The Binghamton women’s lacrosse team faced Bryant for the first time in program history on Saturday. After a closely contested first one-and-a-half quarters, the Bearcats pulled away and secured a comfortable 17-9 victory. With its seventh consecutive win, BU clinched its spot in the America East (AE) tournament at the end of the regular season.

“I think our team has been bringing great energy lately,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “That showed on Saturday at Bryant. Whether we’re home or away, we’re really just trying to continue improving from game to game. For us it was an important game, not having played Bryant before, and really just wanting to make a statement on who we are and what we’re capable of this season.”

The first quarter began with the Bearcats (10-4, 5-0 AE) and the Bulldogs (6-6, 2-2 AE) trading goals. However, with just under six minutes in the frame, the visitors began to pull away with unassisted scores from senior attack Kenna Newman and sophomore attack Olivia Muscolino. Bryant would score once more — although Binghamton’s lead wasn’t threatened, as the hosts found the back of the net twice after to bring the lead to 6-3 at the end of the period.

Bryant opened the second quarter with a three-goal burst to tie the game at 6-6. BU would respond with five straight scores to enter halftime with an 11-6 advantage. Sophomore midfielder Abigail Carroll added two scores during this span to complete her hat trick.

“We did have a couple moments that maybe weren’t our best performance,” Allen said. “But I think we showed again that we can make adjustments, find our strengths and revert back to what we know, and not just get caught up in what a team is showing us that we haven’t seen before.”

Offensively, the third period saw both teams slow down significantly as there were only three goals total. After the Bearcats struck first in the second half, the Bulldogs answered with a goal of their own. However, this would be the last time the hosts would find the back of the net for the rest of the game. Senior goalie Emily Manning was solid between the pipes as she collected 10 saves, with six coming in the second half.

“That second half performance, defensively, was something I was really proud of,” Allen said. “Especially our goalkeeper [Manning], really playing solid between the pipes.”

Binghamton would not let up in the final period either, tallying six unanswered goals. Newman found twine twice to open the quarter, finishing the game with four goals and seven assists. Newman’s seven assists bested her own single-game assist record she set earlier this season, and her 11 total points set a new career high and is second all-time for a single-game. The senior was also awarded the AE player of the week honors along with the Inside Lacrosse Player of the Week for the first time. The visitors scored four more times, with contributions from Muscolino and sophomore attack Marisa Tancredi. Both Bearcats completed their hat tricks in the final quarter as BU pulled away for a comfortable 19-7.

“[Newman] did a great job of keeping her hands free, keeping her head up,” Allen said. “Whether it was finding space for herself and creating or the ability to get the ball off to teammates, just an all around great performance by [Newman].”

With its undefeated 5-0 record in conference play, Binghamton earned itself a spot in the AE tournament. The Bearcats are the first team in the conference to clinch a spot in the postseason, setting a program record for wins in a single season with their win over Bryant.

“Winning certainly builds confidence and brings an energy in itself,” Allen said. “But I think they’re really working for it and earning it everyday. We talked before the season started about the goal of ours to not just make it, but win [the AE Championship]. That’s really been apparent with our play this season.”

BU will host Albany for its senior day game on Saturday, April 15. First draw control is scheduled for 12 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.