Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton women’s lacrosse team sprinted out to an 8-0 lead early in the first half and never looked back en route to a 17-7 win over visiting Niagara, Thursday afternoon at the Bearcats Sports Complex. A stingy Bearcat defense held the Purple Eagles (2-2) scoreless during the games’ first 17 minutes allowing Binghamton (3-1) to open the wide margin.
“I thought we responded to the defeat Saturday (at Lafayette) really well,” head coach Stephanie Allen said. “We wanted to take control of the game early and for the most part we did that. We battled hard for every ball and fought for 60 minutes which is something we preach every day. Our offense focused on moving the ball today and we did a good job of locating the gaps in their defense.”
The Bearcats continued its best start in program history thanks to a balanced and efficient offense. Nine different Binghamton players tallied goals led by freshman Bri Arthur. The first-year player from Watertown, N.Y. continued her torrid start to the season netting a game-high four goals. Arthur now has a team-best 14 goals on the year, which ranks fourth in the America East.
Binghamton jumped all over Niagara thanks to winning the contest’s first seven draw controls. The Bearcats’ advantage in the draw circle propelled them to a 6-0 lead with nine minutes barely elapsing off the game clock. Arthur highlighted the hot start, completing her third career hat trick with 21:47 left in the first half.
The Bearcats continued to press the Purple Eagle defense netting a pair of goals over the next eight minutes resulting in a Niagara goalie change. Sophomore Sophia Racciatti scored her seventh goal of the season after handing out assists on each of Binghamton’s first three goals. An Arthur free position goal concluded the 8-0 run to start the game for the Bearcats, who were never threatened in the contest.
Niagara finally got on the board scoring two quick goals with just over 11 minutes left in the half. That would be as close as the visitors would get however, as freshman Samantha Karner’s first-career goal handed Binghamton a 10-3 lead at the break.
Binghamton registered the first three goals of the second half to open a 10-goal advantage, 13-3. Senior Angela Vespa and junior Renee Kiviat each netted their second goals of the game during the spurt. Niagara was only able to trim the deficit under 10 once which resulted in a running clock for most of the second half including the final 18:13.
The Bearcats recorded nine assists against the Purple Eagles, the most in a game since a 2011 meeting with Niagara when Binghamton tallied 10 assists on 20 goals. Four different Bearcats recorded at least one assist led by Racciatti’s and junior Alex Fisher’s three. Racciatti had a game and career high five points (2g, 3a) against Niagara.
Vespa finished the game with two goals and two assists while Kiviat netted a pair of goals while dishing out an assist. Fisher added a goal to her three helpers.
Sophomore Erin McNulty had another solid day in net recording four saves and allowing just four goals in 45 minutes of work. The second-year starter improved to 3-1 on the season and eclipsed her 2013 win total.
Binghamton continues its three-game homestand when the Bearcats welcome St. Bonaventure to the Bearcats Sports Complex for the first time since 2009 on Saturday, March 8. Binghamton concludes its homestand against Cornell on Wednesday, March 12.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)