Without a win in conference play, the Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team sought to send its seniors out with a victory over first place Boston University in the team’s final game of the season. The Bearcats came close to pulling off the upset, but ultimately fell short in an 18-16 loss.
Despite entering Saturday as the conference leader, Boston University (11-5, 6-0 AE) could not shake off the determined Bearcats (3-13, 0-6 AE), who were thirsty for their first conference win of the year. Binghamton came out of the gates strong, jumping out to a 4-3 lead halfway through the first period.
“We had talked all week about being aggressive and playing as a team,” Binghamton head coach Tony Zostant said of his team’s performance. “We focused on winning the game for the seniors, and also to get an upset.”
The early lead for the Bearcats would quickly dwindle, however, as the Terriers scored the next three goals in a 39-second spurt. The three goals were part of a 5-0 run that put Boston up 8-4 in the middle of the first half. Binghamton answered with a 5-0 run of its own to take the lead at 9-8 with 3:16 to go in the period, but the Terriers, not to be outdone, would close the half with a 3-0 run to capture an 11-9 advantage going into the half.
The second half would prove to be a back-and-forth battle, as Binghamton refused to go quietly. Outplaying the Terriers for most of the half, Binghamton held multiple leads late in the game, its last one coming off the stick of junior Katherine Hunsberger to put BU ahead 14-13 with 14:48 left in the match. From there, Boston’s draw control wins, which not only allowed for better offensive chances for the Terriers but also kept possession away from Binghamton, were the difference in the game.
Boston University scored four unanswered goals late to stretch the lead to 17-14. A goal by Binghamton junior Kimberly McGeever pulled the Bearcats within two goals with 1:32 left, but the following draw control loss by the Bearcats allowed the Terriers to play keep-away and preserve the two-goal lead until the final buzzer.
With the loss, Binghamton finished its season winless in conference play, and will not earn a postseason berth.
Once again, the big three of McGeever, Hunsberger and senior Lis Zuern led the offense, accounting for 12 of the 16 goals scored and all four assists. The game was memorable for all three players, especially McGeever, who broke Becky Green’s single-season school record for assists with 33. Recording four goals and one assist in her final collegiate game, Zuern will leave Binghamton at second all time in goals (117) and points (158). Hunsberger had a huge game as well, scoring a team-high six goals and adding an assist and five draw control wins.
While Zuern’s departure will leave a large hole on the offensive end, budding stars such as Hunsberger and McGeever provide hope for next year’s squad. Other returning stars include junior Kristen Stone, who was third on the team in goals scored, and Renee Kiviat, who led all Binghamton freshmen in points scored with 12.
Erin McNulty, the fourth-ranked goalie in ESPN’s recruiting rankings, headlines an incoming freshman class. However, Zostant said that his current goalkeeper, freshman Kara Pafumi, will be the leading candidate for next year. Pafumi started all 16 games for the Bearcats this season, saving 131 shots for the Bearcats in her freshman year.
Overall, Zostant was disappointed in this season’s squad.
“While we were close in a lot of the games in conference, the results in the standings didn’t meet my expectations,” Zostant said of his team’s season. “There are things we can build on, especially with the play of [Kimberly] McGeever and [Katherine] Hunsberger. We just can’t rely on three people throughout the year [on offense], and we have to have other people step up in games when they face guard Zuern or Hunsberger.”