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Bearcats down SeaWolves for first time since 2012

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VESTAL, N.Y. - Junior midfielder Patty Loonie scored the game's lone goal in the 24th minute and Binghamton women's soccer (9-3-3, 3-2 America East) took a big step toward securing a postseason berth with a 1-0 win over visiting Stony Brook (7-8, 3-2 AE) Thursday night at the Bearcats Sports Complex. The victory, BU's third in the last four, snapped a 12-game winless streak against the Seawolves and moved BU into a third-place tie with Stony Brook with three regular-season games remaining.

Binghamton controlled possession for most of the first half and outshot the Seawolves 12-3. Loonie notched her second goal of the season by being in perfect position to bang home a rebound. After a BU corner kick, redshirt junior forward Kayla Saager struck a left-footed ball to the far post which banked off the post and down to Loonie, who struck it clean from six yards. The assist was Saager's conference-best sixth of the season.

Meanwhile, BU's back line limited the opportunities and when they presented themselves, freshman keeper Mackenzie Hanna was ready. Hanna, making her second start in place of injured captain Katie Hatziyianis, made three saves to record her second straight shutout. She preserved BU's 1-0 halftime lead with a diving save with four minutes left in the opening half and then corralled a dangerous ball in the final 15 seconds of the period.

In the second half, Stony Brook stepped up its pressure but Binghamton's back line was up to the challenge. In a frenzied final six minutes the visitors took four shots and had three corners. 

Binghamton's defense has registered back-to-back shutouts and has held its opponent off the board in seven of the last 10 games.

"We knew this game was going to be big and it feels great," head coach Neel Bhattacharjee said. "We really did a good job in the first half ... the second half was more choppy and we had to defend more. It took every little bit on the defensive side to get the shutout. I couldn't be any more pleased and proud of this team."     

The Bearcats next head to UMass Lowell for a Sunday afternoon game.

The last time Binghamton beat Stony Brook was a 3-0 win in the 2005 season. The Bearcats had been 0-9-3 head-to-head since that win ... Saager is the first Bearcat in 10 years to reach the six assist mark. She entered the game ranked 12th in the nation in points ... New Hampshire (5-1, 15 pts.) is the conference leader, followed by Hartford (3-2-1, 10 pts.) and then Binghamton and Stony Brook each with a 3-2 mark and 9 pts. Vermont, Albany and UMass Lowell are right in the mix with seven points apiece. The top six teams advance to the America East tournament, which starts on Oct. 26.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)