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Women’s soccer’s offense more dominant than scores imply

Four games into its schedule, the Binghamton women’s soccer team has totaled three losses and just one win. But there’s still hope yet.

Tycho McManus/Assistant Photo Editor The women's soccer team hosts Siena at 7 p.m. tonight.

The Bearcats’ losses were slim — at most by a two-goal margin — their win via a five-goal rout. They’ve played every game attacking the goal with a heavy foot, outshooting their opponents by a collective 55-47. Over half of those shots have been on target.

“Our attack is a very creative attack,” head coach Sarah McClellan said. “We don’t give [the players] a whole lot of specifics, except to get numbers forward and to play quickly. So I think that we’re trying to funnel our creativity in that way rather than limit them to just a couple types of looks.”

So they’ve created opportunities; the pieces are in place. What’s left, said McClellan, is just figuring out the best strategy.

“I think what we saw in these first couple of games is just figuring ourselves out on the competition field,” McClellan said. “With a young team and everyone still trying to figure out what we need done on the field and how to do it, I think we kind of shot ourselves in the foot against Manhattan on Friday.”

Against the Jaspers (2-2), the Bearcats brought their A-game early, scoring just two minutes in. Manhattan rallied back, but BU wasn’t sleeping for the rest of the match. Outshooting their visitors and landing four more shots on goal, the only thing that stood between the Bearcats and their first victory was Manhattan’s stingy keeper.

“That was a game that I think we played well enough to win, but then really I thought the team did a great job against Iona on Sunday,” McClellan said. “So we seem to be getting closer to where we want to be relative to our performance.”

The Bearcats figured out an efficient playing dynamic against Iona (2-2). With nine players contributing at least one shot, and over 60 percent of those shots on goal, the offensive coasted. BU’s keepers only needed to make three saves and just three of the Gaels’ players were even able to get into scoring position.

Consistently leading the attack this season is sophomore midfielder Katie O’Neill. O’Neill’s shots make up about one third of the team’s total, and half of the on-target attacks have been hers. She also leads the team with two goals.

“Katie O’Neill is just working,” McClellan said. “Playing and working at midfield and getting some great opportunities.”

In addition to O’Neill, junior forward Stephani Church and two freshmen forwards, Jocelyn Acor and Jacque Rice, have recorded goals so far. Senior midfielder Rebecca Raber tallied seven shots through the four contests, second only to O’Neill’s 17. So the team has depth to work with, as well as time to get into gear before the wins really start counting.

“[We have] a good mix of different attacking dynamics that we haven’t had in past years,” McClellan said, “but again we have to do all the work on the field to be able to get us those chances each game.”

Beginning with Siena, the Bearcats have six more non-conference matchups before they head into America East play. But Siena (1-3) gives them a unique opportunity to test themselves against their conference rivals in the early season: Having already played Albany, Stony Brook and UMass Lowell, the Saints can give the Bearcats a glimpse of their standing. Siena fell to Albany and UMass Lowell, 5-1 and 2-0, respectively, but narrowly defeated Stony Brook, 3-2.

Play against Siena begins at 7 p.m. today at the Bearcats Sports Complex.