May 3, 2014

Cortland Fends Off Plattsburgh for SUNYAC Crown

from press release

CORTLAND, N.Y. – The nationally eighth-ranked Cortland men's lacrosse team built an 11-6 lead late into the third quarter and held off a Plattsburgh rally to earn an 11-10 victory in the SUNYAC Finals Saturday afternoon at the Stadium Complex. The Red Dragons won their 10th consecutive game, improving to 15-3 on the season and clinched an automatic NCAA Div. III playoff berth for the 14th year in a row. The Cardinals fell to 13-6 with the setback.

Nine different players found the back of the net for Cortland, led by sophomore Zach Hopps (Akwesasne/Massena), who recorded three goals and one assist. Junior Mike Cantelli (Holmdel, NJ) had one goal and two assists, and senior Joe Slavik (Binghamton/Seton Catholic) and junior Matt Rakoczy (Clifton Park/Albany Academy) each contributed one goal and one assist. Juniors Matt Savlov (Liverpool), Benjamin Dunlavey (Elmira/Corning East), Patrick Brown (Camillus/West Genesee) and Luke McNaney (Marcellus) and freshman Nate Beresovoy (LaFayette) scored one goal apiece, while senior Fred Mase (Levittown/Division Avenue) chipped in with an assist.

Junior goalie Scott Tota (Webster/Webster Schroeder) registered nine saves and three ground balls to earn Tournament MVP honors. Sophomore Pat Baldwin (Alpharetta, GA) won 15-of-24 faceoffs and collected a game-high nine ground balls. Brown and Cantelli each scooped up four ground balls, and Brown also recorded three caused turnovers, while senior J.T. Foltz (Auburn) caused two turnovers.

Senior Robbie Ashlaw (North Syracuse/SUNY Potsdam) led Plattsburgh with five points on four goals and one assist. Seniors Tim Lawrence (Kings Park) and Anthony Pafundi (Islip Terrace/East Islip) each netted two goals with Lawrence also adding an assist. Sophomore Brendan Damm (Montauk/East Hampton) tallied one goal and one assist, senior Tom Duggan (Levittown/NYIT) scored once and juniors James Read (Miller Place) and Jack Felter (Binghamton/Broome C.C.) recorded one assist apiece.

Senior goalie Andrew Hauk (Sackets Harbor/Lycoming College) turned aside 14 shots for the Cardinals. Freshman Joe Eiseman (Farmingville/Sachem East) won 10 faceoffs, senior Courtney Cox (Grand Island) collected five ground balls, while Lawrence and senior Charlie Dullea (Brasher Falls/St. Lawrence Central) and junior Peter Johann (Montauk/East Hampton) each had four.

The game featured multiple momentum swings and goal runs. Cortland opened the game with the first four goals, grabbing a 3-0 lead after the first quarter as Hopps picked up a pair of goals. The Red Dragons made it 4-0 49 seconds into the second quarter as Hopps assisted Dunlavey's goal. Plattsburgh answered with a three-goal run in less than three minutes as Ashlaw scored twice and Lawrence netted a goal to make it a 4-3 game at the 10:47 mark. After Brown scored for Cortland at 3:42, Damm scored at 2:08 and Lawrence netted a man-up goal at 38 seconds to tie the game at 5-5. Rakoczy gave Cortland momentum heading into the half with his goal from the right side just nine seconds before intermission.

The Red Dragons seemingly took control of the game by scoring five of the first six goals in the third quarter for an 11-6 lead with 4:57 remaining. Five different players scored for Cortland. Pafundi netted his first goal of the game at 2:36 with the Cardinals a man up and the score was 11-7 heading into the final 15 minutes. In the fourth quarter, Plattsburgh out shot Cortland, 14-3, as the Cardinals kept cutting into the lead. Pafundi scored one minute into the quarter and Plattsburgh trailed 11-8. Ashlaw made it an 11-9 game with a man-up goal at 4:52, and Ashlaw struck again at 1:24 to bring the Cardinals within 11-10.

Baldwin won the ensuing faceoff and collected the ground ball. Cortland ran off more than 30 seconds before calling a timeout with 41 seconds on the clock. After the timeout, the Red Dragons were trapped on the sideline and threw the ball away with 24 seconds remaining. Plattsburgh controlled the ground ball, work a successful clear and called timeout with 16 seconds left. Coming out of the timeout, Damm possessed the ball on the right side of the cage, made a move toward the goal and fired a low shot that hit the outside of the goal mesh on the right side. Tota grabbed the loose ball and heaved a high pass down the field that ran off the remaining time as Cortland held on for the 11-10 victory.

Joining Tota on the All-Tournament Team were Rakoczy, Hopps, Foltz and senior Stephen Burke (Yorktown) of Cortland; Ashlaw, Cox and senior Frank Gargiulo (Smithtown/Hauppauge) of Plattsburgh; Brandon Hickey and Danny Stern of Oneonta; and Rob Kunz and Ryan Duffy of Potsdam.

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