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Geneseo and Cortland to face off in 2019 SUNYAC Championship match

Geneseo and Cortland to face off in 2019 SUNYAC Championship match

Information in this story comes courtesy of the Geneseo and Cortland Sports Information Departments

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Following their semifinals victories, Geneseo and Cortland will vie for the 2019 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) men's lacrosse in the championship match. Both teams fought tightly contested battles, with top-seeded Cortland winning against fourth seed Oswego 13-10 at home, while in Plattsburgh, the third seed Knights managed to outlast a persistent second seed Cardinals team thanks to a game-winning goal with seconds remaining.

CORTLAND vs OSWEGO - Senior Terrence Haggerty scored five goals, including four in the second half, and added an assist to lead the Cortland men's lacrosse team victory. Senior Joey Panariello was the only other Cortland player with multiple goals, finishing with two goals and one assist. Seniors Dean Riley  and Alex Waelder and freshmen Dante Yacavone and Troy Morris each tallied one goal and one assist, and junior Brian Williams and sophomore Brandon Stiles netted one goal apiece.

Freshman goalie Marc Esposito set a career-high with 16 saves for the Red Dragons. Williams won 13 faceoffs, collected nine ground balls and caused two turnovers. Waelder added two caused turnovers, and freshman Dominick Natale secured five ground balls.

Junior Dan Doolan led Oswego with three goals. Junior Tim Schof  tallied a team-high five points on two goals and three assists, while senior Bobby Emerson and freshman Weston Gray each scored twice and junior Kyle Bacon added one goal and two assists.

Sophomore goalie Kevin O'Donnell turned aside 18 shots for the Lakers. Senior Kyle O'Connor won 13 faceoffs and scooped up six ground balls. Senior Mark McElroy collected four ground balls and caused two turnovers.

The Lakers jumped out to a 4-0 lead late into the first quarter as Doolan and Schof each scored twice. Morris made it a 4-1 game entering the second quarter with his goal at the 2:14 mark. After Emerson put Oswego ahead 5-1 at 13:11, the Red Dragons ended the half with four consecutive goals from four different players to tie the game at 5-5.

Stiles gave Cortland its first lead of the game 36 seconds into the third quarter, but Doolan and Gray scored to put Oswego back on top, 7-6, at the 9:01 mark. The Red Dragons responded with three straight goals, two from Haggerty and one from Williams, to grab a 9-7 advantage after 45 minutes of play.

After Panariello pushed the lead to 10-7, goals from Gray and Bacon cut the Cortland lead to 10-9 with 6:55 to play. Haggerty then gave the Red Dragons a three-goal cushion with back-to-back goals before Emerson cut the Cortland lead to 12-10 with 3:29 on the clock. The Lakers won the ensuing faceoff, but Cortland forced a turnover and ran the shot clock down to zero after missing the cage four times. 

Oswego worked a good clear, which led to a shot by Doolan that Esposito denied with 1:38 to play. The Red Dragons successfully cleared the ball, and Riley sealed the win with an empty net goal with 23.7 seconds remaining as Oswego doubled the ball in an attempt to gain possession. 

GENESEO at PLATTSBURGH - First-year midfielder Tommy DeVito won the opening face-off and bolted down the field to stuff a shot into the Cardinal net 12 seconds into the game.

Plattsburgh responded with two goals for a 2-1 lead with 10:28 on the clock, but the Knights finished the quarter with a 4-0 burst for a 5-2 lead after 15 minutes of play. Senior midfielder Jack Centore found sophomore attackman James Pratt on the left post for a score at 9:12 before first-year midfielder Jake Steffen tallied on a 10-yard shot from the right wing at 7:51. Sophomore attackman Connor Griffin found himself open on top of the Cardinal crease and scored off a pass from first-year attackman Kevin Cook at 5:41 before Pratt got loose for a 12-yard shot from the right wing at 4:07. 

Plattsburgh scored the first four goals of the second quarter to build a 6-5 edge with 4:18 on the clock. Geneseo stopped the run after Fallo got open on the backside of a play in transition and scored inside the left post off a pass from sophomore midfielder Cameron Chiodo with 2:53 on the clock as the teams hit halftime tied, 6-6. 

Geneseo scored the first goal of the third quarter after Pratt came up with a loose ball behind the Plattsburgh cage and hit Fallo in front for a seven-yard finish at 8:45, before Plattsburgh made the Knights pay for a slashing penalty with a man-up tally at 5:28. 

The Knights answered with a man-up goal of their own after forcing a turnover at midfield during a Plattsburgh clearing attempt that resulted in Steffen finishing an odd-man rush from close range off a Pratt feed with 2:09 left in the third quarter. 

Griffin started the fourth quarter with consecutive man-up goals on two separate Plattsburgh holding penalties to build a 10-7 lead. Griffin took a feed down low from Steffan and spun around for a five-yard bouncer with 9:05 on the clock before grabbing a rebound out of the air on a deflected Pratt shot for a short finish with 8:40 remaining. 

The Cardinals responded with three goals in less than a three minutes span. Plattsburgh scored on a delayed penalty at the 6:00 mark and again in transition at 4:26 before knotting the game, 10-10, with 3:03 left in regulation.

Plattsburgh took possession after a Geneseo shot-clock violation with under a minute remaining and called timeout with 21.8 seconds on the clock. However, the Cardinals turned the ball over on the re-start after having too many men in their offensive zone. Geneseo quickly cleared the ball down the right wing where Cook got the ball outside the right post and crossed a feed to Fallo for a short-range quick-stick that sealed the game.

What's next: The Red Dragons will host Geneseo in Cortland for the championship match Saturday, May 4 with faceoff scheduled at 1:00 p.m. The team that emerges victorious in the SUNYAC Championship receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.