The Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team split the first two games of a four-game homestretch this past week, dropping its first match on Wednesday 14-10 to the Marist Red Foxes before handily defeating Niagara University in a 20-8 record-tying scoring outburst on Friday.
Facing Marist in its first test at the Bearcats Sports Complex this season, Binghamton (1-3) struggled to get on the scoreboard for long stretches. At one point, the team was held without a goal for over 17 minutes in the first half.
Falling behind 8-3 at halftime, Binghamton was helpless against the Red Foxes’ offensive onslaught. Led by junior Ariel Kramer, who recorded three of her five goals in the first half, Marist went into the locker room having built a significant lead. But the Bearcats did show some life in the second period when they pulled within two, 10-8, behind the efforts of America East Player of the Game junior Lis Zuern and sophomore Katherine Hunsberger, who scored the final two goals of the run in a 24-second span.
That would be as close as Binghamton would get, though, as Marist clamped down on defense and scored four goals of its own. Although Binghamton outshot Marist 27-23, it failed to capitalize on its opportunities and was too vulnerable on defense to sustain the second period scoring runs. Despite outscoring the Red Foxes in the second half, 7-6, the Bearcats had dug themselves into too deep a hole in the first period and lost by a final score of 14-10.
Zuern recorded her second four-goal game of the season, while Hunsberger and senior Ali Castiglie both had two-goal efforts. Castiglie also added two assists.
There was no such issue two days later as the Bearcats took early control against the Niagara Purple Eagles with a 7-0 run to begin the game on Friday. They never relinquished that lead as they cruised to their first victory, tying a program record for most goals in a game last reached against St. Francis (Pa.) in 2002.
The Bearcats took advantage of a balanced attack and a stingy defensive approach that held Niagara scoreless for the first 26 minutes before it scored three late goals to send the teams into halftime with Binghamton winning, 8-3.
In the second half, it was more of the same. Binghamton once again started out strong, scoring the first three goals of the second period and stifling every attempted comeback by Niagara, whose smallest deficit was five goals.
The Bearcats continued to ratchet up the pressure during the final stretch of the game, closing out on a six-goal run, and scoring eight of the game’s final nine goals, several of which involved quick passing and clever movement.
Senior Lauren Scott had 10 saves on the day and was directly responsible for many of the Bearcats’ quick counter attacks. They applied pressure whenever they could, taking advantage of Niagara’s slow transitions and bombarding freshman Niagara goalkeeper Patricia McTiernan to the tune of 38 shots.
Six Bearcats enjoyed a multi-goal game, including Castiglie’s four-goal outburst. Zuern and sophomore Kimberly McGeever also had three goals, while senior Beth Moore, sophomore Kristen Stone and senior Lizzie Wright each added two goals. Hunsberger, Zuern and McGeever also contributed multi-assist games.
The Binghamton victory ends a five-game losing skid that dated back to last season.
The Bearcats look to continue their run of strong play against the Canisius Golden Griffins on Tuesday at the Bearcats Sports Complex. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m.