VESTAL, N.Y. – Senior forward Sara Hourihan (Lynnfield, Mass.) scored twice and junior forward Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) added her second tally in as many games to lead the University of New Hampshire women’s soccer team past Binghamton University, 3-2, Sunday afternoon in its 2008 America East opener at the Bearcat Sports Complex.
The 2-7-1 Wildcats chose a perfect time to get back in the win column, going to 1-0-0 in America East play. The Bearcats fall to 4-4-1 overall, including 0-1-0 in the conference.
With 11:35 remaining in regulation and the game tied at two, UNH took advantage of Binghamton’s failure to clear the ball out of its zone. Sophomore midfielder Amy Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) tracked down the loose ball and fed Kaplan, who eluded charging Bearcats goalkeeper Jen McEachron and tapped the ball by her for the 3-2 lead and the eventual game-winner.
UNH struck first just 3:38 into the contest when Kaplan and freshman midfielder Stephanie Gilkenson (Cranston, R.I.) set up Hourihan’s fourth goal of the year. Gilkenson took a feed from Kaplan and sent a quick touch pass to Hourihan, who snuck the ball under McEachron from 15 yards out.
Less than 10 minutes later, Hourihan stretched the UNH lead to two with her fifth of the year. Gilkenson picked up her career-high second assist of the day when her through ball set up a breakaway that Hourihan capitalized on when her low shot beat McEachron and found the back of the net.
The Wildcats maintained their 2-0 lead into the break, but Binghamton stormed back in the 52nd minute. Stefani Knopick matched Hourihan with two goals of her own in a span of 5:38 to tie the game. Knopick’s first came with her back to the goal when she took a pass from Amanda Casares and used her head to flick the ball over the top of UNH goalkeeper Nikki Golding (Milton, Mass.). Knopick’s second was another header that came off a corner kick from Dani Raske.
Despite outcornering the Wildcats, 9-1, and outshooting them, 15-11, Binghamton could not breakthrough on Golding and the UNH defense the rest of the way. Golding finished with five saves, while McEachron stopped four shots for the Bearcats.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Oct. 2 at 3:30 p.m. when they play host to StonyBrookUniversity at Lewis Fields.