After reeling off four straight victories for the first time since 2004, the Binghamton women’s soccer team couldn’t get into the win column in two weekend opportunities.
The Bearcats (4-2-1) fell, 2-0, at Temple on Friday before tying Marist, 1-1, Sunday at the Bearcats Sports Complex.
After a scoreless first half at Temple’s Ambler Soccer Field, Binghamton, which had allowed just one goal in its previous 424 minutes of play, surrendered two goals in the second half.
Temple sophomore Erin Lafferty netted the first goal on a penalty kick in the 64th minute, and 16 minutes later, freshman Elaine Byerley converted on a header, doubling the margin and ultimately sealing the win for the Owls.
While the Bearcats did not score, they had several opportunities off seven shots and as many corner kicks. But the damage could have been worse, as the Owls (5-2-1) attempted 10 shots in the first half and finished with 14 on the game.
“The team competed hard in a physical game, and I was happy to see us keep fighting and keep working,” BU head coach Sarah McClellan said. “We know we’ll continue to have tough opponents ahead … so we have to keep getting better each game.”
Two days later, the Bearcats returned home to host Marist (2-3-2) in a rematch of last year’s physical match. The Red Foxes got the better of Binghamton last September, but McClellan’s team knew what to expect this time around.
“We knew we weren’t going to be able to let down at all,” senior forward Sophie Sylla said. “They’re a very physical team, and always have been.”
Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half, but the Red Foxes drew first blood just 59 seconds after the break. Marist senior midfielder Samantha Panzner recorded the goal, ripping one through from 14 yards out.
From then on, Binghamton played from behind, leading several attacks on goal. Sylla eventually headed in the equalizer off a pass from sophomore midfielder Rebecca Raber, who boasts a team-high three assists.
Sylla raced to Raber’s bouncing ball, beating a Marist defender and the goalkeeper, and sent a flick-header into the bottom right corner of the vacated goal.
“We had more ‘pizazz’ on the ball, and we were able to hold on to it,” Sylla said. “It was a great ball by [Raber], and we knew going in that their keeper liked to come out, so I had that in the back of my head when I went in.”
Neither team would score again, through two overtimes, and the game ended tied, 1-1.
Senior goalkeeper Carrie Martin and sophomore goalkeeper Gaby Gold recorded five and four saves, respectively, during the contest. Gold preserved the tie with a diving stop of a hard shot with 55 seconds remaining in regulation.
Junior back Connie Gormley and senior back Liz Cusato solidified the Bearcat defense, covering the ball and breaking up any counterattacks.
“I’m really proud of the team, the work rate, the communication, the teamwork and just continuing to fight and to come from behind, which I don’t think we’ve done this season yet,” McClellan said. “It’s a huge learning experience for us, and it shows the power of believing in ourselves. This is something that we can build on, and work on for our upcoming games. It was a ‘whole 120-yard game,’ both teams running back and forth. It involved tons of physical and mental exertion.”
BU is set to return to action Wednesday at Cornell, an opponent the Bearcats have played every year since 2009.
“We play them often, so both teams know each other,” McClellan said. “I expect it to be another high-paced, energetic game. We usually match up against them pretty well.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Charles F. Berman Field.