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Hot start propels women’s lacrosse to third victory of season

A potent offensive outing helped set the Bearcats ahead on Thursday as the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team buried Niagara, 17-7.

Coming off a weekend road loss against Lafayette, the Bearcats (3-1) came out blazing, responsible for each of the game’s first eight goals. The Bearcats, who outscored Niagara (2-2) by two the rest of the way, are off to the best four-game start in program history.

Leading the charge early for the Bearcats was freshman attack Brianne Arthur, who found the net four times before the Purple Eagles got on the board. Another huge factor for Binghamton was sophomore attack Sophia Racciatti, who dished out a team-high three assists, to come away with a game-high five points.

“We wanted to come out and respond to Saturday’s performance [against Lafayette] and take control of the game,” BU head coach Stephanie Allen said. “It was important that we did better to compete for loose balls.”

Up big after the first half, the Bearcats were determined not to let their consistency dwindle just days after Lafayette used a 9-0 run to pull away.

“We knew Niagara would come out in the second half and compete,” Allen said. “We had to do the same, and continue to execute and outwork [Niagara].”

Binghamton would score three goals in the opening minutes of the second half to stretch its lead to 10. From there, the Bearcats took control of the game — and the clock — to push their win tally to three.

“We want to always play for all 60 minutes, and today we got closer to doing that,” Allen said.

A true team effort, six Bearcats had multiple goals in this matchup, with nine team assists to boot. In the cage, sophomore goalie Erin McNulty got some nice standing practice as the Bearcats kept Niagara’s time on attack to a minimum. She saw only nine shots and recorded four saves on the day.

Going through two goalies, Niagara’s defense felt the pressure of the Bearcats’ high-flying attack all game long, as BU would outshoot Niagara, 28-15. The game also proved to be a great chance for some of the reserves to grow on the collegiate field.

“It’s important to have the other players grow from in-game experience,” Allen said. “There might be a situation down the road where we want to give the team we are playing a different look.”

So far in 2014, the Bearcats have dominated their opposition, putting up an average of 13 goals per game to their opponent’s eight. Though always looking for ways to get better, Allen is still working her squad to take more control of ground balls and turnovers heading down the stretch of games.

Binghamton will look to keep its rhythm alive on Saturday, when it will host St. Bonaventure at the Bearcats Sports Complex. The Bearcats are undefeated at home this season.

Play is set for 3 p.m.