After an inauspicious beginning, the Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team showed resiliency Wednesday, capturing its first victory of the year in double overtime against Marist College, 17-16.
For the visiting Bearcats (1-2), the win was also their first–ever triumph over the Red Foxes (0-5).
Junior midfielder Katherine Hunsberger, who finished the game with three goals, tallied the game-winner with 1:09 left to play in the sudden death period.
“[Katherine] had an outstanding performance,” head coach Tony Zostant said. “She had some very good draw controls today … She controlled the midfield for us and we ran some sets for her and finished with the ball in the back of the net.”
Hunsberger’s heroics sealed the win for the Bearcats, but BU’s star was junior defender Kristen Stone, who set a program single-game record with seven goals. Given Stone’s propensity to score, her contributions to the Binghamton attack paved the way for Hunsberger to shine in the end.
After having fallen behind 8-1 with over 12 minutes to go in the first half, BU pulled to within one at 8-7 by halftime and went on to knot things up at eight early in the second. Stone and junior midfielder Casey Bulman each scored two goals in that run for Binghamton.
Zostant said the early deficit was disheartening and a familiar terrain for his team, who faced similar uphill battles in its first two games of the season against St. Francis University and University of Connecticut, respectively.
“This is our third game in a row where we dug ourselves a hole,” he said. “We talk about that all week and we were hoping that we can talk of it today. Obviously that wasn’t the case. But we called a time-out and we told them not to panic. We said, ‘If anything, you have experience being in this situation from the previous two games,’ and it was just the case that we were not running our offense on our end.”
After Hunsberger opened the second half with a goal for the Bearcats, Marist fired back to grab a 9-8 lead. After BU tied the score yet again, the Red Foxes extended their lead to 12-9 with a 3-0 run. But the Bearcats remained within striking distance and senior Brittany Stufano and freshman midfielder Alex Fisher scored goals to trim the deficit to one.
Down 15-13 with three minutes left in regulation, Stone scored twice to send the game into overtime, but neither team could capitalize on scoring opportunities in the first extra period.
The game proceeded into the second overtime, where Hunsberger’s strike ended the lengthy affair.
Despite its struggles in the draw circle (4-for-16), Binghamton’s resurgence was aided by its defensive tenacity, forcing 14 Marist turnovers.
In addition to her seven goals, Stone had seven draw controls, two ground balls and a caused turnover. Junior attacker Kimberly McGeever had a game-best four assists, one shy of a BU single-game record.
Though the victory against Marist was encouraging, Zostant acknowledged it is only the first step, but a positive one, heading into Friday’s affair against Canisius College.
“There’s a big difference between going into [our next] game being 1-2 and 0-3,” Zostant said. “It was a tough-fought win and it gives us some momentum going into [Friday’s] Canisius game, which is also very tough competitor. It builds excitement for us.”
Zostant also said he is hopeful that the team can learn from its mistakes against Marist to perform better against the Golden Griffins.
“The immediate game plan would be to come out a little bit quicker than we have the last three games,” Zostant said. “We had to dig ourselves a hole [so] that would be the No. 1 part of it. Run our offense the way we run our offense; good things happen for us.”
Binghamton’s match against Canisius is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Friday at the Demske Sports Complex.