CORTLAND, N.Y. - Cortland captured the 2018 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) men's lacrosse title with a 22-12 win over second seeded Plattsburgh. The Red Dragons took back the title after the Cardinals won it last year.
Cortland improved to 12-6 on the season and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Div. III playoffs. The Cardinals had a six-game winning streak snapped and finished the season at 7-9.
The Red Dragons jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first quarter and didn't look back after that. The team's 22 goals are the most-ever scored in a conference championship game, surpassing the previous mark set in 2005 when the Red Dragons defeated Geneseo, 20-8.
Tournament MVP Devin Phelps paced Cortland's offense scoring a game high seven points on two goals and five assists. The Red Dragons had contributions all around. Senior Thomas McNaney tallied four goals and two assists, and junior Terrence Haggerty also netted four goals with one assist. Seniors Nate Beresovoy, Eddie Eddington, junior Joey Panariello and sophomore Danny Caroussos also had a solid offensive game notching two goals for a piece.
Senior goalie Joe Scalise had 8 saves to secure the win for the Red Dragons.
Senior Ryan Hubbard lead the Plattsburgh offense with five goals, and senior Billy Moller netted three goals. Sophomore Kevin Litchauer and freshman Connor Wolff each recorded one goal and one assist, and junior R.J. Ehli and sophomore Kevin Murphy scored one goal apiece.
Cortland built its 5-0 lead just 5:44 into the opening quarter as McNaney scored twice and Phelps recorded two assists. Plattsburgh made it a 5-2 game before McNaney's third goal put Cortland ahead, 6-2, after the first quarter. The Red Dragons quickly increased their lead to 9-2 5:02 into the second quarter with goals from Beresovoy, Phelps and McNaney. Goals from Moller and Hubbard cut Cortland's lead to 9-4, but Riley Scored at 3:34 and Phelps found the back of the net nine seconds before the half to make it an 11-4 game.
Haggerty opened the third quarter with back-to-back goals before Moller scored, and Cortland led, 13-5. The Red Dragons responded with five consecutive goals, including two man-up scores from Haggerty, to take a commanding 18-5 lead at the 5:42 mark. Hubbard and Moreno then traded goals to close the third quarter with Cortland ahead, 19-6. The Cardinals netted five goals in a row from five different players to make it a 19-11 game, but the Red Dragons scored three of the game's last four goals for the 22-12 final.
The SUNYAC Elite 20, an award modeled after the NCAA ELITE 90 program, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. This year's men's lacrosse winner is Plattsburgh's Nick Della Ratta.
2018 SUNYAC Men's Lacrosse All-Tournament
Dallas Meyers, Brockport
Bobby Emerson, Oswego
Travis Maurro, Plattsburgh
Billy Moller, Plattsburgh
Kyle Smith, Plattsburgh
Thomas McNaney, Cortland
Dean Riley, Cortland
Trevor Pratt, Cortland
Terrence Haggerty, Cortland
Ethan Parks, Cortland
MVP – Devin Phelps, Cortland