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Senior Mary DeWitte, seen here in a game earlier this season against Buffalo, scored the Bearcats' first goal in a 2-0 victory over UMBC on Oct. 23.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Bearcats defeat UMBC to clinch playoff spot
October 24, 2011Tweet
Binghamton women’s soccer rolled to its second straight decisive shutout, 2-0 over UMBC, and then waited anxiously before celebrating the program’s seventh postseason berth in the last eight years. The Bearcats clinched the No. 5 seed after Albany edged Stony Brook 2-1 on the road later on Oct. 23. Binghamton (6-9-1, 3-4-1 AE) finished in a three-way tie with Vermont and New Hampshire for fourth place and will face fourth-seeded UNH in a quarterfinal matchup Oct. 27, in Durham, N.H.
“It’s always tough to play under the type of pressure we had to play under,” head coach Sarah McClellan said. “Needing to get back-to-back wins late in the season to get in the playoffs is very hard. But our team really held its composure and put two great games together. We deserve to be in the postseason and I’m thankful we are. We are looking forward to playing after narrowly missing out last year. This is right where we want to be.”
At the Bearcats Sports Complex on Senior Day, Binghamton scored twice in the first half to build a cushion. Senior midfielder Mary DeWitte netted the opener with 22:10 remaining in the first half when she met a through ball from classmate AnnMarie Rizzi and beat the UMBC keeper from 18 yards out. DeWitte began the play by fending off two Retrievers defenders and pushing a ball to Rizzi on the left wing. Rizzi completed the give-and-go by chipping a ball behind the defense where DeWitte met it and struck a clean shot past the rushing keeper.
With 4:30 left in the half, sophomore midfielder Conor O’Brien netted her second goal in as many games. In the game for less than three minutes, O’Brien made her presence felt immediately by ripping a 17-yard shot past the keeper from the middle of the field. O’Brien started the play near midfield when she touched a ball to freshman midfielder Emily Nuss, who chipped a through ball to DeWitte up the middle. DeWitte’s right-footed shot was blocked by a defender and the ball rolled toward the left, where a fast-charging O’Brien slotted it into the lower netting. O’Brien had played in just six games all season before netting a key goal in Binghamton’s 3-0 win Thursday night - scoring less than one minute after entering the game. On Sunday, she took three minutes with another opportunistic play.
Sophomore keeper Carrie Martin kept the score 2-0 at the half when she made two saves in the final minute. Martin charged out to intercept a dangerous cross inside the box with 50 seconds remaining. The rebound squirted to UMBC forward Amy Savage, whose rocket volley from eight yards was stopped by Martin at close range.
In the second half, the Bearcats had two other glorious chances - a breakaway by junior forward Candice Rowland that was smothered by the UMBC keeper in the 51st minute - and a shot by senior midfielder Taylor Kucharski that caromed off the far post in the 55th minute. UMBC’s best chance came in the 62nd minute when a cross from wide right grazed the cross bar and skimmed away to the left side of the goalmouth.
Martin wound up with two saves for her sixth solo shutout of the season. She lowered her goals against average to 0.77.
“I’m proud of the way we played today,” McClellan said. “We came out and took care of business and I thought our seniors played a strong game.”
Before the game, Binghamton’s four seniors were honored for their four-year contributions to the program. Playing their last home game were Jennifer Abbate, Mary DeWitte, Taylor Kucharski and AnnMarie Rizzi. The four have combined to log 221 career games and have been instrumental in building a program that encompasses athletics success, academic achievement and community service.