last year that Tesler could become a very good Division I FOGO. He went 90-for-169 on faceoffs last year, and his .533 faceoff winning percentage was top five amongst freshmen. His 5.67 ground balls per game was also among the top 20 in the nation and was the third-best freshman. He didn’t look good shooting the ball on both of his shot attempts against Binghamton, but he did put up 10 goals last year.
- Finally to Manhattan. They went down 9-1 in the middle of the second quarter, but they rebounded very well to end the second quarter. They scored four of the final six goals.
- One thing I noticed right away was the absence of attackman Parker Giarratana. He was on the sideline for the scrimmages. The junior led the team with 29 goals and 39 points last year.
- Without Giarratana, Trevor Pelletier, Mike Lombardi, and freshman Sean MacKinney were the attackmen for the most part.
- MacKinney scored twice during a three-goal run in the second quarter for the Jaspers and looked very good on offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting some games for Drew Kelleher’s squad this year.
- Wasn’t able to see a ton of Manhattan, but my final note is on goalie Michael Zingaro. The senior made eight stops in the first half against the Vikings, six of them coming in the first quarter. He did as much as he could to keep the scrimmage under control. Even in the Binghamton scrimmage, I heard he was also impressive. If the poles and short sticks can improve, maybe the Jaspers can be decent?
There’s some more fall ball scrimmages going today and a handful more next weekend. But with November a little more than a week away, teams are starting to begin preparing for the spring season.