After a disappointing 2-15 record last season, the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team is hoping to return to the playoffs in its upcoming 2020 campaign, which begins this week. With 10 incoming freshmen on the roster, the team is working through 2019’s mistakes to develop a new sense of optimism.
“[We are] really looking forward to opening up the season at home this year,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “I’m especially excited to see the experience that was gained from last year along with the confidence that was built throughout the fall.”
Last year’s season proved difficult for the Bearcats, with the team not winning a single game until April. Their first of two wins came on April 6 against UMass Lowell at home, which was immediately followed by a home rout of Hartford. The team went 0-8 away and lost every nonconference game in the season.
“There were a lot of lessons learned last year and experience gained,” Allen said. “We practice game scenarios all the time and I think especially with the group that we have here now, there’s more confidence than there’s ever been before.”
This season, the Bearcats will return some of their top offensive players, including senior midfielder Amelia Biancardi, who was was second on the team last year with 23 goals. Senior attack Olivia Batista, after redshirting her junior year due to injury, scored 16 goals in 17 games last year and is the most veteran player on the team after returning for her fifth year. She is joined in the attack by junior Paige Volkmann, who scored 16 goals last season. Junior midfielder Kelly Quinn is also a top returner, after scoring 10 goals and causing nine turnovers in her sophomore campaign.
Batista, senior goalie Taylor Passuello and junior midfielder Alyssa Sanchez are entering their second season as Binghamton’s team captains.
“There were a lot of things that we learned going through [last season],” Batista said. “People are really just determined to get back, make those changes that we needed to, put in the extra work where it was needed outside of practice, outside of conditioning or whatever it may be.”
Although standing strong at times, the Bearcats often struggled defensively in last year’s campaign, conceding an average of 13.6 goals a game over the course of the season. Despite this, Passuello was strong in net, leading the America East (AE) in saves with a total of 173 to add to her career total of 261 going into her final season.
“Our defensive unit has a fresh look with assistant coach Kristin Boland in the mix now,” Allen said. “She’s really revamped some of the style of play and I think they’re an exciting group to watch.”
According to the AE preseason poll, Stony Brook is forecasted to top the standings by the end of the season. Binghamton was picked to finish sixth, only beating out Hartford and UMass Lowell, whom the Bearcats managed wins over last season. Despite these odds, Binghamton is hoping its incoming freshman class and its newfound attitude could help the Bearcats upset the polls and turn the tides in their favor.
“We had a really strong freshman class come in as well as our freshman class last year who had time on the field last season, so they’re so much more confident,” Passuello said.
The Bearcats will kick off their season at home against Bucknell University. First draw control is set for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.