A little more than a month ago, the Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team won two consecutive games for the first time in six years. And then did an about-face.
On Saturday, the Bearcats extended their losing streak to five straight games as they failed to fend off a late rally from non-conference opponent Bucknell University and fell to the Bison 16-12 at home.
“It was a tough-fought win [for Bucknell (4-11, 0-5 Patriot League)] and it was a little disappointing we didn’t come out with the W,” Binghamton head coach Tony Zostant said.
Since recording back-to-back wins in early March, Binghamton, now 3-9 overall, has won just a single game — a 16-11 victory over Colgate University on March 21 — and remains winless in conference play (0-4 America East).
Binghamton jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, as junior Kristen Stone picked up a loose ball and fired it past the Bucknell goalie less than a minute into the match. Senior Lis Zuern pushed Binghamton’s lead to two less than 30 seconds later.
With goals from freshman Renee Kiviat, junior Katherine Hunsberger and another from Stone, the Bearcats compiled a 4-2 run and built a four-goal lead with 17 minutes left in the half.
But Binghamton then went cold, scoring just one goal, and Bucknell used a 5-1 run to enter halftime tied at seven.
The Bison continued to surge early in the second as Binghamton struggled to regain its momentum. Bucknell held the Bearcats scoreless through the opening 10 minutes while jumping out to a three-goal lead.
Binghamton finally responded with goals from freshman Emma Hayes-Hurley and Hunsberger to trim the deficit to one with 18:19 on the clock. Bucknell answered with another goal, but Hunsberger took the ball back on the draw control and quickly responded with her fourth goal of the day, a career high. Less than a minute later, Stone scored again to knot the score at 11 with just over 16 minutes left to play.
Bucknell again retook the lead, but this time it was Zuern who responded for Binghamton with just over seven minutes remaining.
Bucknell then called a timeout, and emerged reinvigorated. The Bison scored four goals over the next four minutes and held Binghamton scoreless for the remainder of the game.
“They controlled the draw and then they stalled the ball a little bit,” Zostant said of Bucknell’s strong finish. “We just couldn’t get the ball back.”
Zostant said that despite the team’s recent struggles, their confidence remains high.
“We continue to prepare, and we lost a couple games by a goal, and we just try to finish games out strong and we continue to expect to win games,” he said.
Hunsberger led the Bearcats on Saturday in a number of categories, with eight draw controls, two caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls, in addition to her four goals.
“She continues to work hard for us, and we expect big things out of her for the rest of the season,” Zostant said.
Stone and Zuern each recorded a hat-trick.
Binghamton will look to end its five-game skid this afternoon when the team takes on Siena College. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Siena Turf Field.