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Bearcats cruise to season opening win

VESTAL, N.Y.  Sophomore Sophie Racciatti and freshman Bri Arthur each netted a game-high five goals to power the Binghamton womens lacrosse team past Howard, 20-6, Saturday afternoon at the Bearcats Sports Complex. The Bearcats (1-0), who won its first season-opener in program history, tied the school record for goals in a game with 20.

We are certainly excited about the direction our program is going, head coach Stephanie Allen. Its a good feeling to start the season off 1-0 and it provides us with momentum heading into Tuesdays game (at Lehigh). This is another step in the right direction, but I think this victory is something that gives us a lot of confidence.
Eight different players registered a goal for the Bearcats in their first-ever meeting with Howard (0-3). Senior Angela Vespa helped ignite the Binghamton offense scoring three of her four goals in the first half. The Bearcats more than doubled the shot production of Howard (35-13) creating extra opportunities from the 22 Bison turnovers.

Binghamton controlled the game from the start, opening the contest on a 3-0 run as the trio of Arthur, Racciatti and Vespa each tallied a goal. Howard answered with its first goal of the game to trim the deficit to, 3-1, at the 25:54 mark. However, that was as close as the Bison would get as the Bearcats embarked on another 3-0 spurt to forge ahead 6-1. Binghamton closed the half on a 4-0 run sparked by a pair of goals from Arthur to take an 11-3 lead into the break.

After the two teams traded goals to open the second half, a 4-0 Binghamton run ensued. Vespa found Racciatti cutting through the Howard defense for the man-up goal following a yellow card on the visitors to begin the spurt. Freshman Valerie DeNapoli scored her first career goal during the run while classmate Liz Hoeffner notched her second of the day.

Binghamton would tack on four more scores over the final 12 minutes, three coming from Racciatti who set a new career-high in goals. Freshman Callon Williams aided the Bearcats offensive effort with a very active day defensively causing five turnovers and grabbing seven ground balls. The Orangville, Ontario native also picked up three draw controls and scored her first collegiate goal.
Sophomore goalie Erin McNulty picked up the win for Binghamton as she split time with junior Kara Pafumi and freshman Shannon Knapp. McNulty made four saves in net for the Bearcats.

Binghamton was a perfect 15-for-15 in the clear game and converted six of its 12 free position attempts. The Bearcats doubled-up the Bison in ground balls picking up 22 compared to Howards 11.

Howard was led by senior Courtland Lackey and junior Michaela Jupiter, who each scored two goals for the Bison.

The Bearcats, who averaged almost nine goals per game in 2013, scored 20 goals in a game for the first time since 2011 (Niagara). Binghamton also tallied 20-goal efforts against Wagner in 2008 and St. Francis (Pa.) in 2006.

Binghamton has a quick three-days off before heading to Lehigh on Tuesday, February 25 for a 3:30 p.m. meeting with the Mountain Hawks. Last year, Lehigh edged Binghamton 11-10 in double-overtime.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

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