The Binghamton women’s lacrosse team traveled to UMass Lowell on Saturday evening for its final game of America East (AE) regular season play. The Bearcats looked to get back into the win column after dropping their first conference match last week to Albany. The visitors did just that, bouncing back and soundly defeating the River Hawks 16-8 in their regular-season finale, entering the AE tournament as the No. 2 seed.
“Just really proud of the team, bouncing back from that loss to Albany the week prior and finishing the season strong,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “We worked all week to make some of those small adjustments and learn from that Albany game, and I think that showed especially in the second, third and fourth quarter yesterday.”
The River Hawks (6-9, 0-5 AE) got the scoring started after finding the back of the net less than two minutes into the first period. Not long after, they scored another goal, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead over the Bearcats (10-5, 5-1 AE). Nearly halfway through the quarter, Binghamton finally got on the board as senior midfielder Isabella Meli fired one into the net. UMass Lowell got on the board again to take a 3-1 lead. However, the Bearcats found their groove, scoring two consecutive goals to end the first period, tying the game up at three goals apiece.
“We just talked about matching UMass Lowell’s energy out there,” Allen said. “We needed to pick up our energy after what we saw out there in the first quarter, and I thought our girls, after a timeout or two, really figured that out.”
The second period began with a UMass Lowell goal as the home team managed a slight advantage. The majority of the second period’s start went back-and-forth as the Bearcats and the River Hawks traded goals. With the score tied at 5-5, the Bearcats clicked on offense, scoring three goals, coming from sophomore attacks Olivia Muscolino and Marisa Tancredi along with a goal from Meli. Going into halftime, Binghamton led the River Hawks 8-5.
“We were really just working on the constant movement offensively,” Allen said. “We didn’t have as much of that in the first quarter [on Saturday]. After [the team] got their feet underneath them, they really turned things around.”
The Bearcats opened the second half with a quick goal from Tancredi less than one minute into the period, increasing their lead to four. Not long after, the hosts ended their scoring drought, adding their first goal since the 9:07 mark of the second period to make it 9-6. Binghamton began to pull away as the visitors put up three more goals in the period to take a 12-6 lead over UMass Lowell going into the final frame.
“[The offense] did a good job of making adjustments,” Allen said. “We were trying to generate some free position looks which I thought we did a nice job of.”
Binghamton got on the board first in the final frame after senior attack Kenna Newman managed a spin move on her defender and found the back of the net, making it 13-6. Later in the frame, junior midfielder Emma Conroy beat the defense, converting on a free position shot and burying one just past the River Hawk goalkeeper, giving Binghamton an eight-goal advantage. UMass Lowell added two goals in the final minutes, but it would not be enough. When things were all said and done, the Bearcats found themselves on top with a 16-8 victory.
“We deserve a little bit of rest and time to recover,” Allen said. “We’ve had some injury things go through the team these last couple of weeks. The extra weekend here to prepare will really serve us well.”
The Bearcats finished with 10 regular season wins, the most in program history. Six Bearcats finished with multiple goals, including Muscolino, Meli, Newman, Tancredi, Conroy and junior midfielder Hayley Weltner.
“This is a group that I knew was talented, but it came down to them having chemistry out on the field, playing with the belief mindset that they could be winners and that they go out there and compete with any opponent,” Allen said. “I’m really just proud of what we’ve strung together so far this season and look forward to still what’s to come.”
Binghamton will have a bye next week while the rest of the AE concludes conference play. The Bearcats will prepare for the AE tournament which will be hosted by Albany from May 5 to May 7.