Immediate Release: April 17, 2004
Contact: David Berman (email@example.com)
Bearcats clinch spot in America East Championship with fifth straight win
Binghamton tops Quinnipiac 13-9 to earn first-ever postseason berth
VESTAL, N.Y.--In just its third season of varsity competition, Binghamton (6-4, 4-0 America East) has secured a berth in the four-team America East Championship after a 13-9 victory over visiting Quinnipiac (1-9, 0-3 AE) on Saturday afternoon at the East Gym Complex. The Bearcats won their fifth straight game and maintained their hold on first place atop the conference standings. With two conference games still remaining, the Bearcats are positioned to compete for home-field advantage in the tournament. Semifinal games will be played on May 5 and the championship game is on May 8. The higher seed is the host in all matchups.
"We are very pleased to clinch a spot in the conference tournament," head coach Ed Stephenson said. "At the beginning of the season we made this our goal and it is nice to have achieved that. We realized once the season started, however, that our guys wanted more, and we are focused on taking the next step. We have tough non-conference games remaining in addition to two conference games and we will continue to take things one game at a time."
The Bearcats scored the game's first four goals and maintained no less than a three-goal margin over the final three quarters. Binghamton stretched its lead to as many as seven goals early in the fourth quarter before settling on the final margin. The key to the game was BU's ability to take advantage of man-up opportunities. Quinnipiac was whistled for eight penalties and Binghamton responded by converting 5-of-8 extra-man chances, including 4-of-5 in the second half. On the other end, the Bearcats nationally-ranked man-down defense held the Bobcats without a goal in all three of their extra-man chances. The game was out of reach by the time the Bobcats began to click offensively in the fourth quarter. Quinnipiac scored four of the game's final five goals in the last 7:30 of the contest.
"We didn't like the way we finished the game today," Stephenson said. "We didn't play that well in the second half but our team responded exactly how we would have expected them to. The guys weren't satisfied with the way they ended the game. That is a sign of maturity, and it is encouraging to see the team respond that way."
Sophomore attack Brian Chaapel (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) led Binghamton with a game-high four goals, while sophomore midfielder Matt DeCirce (Binghamton, N.Y.), freshman attack Nate Kerstein (Rochester, N.Y./Irondequoit) and freshman midfielder Jeff Santucci (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse) scored two goals apiece. Freshman attack Rob Williams (Fulton, N.Y.) dished out three assists and sophomore attack Phil Cavallo (Cedarhurst, N.Y./Lawrence) added a pair of helpers.
Senior attack Andy Pelletier and sophomore midfielder Mike Stottler each netted three goals for Quinnipiac, while sophomore midfielder Josh Murray added two assists.
Binghamton established control of the game in the first half and never looked back. The Bearcats outshot Quinnipiac 20-14 in the first two quarters and seized 6-of-9 faceoffs in the opening half. For the game, BU outshot their visitors 34-29 and held a 32-23 edge in ground balls.
Sophomore goalie Kevin McKeown (Brewster, N.Y.) went the distance in net and made 12 saves. James Nastro made eight saves in goal for Quinnipiac.
The Bearcats will step out of conference for their next game, against Siena on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The game will be the second game of a lacrosse doubleheader that begins at 3 p.m. with the women's lacrosse game against St. Francis (Pa.). Binghamton defeated Siena 9-5 last season.
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