The Binghamton women’s lacrosse team took home its first-ever America East (AE) title with a 12-11 victory over in-state rival UAlbany in the conference final on Sunday morning. The Bearcats found themselves trailing 5-0 before an eight-goal run stretching across the second and third quarters powered them to an 11-8 lead. Then, Binghamton weathered a late comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, holding on for a program-record eighth-straight win.

With the win, BU snapped an 0-25 skid against the Great Danes.
“It still feels a bit surreal, but [I’m] just really proud of this group of players for believing that they could do it,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “[They put] us in a position to be in that championship game, and just really [raised] the level of confidence and fortitude this entire conference season.”

UAlbany (8-10, 5-2 AE) was the first to get on the scoreboard, netting a goal at the 12:05 mark. The Great Danes embarked on a 5-0 run in the first 12 minutes of the first quarter, assisted by the three goals they scored in man-up positions. Binghamton (12-6, 6-1 AE) was able to stop UAlbany’s run when junior attack Olivia Muscolino found the back of the net for its first goal of the game. The Bearcats cut the Great Danes’ lead to three when sophomore midfielder Emma Blloshmi converted a free-position shot, as the Bearcats went into the second quarter down 5-2.

“I think [UAlbany] came out with good pace and tempo,” Allen said. “Certainly the card situation favored them with us being man-down three times in that first quarter. Those are those hard positions to defend and I think Albany came out with a lot of confidence in those early minutes.”

The second quarter saw the Great Danes continue to attack the Bearcat net, as they went on a two-goal run to retake a lead of five. Binghamton was held scoreless until the 7:18 mark when they found the back of the net twice in 61 seconds. The two foes traded possessions before a yellow card against Binghamton saw UAlbany score its fourth man-up opportunity goal of the match. The Bearcats, however, were quick to respond, going on a commanding three-goal run in the final 53 seconds of the half, winning four straight draw-controls during the run. The Bearcats entered the half trailing 8-7.

“Our offensive unit in the final minutes of the second quarter provided that spark,” Allen said. “I think we really had that momentum as we headed into halftime … and [senior midfielder Hayley Weltner]… did a phenomenal job of giving us the opportunities to have the ball on our offensive end and not just relying on defensive stops.”

The Bearcats began their dominant third quarter at the 13:17 mark when Blloshmi found the back of the net and secured a hat-trick. Just 47 seconds later, senior midfielder Kristen Scheidel found twine, giving Binghamton its first lead of the day. The Bearcats continued to grow their lead, as Blloshmi converted a free-position opportunity and Scheidel secured her hat-trick to give BU an 11-8 lead heading into the final period of play.

“Our defensive unit for holding [UAlbany] scoreless for 20 plus minutes, I think was a huge accomplishment,” Allen said. “[Senior goalie Sofia Salgado] did a tremendous job between the pipes but it was the unit in front of her giving her shots that she was confident in facing as well.”

BU concluded its 10-1 run as senior attack Madison Murphy scored her lone goal of the match at the 12:26 mark in the fourth quarter. Facing a 12-8 deficit, the Great Danes began to attempt a comeback, scoring two straight in the next 66 seconds of play. UAlbany continued its attempt, finding the next with 104 seconds left in the game to cut the lead to one. The Great Danes regained possession once again with 40 seconds to play, but a key turnover forced by BU left them with just 16 seconds to score and force overtime. BU’s defense held strong on the final possession, forcing another turnover, securing a 12-11 win and the team’s first-ever conference title and NCAA Tournament berth.

“You know a little bit of recovery today,” Allen said. “It’s also exam week here so we’ve gotta take care of business in the classroom as well. We’ll have a little bit of recovery time and then we’ll focus on us and really get into scout preparation on Wednesday and Thursday.”

Binghamton will take on No. 6 Yale in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 10. First draw control is set for 1 p.m. at Reese Stadium in New Haven, Connecticut.