Win or lose, the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team’s 2015 campaign ends Saturday.
Though most seasons end in a conference matchup or tournament, due to the assignment of bye weeks, Binghamton’s schedule will end with a non-conference contest at home against MAAC-member Canisius.
Had the Bearcats (6-10, 1-5 America East) made the AE Tournament, it could have been a strategic opportunity to refine their game before the wins reset. But falling shy of clinching a playoff appearance in the four-team field, BU finds itself with just one more go, with nothing on the line.
Ostensibly, at least.
For senior attack Renee Kiviat, who leads the team in goals scored (24) and shot percentage (.522) of those who fired off at least 10 attempts this season, Saturday marks one last trip to the field in the green and white. While the four-year starter will watch her illustrious career come to an end Saturday, the sentiment surrounding the game isn’t one of antiquity, but one of future development.
“I’m just going out there to help the team prepare for next season,” Kiviat said. “We’re focusing a lot on us and on preparation for next season, so I’ll just do my best out there.”
That level of commitment to her team shouldn’t be surprising. Kiviat’s devotion to the game motivated her to play through injuries her sophomore year and propelled her to rebound for two incredibly successful subsequent years. So rather than dwell on the finitude of her playing time, Kiviat, described by head coach Stephanie Allen as a “natural leader,” has her team’s future in mind.
“I’m just trying to be a good role model on the field,” Kiviat said. “We have a lot of young talent and a lot of room to grow as a program, so I’m just trying to leave a legacy and show how hard work can really pay off and how well we can do as a team.”
Kiviat has the results to show for it. Her success reaches well beyond just this year or last year: When she began her tenure at Binghamton in 2012, the 5-foot-7 Jericho, New York native made an immediate impact. She led the team with a 56.2 percent clip in shot percentage while managing a third-best 32 draw controls. Behind that production, she earned a spot on the AE All-Rookie team.
Not to mention last season, when the then-junior put up 21 goals on 48 shots en route to a second-best 26 points on her team. Kiviat likewise matched a team-high 30 draw controls, showcasing her versatility on the team. That year, she was named AE First-Team All-Conference and was chosen the team MVP.
But like any successful player, Kiviat, who is earning her degree in systems engineering next month, wasn’t satisfied with just that.
“I think I had a very good personal season for myself last year, but there’s always room for improvement for everyone in every aspect of the game,” she said.
This season, in addition to her increased offensive efficacy, Kiviat ranks across the board of statistics. She’s third on the team with 31 ground balls, fourth with 18 draw controls and still forced 15 turnovers.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Renee and the work and bricks that she’s really laid for this program and hopefully future successes,” Allen said. “She’s a player that takes a lot of ownership over this program and what she contributes to it, and she’s definitely been able to leave a mark on her senior season here and leave us on a really high note.”
But it’s also her intangibles that set Kiviat apart and make her a leader.
“She brings a good sense of calmness, game experience and confidence to the field,” Allen said. “She’s a player that we can trust to have the ball in her hands at the end of the game or come out and make a play defensively after she’s played for 59 minutes already, and she’s still going for that last minute of the contest.”
Behind Kiviat’s leadership, Saturday’s game grants an opportunity to set the tone for the summer as well as the year beyond. And for a team that will be largely intact next season — there are only four seniors on the lengthy roster — that ends up placing a lot on the line.
The game, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed due to inclement weather, is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.