The Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team fell to St. Francis University 16-12 in its season opener on Sunday.
The Red Flash (1-1) was ignited by junior attack Danielle Conwell, whose nine goals on 14 shots led a St. Francis offense that started strong in both halves.
For Binghamton (0-1), the offense was led by senior attack Lis Zuern, who scored three goals, and junior Katherine Hunsberger, who tallied two goals and an assist on 10 shots. Senior midfielder Allie Sabitus, junior defender Kristen Stone and junior midfielder Casey Bulman also recorded two goals apiece for BU, while junior attack Kimberly McGeever tallied a goal and two assists.
Binghamton got off to a slow start in the first half, quickly falling behind 5-1. But in the middle of the first, the Bearcats scored four unanswered goals to bring the score to 5-5 and eventually entered halftime tied with St. Francis, 9-9.
But after scoring the first goal of the second half to take a 10-9 lead, BU allowed five straight to fall behind 14-10. Following the spurt by the Red Flash, Binghamton would score only two goals in the final 27:56.
“I thought we played well in the first half; offensively we took care of the ball well,” head coach Tony Zostant said. “We got away from our game plan offensively in the second half.”
Early in each half, Binghamton looked a bit out of sorts and it took some time for the team to get into a rhythm offensively and defensively.
“[St. Francis] had already played a game,” Zostant said. “Once we got up to game speed, we were capable of scoring goals.”
While Binghamton didn’t have the offensive output to mirror its first-half offensive performance, it did manage to contain Conwell, who only scored two goals in the second half, after a seven-goal performance in the first half.
“We made the halftime adjustment to face [her] and that was able to take her out of the game a bit,” Zostant said. “We forced others to step up around her.”
The Bearcats outshot St. Francis 31-28 in total. Zuern led Binghamton’s scoring with a hat trick on five shots.
“Offensively, we are trying to get more people involved,” Zostant said. “[Zuern] had 35 goals last year so we know she can score.”
Binghamton was solid in defensive clearing efforts, going 7-for-7 while also holding the advantage in draw controls, topping St. Francis 17-13 in the category. That effort was led by Hunsberger and Stone, who had three draw controls apiece. Zostant said he was particularly proud of the transition game and the defensive pressure that forced 15 St. Francis turnovers.
Freshman goalkeeper Kara Pafumi made nine saves in her first collegiate start.
“[She] had first-game jitters,” Zostant said. “Defensively we could have communicated better, but her effort in the second half was good since she made some good saves. Being a freshman goalie we [will need] to get her up to game speed.”
The team’s next match is scheduled for noon on March 3 against the University of Connecticut at the Bearcats Sports Complex.