Despite junior Katherine Hunsberger’s four goals, the Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team fell 14-12 in its first-ever game against La Salle University.
Binghamton head coach Tony Zostant said he wanted to avoid an early deficit, and his Bearcats (2-4) came out strong, scoring the game’s first three goals. But La Salle (5-2) answered with an 8-0 run in the middle of the first half to put the Bearcats in a familiar hole. The Explorers won all eight draw controls during the spurt.
“We spent a lot of energy getting out of that hole to get back into the game,” Zostant said. “The main reason for the 8-0 run was because we couldn’t win the draw control. They won the draw and were able to set up in the offensive zone before we could possess the ball.”
Binghamton closed the first half on a 5-3 run to pull within two at the break. With 22 seconds remaining in the period, junior Casey Bulman scored after a lengthy BU possession that lasted nearly two minutes. The goal seemed to give momentum back to the Bearcats, and freshman goaltender Kara Pafumi made a clutch last-second save to ensure her team entered the break down by only two goals, 11-9.
“After the 8-0 run she made adjustments,” Zostant said of Pafumi. “And she had a great save to end the first half and keep momentum for us.”
In the second half, defense proved to be the focus for both sides, as both teams sought to relish every offensive possession for a good shot. The Bearcats and Explorers combined for only six second-half goals, compared to 20 in the first.
“We wanted to make sure that every possession counted,” Zostant said of his team’s second-half efforts.
BU senior Lauren Lukefahr netted a goal with 6:31 to cut La Salle’s lead to 13-12, but any hopes for a rally were extinguished when La Salle freshman Claire Andrews put the Explorers back up by two with 1:38 left.
Binghamton had its chances late, none better than a point-blank shot with 1:10 remaining, but La Salle senior goalkeeper Megan Corliss made the save to preserve the two-goal advantage and secure a La Salle victory, 14-12.
Though the Bearcats lost, Hunsberger shone as a bright spot with a career-high four goals.
“I hope she continues that [level of production],” Zostant said. “We hope that we can get other midfielders involved in the scoring and to step up in the offensive end.”
In addition to Hunsberger’s four goals, senior Lis Zuern netted three while Lukefahr, Bulman, freshman Alex Fisher and juniors Kimberly McGeever and Kristen Stone contributed one goal apiece. McGeever also had two assists on the day.
To prepare for Wednesday’s home game against Colgate University, Zostant said he is looking to work on ground balls and draw controls, which he said contributed the most to the eight-goal run La Salle enjoyed in the first half.
Face-off is set for 4 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex.