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Lady Bearcats suffer first loss in 2OT

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VESTAL, N.Y. - Visiting Fairfield (2-2) made good on its only shot of 17 minutes of overtime and pinned a 2-1 loss on Binghamton women's soccer (3-1-1) Friday night at the Bearcats Sports Complex. The loss, BU's first of the fall, snapped a four-game unbeaten streak. 

The double-overtime game was broadcast on ESPN3 and featured a brilliant goal by redshirt junior forward Kayla Saager before the Stags tied the game late and netted the winner with 2:59 left in the final extra period.

Binghamton shook off a sluggish first half and started to build its attack in the second period. From the 46th minute on, BU held a 16-6 shots advantage with a 6-0 margin in corners. 

Just two minutes into the second half, Saager collected a loose ball with her back to the goal at least 38 yards out. She spun around a defender and drilled a left-footer into the top corner from 35 yards out - an electric goal and her third of the young season.

With the Bearcats clinging to a 1-0 lead late in regulation, Fairfield broke down the left wing and at the endline, sent a rolling cross into the middle. The ball eluded a BU defender and a Stags striker tapped it in from six yards out for the equalizer with just 11:16 remaining.

In the first OT, BU mounted a consistent attack with four corner kicks and several quality chances. Junior midfielder Patty Loonie had a volley from 10 yards out that was saved and Loonie directed another shot that the Stags keeper tipped over the bar. 

Saager had a good luck midway through the second overtime, taking a pass from freshman Essie Bonney and sending a volley just wide to the near post. But after a BU attack, Fairfield countered down the right side and converted another cross in traffic directly in front of goal. 

"We talked about putting in a complete performance, which didn't happen initially," head coach Neel Bhattacharjee said. "In the first 45 minutes, Fairfield was the more physical team and they beat us to first and second balls. We had a new spirit coming out after halftime and that translated into a special goal from Kayla (Saager). But we got caught in transition defensively on their first goal and it was another transitional moment that ended up being the game-winner. We created a good amount of quality chances so it's there for us to finish ... we just have to put it away at the end. I'm proud of the team's effort after halftime. Had we played like that for the entire 90 minutes and overtime, it could've been a different result tonight."

Saager, who entered the game ranked fifth in the nation in assists (4), boosted her league-leading points total to 10.

Senior keeper Katie Hatziyianis made six saves.

Binghamton held a 19-12 shots advantage.

The Bearcats begin the first of seven straight away games with a Sunday tilt at Iona. 

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)