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Bearcats finish marathon with tie

VESTAL, N.Y. - Senior Sophie Sylla scored the tying goal in the 75th minute to give Binghamton womens soccer (4-2-1) a 1-1 double overtime draw with visiting Marist (2-3-2) Sunday afternoon from the Bearcats Sports Complex.

Trailing 1-0 in the second half, sophomore midfielder Rebeca Raber sent a lofted ball into the box, where a racing Sylla beat a defender and the onrushing Red Foxes keeper to the bouncing ball. Her header rolled into the bottom right corner of the open net to even the score. It was Syllas first goal of the season with Raber notching her team-high third assist of 2013.

It was a courageous play by Sophie, head coach Sarah McClellan said of the near-collision and flick-header. We thought with our speed and the way their keeper was strong off her line, if we could react quickly enough we could beat her to the ball. It was a great tying goal.

The teams battled through 110 minutes of entertaining, physical soccer in a game that featured 37 shots. Marist was whistled for 15 fouls and had three yellow cards issued.

Binghamton pressed for the winner in the closing seconds of the second overtime, using two corner kicks to create a flurry in front of the Red Foxes crease. Marist keeper Andrea Wicks deflected a strong shot from freshman Michele Galvin over the bar and then Wicks tipped Rabers ensuing corner kick just as it seemed destined for a Bearcats header. Earlier in the first overtime, BU had another good chance when Sylla fed sophomore Katherine Corcoran inside the box on the right. Corcorans quick centering pass found Galvin open on the left. But Galvins shot toward the open corner was blocked by a defender and Rabers follow-up shot was smothered by Wicks. 

Marist scored its goal just 59 seconds into the second half when senior midfielder Samantha Panzner struck a ball into the lower left corner from 14 yards out.

Im really proud of our team, McClellan said. We continued to fight and to come back from behind and our work rate and communication were excellent today. Thats a huge learning experience for us and it shows the power of hard work, sticking together and believing. Ordinarily we arent happy with a tie but to come from behind for a tie is positive and we can build on this. Both teams were running the whole 120 yards, back and fourth, and it was a physical game and also a high mental game in terms of staying focused.

Junior Gaby Gold played the second half and both overtime periods and made four saves. Golds diving stop of a hard shot with 55 seconds left in regulation preserved the tie. Earlier she made another diving save after a quick Marist restart created a dangerous scoring threat from 12 yards. Senior Carrie Martin started the game and recorded five saves in the first half.
Binghamtons back line held strong amid numerous direct attacks. Junior center back Connie Gormley and senior linemate Liz Cusato drew praise from McClellan.

Connie really held it together back there, McClellan said. She did a lot of covering and organziation. I also thought Liz did great job. She knows game very well and it was important to have experience back there against a team and has a lot of talent going forward. Our defense handled the pressure pretty well.

Midway through the first half, Cusato cleared a ball off her own goal line after a Marist corner kick was headed toward the goal.
The Bearcats begin a stretch of five-out-of-six road games with an away contest at Cornell on Wednesday.

Both teams know each other pretty well, McClellan said of BUs geographically-closest Division I rival. Each team has a lot of newcomers and is young ... still trying to find its rhythm. I expect it to be another high-paced energetic game.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

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