Oneonta State vs. Cortland State
April 27, 2002
The Game Story:
Five unanswered goals by Cortland proved to be the difference today as they defeated host Oneonta State 10-6 to claim the SUNYAC regular season title for the third straight year. Cortland scored six of the final seven goals of the game to overcome a 5-4 deficit in the final two quarters en route to the victory. Cortland, the #4 team in Div. III, is now 13-2 overall and finishes their conference schedule at 7-0 while Oneonta drops to 11-3 overall and completes their SUNYAC schedule 5-2. Cortland will now be the top seed for the conference tournament that begins this Wednesday with two semifinal games at the higher seed with the championship game next Saturday, May 4 at the highest remaining seed.

The game certainly played as billed between two tpo 20 teams as neither squad could gain an edge during the first and second quarters. Oneonta State scored the games first goal at 5:07 of the first quarter when junior Brian Balash (Auburn, NY/Auburn) scored off an assist from senior Matt Puerta (Hicksville, NY/Hicksville). Cortland came back to tie the score less than three minutes later when junior Derek Elvin (Orchard Park, NYOrchard Park) scored unassisted at 2:51. A late goal by junior Dan Bakke (Floral Park, NY/Floral Park) gave the hosts a 2-1 lead at the end of the opening quarter of play.

The two teams exchanged goals during the first seven minutes of the second quarter with Oneonta still holding on to a 3-2 lead. The visitors took their first lead of the game on a pair of goals 17 seconds apart in the final minute on goals by sophomore Andrew Roth (Ridgewood, NJ/Don Bosco Prep) and freshman Adam Hughes (N. Syracuse, NY/Cicero-N. Syracuse). The lead for Cortland was short lived as senior Mika Massari (Shoreham, NY/Centereach) tallied with seven seconds left to tie the game at 4-4 at halftime. After a goal by Balsh to give Oneonta a 5-4 lead early in the third quarter, Cortland took control of the game with four unanswered goals to closeout the quarter with an 8-5 lead that wouldn^t be challenged. Roth scored back-to-back goals including one extra man tally during the final seven minutes to lead the run.

The visitors closed the game with two of the three goals in the final quarter for the victory including Hughes^ second of the game. Junior goalie Steve Feltmann (Long Valley, NJ/West Morris Central) stopped 12 shots in recording the win for Cortland. Oneonta will now await the action of this weekend to determine whether they will be the third or second seed and host a semifinal game on Wednesday. Cortland will host the fourth seed on Wednesday and, if victorious, will host the championship game next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.