After two promising years as a forward for the Binghamton women’s soccer team, junior Essie Bonney has secured a starting position on the front line. With five goals so far in 2019, Bonney has already scored more goals this season than in her previous seasons combined. With three conference games remaining and a playoff spot on the line for her team, the Los Angeles, California native talked about her breakout season on this week’s episode of Pipe Dream’s Bearcast.

At the helm of a newly structured offense, Bonney has been instrumental in her team’s success as they currently have an 8-4-2 record, far more exciting for the Bearcats than the 2018-19 season, which ended with a 7-9-2 record at the bottom of the America East standings.

Binghamton is fighting among the standings, currently in fifth place. However, with three teams tied for the second place, one win can catapult a team to the top and a single defeat can drop them several spots.

“Our coach always reminds us that our conference is so wonky,” Bonney said. “You never know who’s going to win. You can never underestimate any teams despite their records, so, I mean, you can never be comfortable, and we understand that. So, that’s why going forward for our last three conference games, we know that we can’t underestimate any of our opponents and we have to come in with full energy from the start to finish, and everybody needs to give their all.”

Prior to her junior campaign, Bonney took time this summer to focus in on the gaps in her game, going especially hard on her fitness and diet.

“I personally struggle with our fitness test — they are no joke,” Bonney said. “So, I really decided this is my year and if I want to take it seriously, I have to take some extra steps, and that’s what I did.”

Coming from California, Bonney made the decision to go to college a long distance away from her family. The harsh winter of Binghamton presented a challenge, as did homesickness.

“My first semester of freshman year I did struggle with the fact that I was so far away from home,” Bonney said. “I don’t think I fully thought that through because there were some times where I was like, ‘Why did I do this?’ and I was so far away from my family. Sometimes, my roommates, if they’re having a rough week or something they’d just be like, ‘Alright, I’m going home,’ whereas I can’t do that. I can only call my mom or call my dad or call my sister, so that was really rough, knowing I couldn’t go home all the time. I remember Thanksgiving of freshman year I couldn’t go home, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is the first Thanksgiving away from my family, what the heck did I get myself into?’ but as time has gone on, I’ve gotten used to it. Here I am, enjoying myself in the state of New York.”

Despite the absence of her relatives, Bonney has found a second family in her teammates; the team’s togetherness is present both on and off the field. From making the best of long bus rides by playing games and watching movies, to hanging out after practice, the team’s cohesion never ceases to exist.

“This team is the most it’s ever felt like a family,” Bonney said. “We’re all super close from the freshmen to the sophomores, juniors, seniors. I would say if you were a stranger and came to our team and watched a practice, you wouldn’t be able to tell what year anyone is because everyone on the team has a big voice. Everyone is comfortable speaking and we’re just all fun, we hang out outside of the team, it’s not just like a practice type of thing and then we don’t see each other anymore. We’re always hanging out. It’s like a sisterhood, really.”

The team continues its season on Thursday, Oct. 17 against Hartford at 2:30 p.m. at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.