After suffering a narrow 13-12 loss to UAlbany in its first-ever AE championship game appearance last year, the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team opened its 2024 campaign at home, enduring a 14-6 loss to Drexel. Although multiple Bearcats scored their first goals of the 2024 campaign, it was not enough to match the Dragons’ offensive efficiency and pace throughout the contest.

“Drexel’s a really strong opponent,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “We knew that we were going to have our work cut out for us. “The first couple [draw controls] didn’t go our way, and I think we did a really nice job of turning it around and beating them at the draw control area today.”

It took just 41 seconds for the scoring to commence, with the Dragons (1-0) finding the back of the Bearcats’ (0-1) net first. Drexel scored five unanswered goals with the help of four straight draw controls. Then, after a missed free-position shot from the Dragons, momentum began to shift in favor of the Bearcats. Senior midfielder Kristen Scheidel ended the Drexel run, to make it 5-1. The Bearcats maintained pressure with a draw control from senior midfielder Hayley Weltner which led to a goal from junior midfielder Abigail Carroll to make it 5-2 at the end of one period.

“I think it’s just adjusting sometimes to what the officials are calling and what they are not,” Allen said. “Maybe for us being a little more physical around the draw circle, but I thought [Weltner] did a nice job of reading what was happening, whether the ball was in her stick or not and playing accordingly.”

Momentum went back and forth to start the second period, with both teams trading goals. The Bearcats stayed within striking distance with free position goals from junior attack Olivia Muscolino and Carroll. However, the Bearcats ultimately went into the half down 8-4 after converting two of their four free position opportunities.

The third quarter began with four minutes of scoreless play. Eventually, Scheidel scored a free-position goal to end the drought. Drexel quickly countered and led 9-5 going into the nearly hour-long weather delay. Scheidel then scored her third goal of the day thanks to an assist from senior attack Gabriella Meli, to make it a 9-6 game, giving Binghamton some life. Despite senior goalkeeper Sofia Salgado making five saves in the period, the Bearcats trailed 10-6 going into the final period.

“I think as we came out of the rain delay, we did a good job of getting ourselves right back on track and on the scoreboard,” Allen said. “I think there was a little bit of a momentum shift when [Weltner’s] goal was taken back for a card, [and] a little bit of a shit in our energy level — something we’ve got to learn from and make sure that our energy doesn’t drop because of calls, whether we agree with them or not on the field.”

Despite BU maintaining pressure in the fourth quarter, outscoring Drexel seven to six, the Bearcats were unable to find the back of the net, with two shots being saved and two bouncing off the crossbar. Drexel, however, managed to score four more times throughout the quarter, as the Bearcats fell to the Dragons 14-6.

In the match, Binghamton went 3-of-10 on free position opportunities. Allen identified free positions as an area of improvement that could be key to success this season.

“We had a lot of extra women opportunities today that we definitely need to capitalize on moving forward,” Allen said.

Binghamton will continue nonconference play on the road against Temple on Wednesday, Feb. 14. First draw control is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Temple Sports Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.