The Binghamton women’s lacrosse team competed in its first NCAA tournament match in program history on Friday afternoon, falling 17-4 to the No. 6 Yale Bulldogs in the first round. The Bearcats started strong, trailing just 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, but Yale’s second-quarter surge saw them take an 8-3 lead at the half, which they held for the rest of the game, bringing Binghamton’s best season in program history to an end.

“We were really excited to make it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “Yale is an incredibly tough opponent, and a group of players that certainly came with the competitiveness and intensity that we would have expected.”

Yale (17-3, 7-0 Ivy League) were the first to get on the board, finding the net on a free-position shot 51 seconds into the first quarter of play. At the 12:45 mark, sophomore attack Carla Curth found senior midfielder Kristen Scheidel over the middle and Schiedel found the back of the net, scoring Binghamton’s [12-7, 5-1 America East (AE)] first-ever goal in an NCAA tournament match. The Bulldogs soon scored their second goal, retaking the lead, but the Bearcats were quick to respond with Scheidel finding twine yet again. The Bulldogs took the lead for the third time in the match at the 6:01 mark, but after this point, neither team scored for the remainder of the quarter as the Bearcats entered the second quarter trailing 3-2.

“I thought we did a good job of maintaining composure on the offensive end,” Allen said. “In that first quarter, our tempo and ball movement was strong and [it was] what we were looking to execute.”

The Bearcats opened the second quarter with possession and a two-minute man-up power play following a penalty against the Bulldogs at the end of the first period. The Bulldogs, however, forced a turnover just 33 seconds into the penalty and seized momentum by scoring in a man-down position. The Bulldogs scored four more unanswered goals, taking an 8-2 lead over the Bearcats by the 8:14 mark. Following Yale’s 6-0 run, the Bearcats cut the lead to five when sophomore midfielder Emma Blloshmi converted a free-position shot with 6:48 to play. The Bearcats trailed 8-3 entering the second half.

“Defensively, I thought we were limiting shots on [the] cage and at least forcing looks that our goalkeeper was confident in saving,” Allen said.

The third quarter opened with a scoring drought, as Binghamton held the Bulldogs scoreless until a successful free-position conversion at the 9:17 mark ended their nearly 14-minute long scoreless run. The Bulldogs scored five unanswered goals in the next 5:42 of play to cap off their second 6-0 run of the game. Binghamton continued to fight and senior attack Madison Murphy scored BU’s final goal of the game, converting a free-position opportunity with 45 seconds left in the third period. At the end of the Bulldog’s dominant 6-1 third quarter, they had outshot the Bearcats 14-1 and won six of seven draw controls, entering the final period of play with a commanding 14-4 lead.

“Yeah, I think just overall it was a record-breaking season and one that we should all be very proud of regardless of the outcome in the last game,” Allen said. “A lot of hard work and dedication put in by the staff, my assistants and this group of players.”

The fourth quarter saw Yale continue its strong performances on both sides of the ball, as they outscored Binghamton for the fourth-straight period. The Bulldogs scored three unanswered goals, and held the Bearcats to zero goals on just one shot on goal, en route to their 17-4 victory over Binghamton. Despite the heavy loss, Binghamton strung together some strong performances, as Scheidel scored twice in the first quarter, and senior goalie Sofia Salgado had a career-high 12 saves.

“Special shoutout to the senior class, their buy-in and leadership over the course of the four years that they were here,” Allen said. “I think more than anything proud of what we accomplished. I’m looking forward to getting this group back together next year and picking up where we left off.”

The Bearcats season came to an end with their loss to the Bulldogs. Binghamton’s historic year saw them set four major program records. The Bearcats won their first AE championship, with the first win in program history against UAlbany, while setting a record for most consecutive wins with eight and most wins in a season with 12. Seven Bearcats also took home AE all-conference honors. This includes junior attack Olivia Muscolino, junior midfielder Angelina Suau and Scheidel, on the first team along with Murphy and senior midfielder Hayley Weltner on the second team. Lastly, Blloshmi and freshman midfielder Mia Forte also both earned a spot on the AE all-rookie team.