Binghamton University women’s soccer team got back on the winning track at home on Sunday, stifling conference opponent University of Maine en route to a 1-0 victory.
The Bearcats got an early jump in conference play, posting the victory in both schools’ America East opener. Binghamton’s overall record improved to 3-7 on the season.
Sophomore forward Sarah Furminger put BU ahead in the 81st minute, firing a long-distance shot that rattled off the post for a goal. The shot marked Furminger’s third goal of the season, surpassing freshman Kaitlyn Cook for the team lead.
Coupled with a solid defensive performance, the Bearcats were able to slow down a surging Maine team, who entered the match on a three-game winning streak.
‘We knew whoever scored first was going to win this game,’ said Binghamton head coach Sarah McClellan. ‘The entire team battled for this game, and they all battled for that goal. Sarah scored it, but we all battled for it.’
Binghamton, who entered the match scoring only one goal in its past four games, showed no signs of diminished confidence.
‘We’ve worked very hard for this,’ McClellan said. ‘It’s about time things started going our way.’
Freshman goalkeeper Carrie Martin recorded the shutout, dramatically preserving the win in the match’s final seconds.
A shot at the 89th minute by sophomore Maddie Hill almost proved to be the equalizer for Maine, but Martin jumped up and narrowly tipped the ball into the crossbar. Martin was able to recover, falling on the rebound and ending Maine’s scoring opportunity, helping lead the Bearcats to their first conference-opening win in eight years.
When asked about her performance, goalkeeper Martin was thrilled about the team’s victory.
‘It’s pretty exciting,’ she said following the match. ‘It was such a hard-fought game, and the team did so well. I was just happy to be a part of that.’
Following the victory, McClellan was enthusiastic about her keeper’s performance, discussing how the shutout will boost team confidence as they enter America East scheduling.
‘It was important for our entire team to know we can shut out teams. [It is important] to know that there may be some close calls, but that’s what our goalkeeper is for, and our keeper did a great job to keep the ball out of the net.’
The Bearcats set the pace of the match early, putting pressure on Maine in the attacking half. In the 19th minute, junior AnnMarie Rizzi fired a shot from close range, forcing sophomore Maine keeper Meagan Price-Leibenzeder to make a diving save. Sophomore Candice Rowland had a clean shot off the rebound, but powered it just over the crossbar.
Maine had two solid shots in the 56th minute, but BU was able to stop the Black Bear offense and clear the ball out of the attacking half.
‘We were much more organized defensively today,’ McClellan said. ‘We were much more connected in our layers from the backs to the midfielders and forwards. That was one of the reasons we were able to compete the whole time.’
Following the match, both players and coaches showed excitement about starting conference play with a victory. Starting America East scheduling with a win is important for the Bearcats, who look to improve on their second-place finish from a year ago.
‘Every game is a big game in conference, there are no easy games,’ McClellan said. ‘Maine is a very strong team, they played great and we matched that and found a way to win.’
In front of 385 fans, Binghamton improved its record at the Bearcats Sports Complex to 2-3 on the season.
The Bearcats are scheduled to play in their first conference road match, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Hartford University.