Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen said her team is out to prove it’s ready to move the women’s lacrosse program forward.
The Bearcats took another step in that direction on Saturday, extending their program-best start to 4-1 with a dominating 19-3 victory over visiting St. Bonaventure.
“We went out there focused on transition play and executing our breaks,” Allen said. “The offense did a nice job making smart decisions on [the tempo].”
The quick-strike offense wasted no time, winning the opening draw control and finishing its possession with a goal just 30 seconds in, courtesy of freshman attack Brianne Arthur. Arthur, who leads the team with 18 goals this season, earned America East Rookie of the Week honors on Monday for the second time this season.
Foreshadowing the Bonnies’ ultimate woes, the Bearcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes. Binghamton would take a commanding 10-1 lead into the break, and from there it would only get better for the Bearcats.
BU opened the second half on a 5-0 run to officially name the game a blowout. Eventually triumphing over their opponents by 16 goals, the Bearcats’ dominant result has become routine for this year’s squad when playing on its home turf. They have outscored their opponents at home, 56-16, over three contests.
“They are all out there to prove themselves,” Allen said. “In the past, we haven’t been a winning program, and these girls have a lot to prove to their friends, fans, supporters and their community.”
Leading the charge were the usual suspects. Senior attack Angela Vespa, junior attack Alex Fisher and Arthur each scored four goals to lead a Bearcats offense that saw contributions from seven players. Sophomore attack Sophia Racciatti recorded a game-high three assists, and the Bearcats saw 10 assists overall, a season high.
Also a season milestone was the team’s defensive prowess. The Bearcats allowed a season-low three goals. Sophomore goalie Erin McNulty had yet another solid outing, saving five of the seven shots made against her.
“The defense stayed within our system,” Allen said. “Our plan was to get St. Bonaventure out of their element, and pressure their ball handlers.”
Allen especially liked what she called “two-point plays,” in which the defense knocks the ball away from the opponent and then gets the ground ball, leading to a transition opportunity on offense.
“We are really hitting home they need to play with fire,” Allen said. “It’s all about outworking, out-hustling and outplaying our opponents on the field.”
The team will need to call upon all the fire it can muster in its upcoming game on Tuesday. Cornell, which owns both of the wins in the two programs’ all-time series, will be “the best team we have faced this season,” according to Allen.
On the other hand, Cornell may be seeing the best player of their season in Arthur. The freshman ranks 13th nationally in goals per game average (3.60). She also ranks in the top five in the America East in goals and points per game (4.00).
The game is scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex.