In its final match of the regular season on Saturday, the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team took on Vermont in a must-win game to extend its 2022 season. After a back-and-forth battle through four quarters, the Bearcats downed the Catamounts 11-10 in an overtime thriller that secured them a ticket to the America East (AE) playoffs.

“I’m really proud of my team,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “Our backs were up against a wall and I thought they were really composed under the pressure. They had a really good team mentality out there to take care of business.”

BU (7-8, 2-4 AE) wasted no time to start the match, putting its first point on the board 40 seconds after the opening draw control. Vermont (12-4, 3-3 AE), however, responded with two unanswered goals six minutes apart to take the lead. A minute later, the Bearcats tied it up before UVM regained the lead with less than a minute to go in the frame and headed into the second period with a one-goal advantage.

“We went into the game not trying to make it something more than it was,” Allen said. “It was our final regular season game … If we don’t win, then that’s the end.”

The Catamounts opened the second frame with a goal to extend their lead to two. Each team stayed quiet until senior attack Emily Masera sent two straight shots past the goalie over the span of one minute to tie the contest. Despite the Catamounts tacking on one more goal, BU ended the half with a pair of goals to take the lead entering the break.

“In the first half we gave up some points to [Vermont’s] top two goal-scorers,” Allen said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and I thought everybody just really gelled together. [Junior goalie Emily Manning] came up with some key saves … She’s just been a rock between the pipes this season for us and we’re excited to see how that carries into this next week.”

Vermont were on the board first to begin the penultimate quarter, adding two goals in the first five minutes to retake the lead. Once again, Binghamton refused to back down, ending the period with a two-goal run and regaining its one-goal lead over Vermont.

“We’ve been trying to generate [runs] all season,” Allen said. “Certainly it’s a game of runs but you want to put a stop to those before they begin to get into the three-goal range. With the exception of one little period of time, I thought we did a great job of responding offensively and making sure there weren’t stretches that we went without scoring.”

The final period started slowly as neither team scored during the first six minutes. Vermont struck first and scored in a flurry, finding the back of the net three times in fifty seconds. This quick run put BU down 10-8 with less than eight minutes to play in the game and potentially its season. Binghamton did not give up, however, finding the net two more times in the period. Freshman attack Marisa Tancredi added the tying goal courtesy of an assist from sophomore midfielder Madison Murphy to force overtime. In the extra frame, a free position goal by sophomore midfielder Kristen Scheidel ended the match 11-10, extending the Bearcats’ season to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Defensively, BU held the Catamounts to 10 goals for the game, nearly four less than their season average of 14. Manning also recorded 10 saves on the day.

“[Manning’s] confidence has just been growing every single week,” Allen said. “I think the unit in front of her did outstanding.”

This is BU’s second time making the AE playoffs since joining the conference. Redshirt senior midfielder Kelly Quinn is the only player in program history to make the tournament twice. The Bearcat represented the team during its first postseason appearance when it was eliminated by Albany in the semifinals four years ago. Binghamton will enter this AE postseason as the third seed in the conference and is slated to face No. 2 seeded Vermont again.

The Bearcats will take on the Catamounts in the first round on Thursday, May 5. First draw control is set for 6 p.m. at John Fallon Field in Albany, New York.