May 13, 2009

Cortland Ekes Past WNEC into Final Four

from press release

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Senior Joey Morgan (Putnam Valley) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with seven minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the nationally fourth-ranked Cortland men's lacrosse team held on for an exciting 6-5 win versus ninth-ranked Western New England College Wednesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The last time Cortland won a game when scoring six or fewer goals was a 6-5 decision over Ithaca in 1995. The Red Dragons improved to 17-2 with the win and host Middlebury College, a 13-5 winner versus Wesleyan, in the national semifinals on Sunday, May 17 at a time to be determined. The Golden Bears' season ended at 17-3.

Sophomore Chris DeLuca (Sayville) led the Cortland offense with two goals. DeLuca also won 6-of-10 faceoffs in the game. Joining Morgan with one goal each were senior Cody Hoyt (Babylon) and freshmen Jack Kennedy (Camillus/West Genesee) and Mike Tota (Webster/Webster Schroeder). Sophomore Jay DiStefano (Huntington/Harborfields) and freshman Greg Wright (Irondequoit) each collected one assist.

Senior goalie Matt Hipenbecker (Mountain Lakes, NJ) stopped a career-best 14 shots. Sophomore defender Justin Schneidman (Katonah/John Jay) recorded a game-high six ground balls for the Red Dragons.

For Golden Bears, senior Brody Savoie (Wilbraham, MA) scored a game-high three goals. Junior Tim Santye (Skillman, NJ) and sophomore Marty O'Brien (West Springfield, MA) netted one goal apiece, while senior Scott Kukis (Sudbury, MA) and sophomore Colin Houlihan (Yorktown Heights) each chipped in with an assist. Freshman goalie Brewster Knowlton (Somers, CT) registered 17 saves.

The game remained scoreless for nearly the entire first quarter until DeLuca netted an unassisted goal at the 2:55 mark. DiStefano then assisted on Tota's goal right in front at 45 seconds and the Red Dragons carried a 2-0 lead into the second quarter. DeLuca tallied his second of the game just 21 seconds in, and Hoyt, a long-stick midfielder, netted his second of the season off Wright's feed at 9:57. Cortland pushed the lead to 5-0 when Kennedy, another long pole, successfully completed a clear, ran in alone and tucked a shot inside the left post. Savoie finally put the Bears on the scoreboard at 1:06, but Cortland held a 5-1 lead at intermission.

Savoie continued to lead Western New England's comeback with the only two goals of the third quarter on two outstanding individual efforts. At 13:18 of the fourth, Santye buried a man-up goal and the Bears were within 5-4. Just 37 seconds later, Western New England knotted the game at 5 as Kukis set up O'Brien's score.

With quality scoring chances at a premium, Morgan scored the game-winner on the left side of the cage after making a strong one-on-one move and just beating his defender on the corner. Morgan's goal ended a 25:15 scoring drought for Cortland. As the clock ticked down, the Red Dragons attempted to maintain possession and eat up the clock, forcing the Bears to double with Knowlton. The aggressive defense eventually led to three penalties on Western New England in the closing minutes. But, down two men, the Bears forced a turnover inside of 30 seconds and successfully cleared the ball. Savoie ended up with the ball in his stick but his shot in front was denied by Hipenbecker. The Red Dragons then tossed a long pass down the field and ran off the final 11 seconds to secure the win.

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