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Saager again lifts Bearcats to victory

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ALBANY, N.Y. - Redshirt junior forward Kayla Saager scored the game-winning goal 2:26 into the second overtime to lift Binghamton women's soccer (7-2-3, 1-1 America East) to a 1-0 road win over two-time defending conference champion Albany (3-8, 1-1 AE) Thursday night at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.

Saager, who entered the game ranked sixth in the nation in points, took a long pass from sophomore back Sam O'Malley on the right midfield and dribbled into the box. She then cut back to avert a Danes' defender and drilled a right-footed shot to the far corner to end it. It was her conference-best ninth goal of the season and third game-winner. 

The result felt right for the Bearcats, who peppered Albany's back line with 18 shots and 10 corner kicks, only to see a regulation goal elude them. The second half, in particular, was one-sided. Binghamton had 11 shots, nine corner kicks and numerous near misses.

Meanwhile, senior keeper Katie Hatziyianis was kept relatively relaxed. She made six saves and notched her fourth shutout of the season. 

"This was a total team effort with many strong individual performances," head coach Neel Bhattacharjee said. "The first half was an even affair and then I loved our attitude in the second half and how we just kept going after it. Our spacing and starting positions were very good and allowed us to keep possession higher up the field and limit defensive breakdowns. To get a deserved victory like this on the road against an outstanding opponent is a big statement. We will savor this win for a brief moment and then turn our attention to a talented Vermont team. It will be nice to finally be home in front of our fans again." 

After a month-long road stretch in which BU went 4-1-2, the Bearcats finally return home on Sunday to host the Catamounts at 1 p.m. 

With the win, BU surpassed its win total from last season (6) ... the team has now played five overtime games in its last nine ... The Bearcats have posted shutouts in five of their last seven games.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)