After a down year in 2012, the Binghamton women’s soccer team hit the ground running in 2013. The Bearcats, who beat Lafayette and Niagara at the Bearcats Sports Complex this weekend, have won their last four matches after dropping the season opener at Siena.
After a couple of stifled attempts, Binghamton (4-1) notched its first goal against Lafayette (3-1) 27 minutes into the game. Senior midfielder Emma Kurth, assisted by sophomore midfielder Rebecca Raber, tapped the ball in at the goalmouth after a corner kick. It was her first goal of the season.
Raber went on to net her own goal in the second half, taking a square ball from sophomore midfielder Katie Corcoran and burying it into the right corner from 20 yards downfield.
Despite the Leopards’ efforts at a comeback in the remaining 20 minutes, senior goalkeeper Carrie Martin kept her guard up and defended her way to her third shutout of the season. She needed just two saves on the night.
Raber posted three of Binghamton’s nine shots, matching Lafayette’s total on her own. Sophomore forward Stephani Church, who earned America East Player of the Week honors last week after securing Binghamton’s game-winning goal against Iona and tallying an assist against Manhattan, recorded two shots.
“We looked pretty good in spurts and as the game progressed, we started to get more comfortable and gained more confidence,” head coach Sarah McClellan said, according to BUBearcats.com.
Church carried her hot streak into Sunday, putting two goals past Niagara sophomore goalkeeper Claire Feiertag to give the Bearcats a 2-1 halftime lead.
With Kurth assisting, Church drew first blood just three minutes into the game. Niagara answered four minutes later, but Church put Binghamton ahead again with an unassisted goal at the 12-minute mark.
“Church is just working like crazy,” McClellan said. “She does not give up on any play. And she works just as hard offensively as she does defensively and she wants to score goals and that mindset and that mentality is really working for us and I think it’s contagious. So when she’s going after it we start to find more chances with other players as well.”
For the first 20 minutes of the second half, the two teams combined for one shot on goal. BU sophomore midfielder Katie Corcoran lifted a strong shot that nearly found the net at the 69:33 mark, but she hit the crossbar and didn’t receive the lucky bounce.
Binghamton peppered Feiertag with four shots on goal between the 75th and 80th minutes, and the Niagara goalkeeper saved them all. But junior midfielder/back Emily Nuss finally put one past Feiertag in the 83rd minute to secure the 3-1 win.
The Bearcats outshot the Purple Eagles 14-8, including a 9-6 advantage on goal. Binghamton also held an 8-5 edge in corners, and recorded just one foul to Niagara’s six.
Martin saw her shutout streak end at three, but saved five shots while allowing just one goal.
“I thought we started off pretty well—just had a couple mental lapses in the first half,” McClellan said. “Second half we really looked a lot sharper I thought. A lot faster on the ball, a lot more aggressive going to goal which is what we wanted. So I think the players did a really good job making the adjustments in the second half and executing.”
Binghamton is set to return to the field on Friday at Temple. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Ambler Sports Complex in Ambler, Pa.