CORTLAND, N.Y. – The nationally fourth-ranked Cortland men's lacrosse team closed the game with a 9-2 second-half run and defeated seventh-ranked Middlebury, 16-8, Sunday afternoon in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse tournament. With the win, the Red Dragons improved to 18-2, matching a school record for victories in a season, and will face the Gettysburg Bullets in the national championship game, Sunday, May 24, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Gettysburg defeated Stevenson, 12-7, in the other semifinal game on Sunday. This is the fourth straight trip to the finals for Cortland and the third overall for Gettysburg, which last played for the national title in 2002.
Junior Brian Krol (Niskayuna) led Cortland with three goals and an assist, and senior Joey Morgan (Putnam Valley) and freshman Mike Tota (Webster/Webster Schroeder) each found the back of the net three times. Sophomore Chris DeLuca (Sayville) had two goals and two assists, junior Brandon Misiaszek (New Hartford) recorded two goals and an assist and sophomore Jay DiStefano (Huntington/Harborfields) contributed a goal and two assists. Freshmen Zack Mulvaney (Deferiet/Carthage) and Greg Wright (Irondequoit) collected one goal apiece.
Senior goalie Matt Hipenbecker( Mountain Lakes, NJ) made eight saves in 52 minutes, 26 seconds before giving way to senior Mike Robinson (Alexandria, VA/Thomas Edison), who stopped one shot over the final 7:34. Junior Tom Burke (Massapequa) recorded six ground balls.
Senior Skyler Hopkins (Easton, MD/McDonogh School) scored three times to pace the Panther offense. Seniors Matt Ferrer (Darien, CT/Brunswick) and Tom Petty (Newburyport, MA/Phillips Exeter (NH)) each notched a pair of goals. Senior Mike Stone (Boston, MA/Wellesley) scored once, and junior Pete Smith (Wilton, CT) contributed a game-high four assists. Senior goalie Pete Britt (Summit, NJ) made 10 saves in the game.
Cortland grabbed a 5-2 lead after 15 minutes of play. Misiaszek gave the Red Dragons a 1-0 lead at 12:49, followed by Deluca's unassisted goal at 10:46. Hopkins cut the lead in half 42 seconds later with an unassisted goal. Krol netted a man-up goal but Petty pulled the Panthers to within 3-2 off Smith's first assist of the game at 3:25. DeLuca answered with his second of the quarter at 2:22 and Tota ripped a shot into the upper corner with just two seconds left in the first.
Morgan and DiStefano pushed the Red Dragons' lead to 7-2 with goals at 7:06 and 1:14, respectively, in the second quarter, but Brown scored an important goal for Middlebury (15-3) 20 seconds before the half to make it a 7-3 game.
The Panthers made a run at Cortland, notching the first three goals of the third quarter, two from Hopkins and one from Ferrer, to get to within 7-6 at the midway point. The Panthers were in position to tie the game after a one-minute cross-checking penalty on Cortland at 7:28. The Red Dragons, however, successfully killed off the man-up chance, getting a big ground ball from sophomore close defender Justin Schneidman (Katonah/John Jay). The possession then led to a break for Cortland and a goal by Tota, which started the 9-2 run that put the game out of reach.
Krol and Tota scored 77 seconds apart and Cortland led 10-6 before Petty cut the lead to three with his second of the game at 48 seconds. Morgan, however, gave the momentum right back to the Red Dragons when he scored off a pass from DeLuca three seconds before the end of the quarter and Cortland led 11-7.
Morgan, Misiaszek and Krol pumped in goals less than five minutes into the fourth quarter and Cortland's lead had ballooned to 14-7. At 8:12, Wright tallied a man-up goal, and Mulvaney upped the advantage to 16-7 just 31 seconds later off a DeLuca feed. Ferrer finished the scoring with his second of the game on Smith's fourth assist at 5:49. Cortland played ball control in the closing minutes to seal the 16-8 win.
Cortland State vs. Middlebury
|Chris Deluca||(2, 2)|
|Brian Krol||(3, 1)|
|Brandon Misiaszek||(2, 1)|
|Joey Morgan||(3, 0)|
|Mike Tota||(3, 0)|
|Jay Distefano||(1, 2)|
|Eric Parah||(0, 1)|
|Greg Wright||(1, 0)|
|Zack Mulvaney||(1, 0)|
|Cody Hoyt||(0, 1)|