On Thursday, the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team faced off against No. 2 Vermont for an America East (AE) semifinals matchup. Although the Catamounts controlled most of the game, the Bearcats kept pace and staged a late three-goal run to tie the match. Ultimately, UVM came away with the 13-12 win after scoring the game-winning goal with eight seconds left.
“I’m really proud of the way our team battled,” said Binghamton head coach Stephanie Allen. “We put ourselves in a position to potentially make it to the championship. We showed a lot of resiliency on Thursday and unfortunately, things just didn’t go our way at the very end.”
BU (7-9, 2-4 AE) started the scoring off with a goal in the first minute. Vermont (14-4, 3-3 AE) responded within two minutes to tie the game at one. The rest of the quarter remained even as both teams added two goals to their totals and headed into the second frame tied 3-3. Sophomore midfielder Madison Murphy scored two of Binghamton’s goals in the period and junior goalie Emily Manning saved two shots.
“[Manning] had some really critical moments and saves,” Allen said. “Especially at the end, off of the free positions that she faced. She put the ball back in our offense’s hands to give us a chance to take the win. I’m just really proud of her confidence and composure in there.”
The Bearcats again opened up the scoring in the second frame but quickly surrendered one back to the Catamounts. This sparked a run for Vermont where it scored three goals in 50 seconds, taking a 6-4 lead. Murphy halted the run with her third goal of the game before UVM notched one more. Freshman midfielder Abigail Carroll found freshman attack Olivia Muscolino for a goal with just over a minute to go as the Bearcats trailed by one going into the half. Murphy led the scoring effort for BU with three goals on the day.
“[Murphy and Carroll] really put the team on their back at times when we needed to get ourselves responses to stop the run that Vermont was going on,” Allen said. “Both of them did a really good job of giving us looks on cage and creeping back into that game when we were down by three. More than anything, they were competitors.”
The third period opened with a two-goal run by the Catamounts that grew their advantage to three, the largest lead of the game. The Bearcats, however, responded with a run of their own. They scored two unanswered goals in the remainder of the frame and added another to start the final quarter to even the match at 9-9. BU only allowed two goals in the penultimate quarter and forced four Vermont turnovers in the process.
“I think our defense collectively played and fought really hard and played as a unit,” Allen said. “Especially [junior midfielder Jamie Golderman] who had an outstanding day for us and played one of the best games of her career as well.”
In the final frame, shortly after Binghamton’s opening goal, the Catamounts went on their second three-goal run of the game. The run gave Vermont a 12-9 lead with eight minutes remaining. BU refused to back down, however, responding with a three-goal run of its own over the next six minutes. Muscolino answered first, followed by Carroll who scored two straight goals that tied the game with over two minutes remaining.
“Draw controls, possessions, our offense and really just the execution [were the keys],” Allen said. “The game plan didn’t shift a ton in that fourth quarter. It was just making sure that, offensively, everyone was on the same page in creating the looks that we wanted.”
Although the Bearcats clawed their way back into the match, they were unable to extend their season. The Catamounts scored the game-winning goal with eight seconds remaining in the game, eliminating Binghamton from the AE playoffs. Despite the outcome, BU had controlled the match in the final quarter, winning six of nine draw controls and converting on all four of its shots on goal.
The Bearcats came into the season picked to finish last in the AE preseason coaches’ poll. However, the team was seeded third in the postseason and lost to the conference champions Vermont.
“I just thought everyone really dialed in and connected in those final eight minutes to put us in a position to potentially win the game,” Allen said.