Cortland Captures First Title, Sinking Salisbury in OT, 13-12

Cortland Captures First Title, Sinking Salisbury in OT, 13-12

Cortland Captures First Title, Sinking Salisbury in OT, 13-12

Cortland Captures First Title, Sinking Salisbury in OT, 13-12

With 2.2 seconds left in overtime, Mike Felice tucked a goal under Max Zarchin, giving Cortland their first Division III title. The Dragons and Gulls exchanged goals all afternoon, but Cortland was able to keep pace and eventually pull out the W.

Cortland ends Salisbury's 69-game win streak. Salisbury plays the bridesmaid for the first time in four years. This is the first playoff loss for their seniors. From not having a coach a few months before the season started to Division III champs, this has been quite a year for Cortland.

Cortland asserted themselves early in the game. They took the opening face, and soon after drew first blood. Moving the ball well, Felice kicked a pass from behind to Ryan Simensky sitting on the crease for the goal. Salisbury looked uncharacteristically sloppy early, botching passes and getting beat, yet they still pressed Cortland hard. The Gulls a suffered huge blow when Mike Hurley went down with a knee injury early in the first. After the game, Hurley was unsure of the extent of the injury, but said a torn ACL or PCL was possible.

Cortland couldn’t enjoy their lead too long. Salisbury’s Matt Dasinger got the ball on a clear, carried down the field, and ripped a shot past Cortland goalie Ben Gaebel. Cortland jumped back on top when Felice got a pass from Adam Hyde. Felice attacked the post, and his defenseman got hung up sliding across the crease, allowing Felice to tuck the ball in under Zarchin.

The goal swapping continued as Salisbury exploited the sloppy substituting of Cortland, trapping them in a six on five. Moving the ball to the open man, Jimmy Creighton found Dasinger who finished. But Cortland scored 11 seconds later. Mike Abbott won the face, and the Dragons pressed a shot. Zarchin made the save, but on the ensuing clear miscommunication by Salisbury led to Kyle Lambert grabbing the loose ball and feeding Brian Atkins for the quickstick goal. Salisbury would end the quarter with another tie as Creighton worked on a D middie, stepped off, and hit a cutting Ryan Rohde for the finish.

Salisbury opened up the next quarter with a penalty. As time on Cortland’s EMO ran out, crisp passing left Matt O’Connell feeding Felice for the low score. Salisbury tallied when Kylor Berkman passed to Creighton sitting all alone off the crease. No one slid, and Creighton threw a few fakes and flicked it past Gaebel. Salisbury grabbed their first lead when Berkman drove hard from behind and then bounced a pass across the crease that found Edwards waiting to slap it in. The lead would grow to two off an EMO goal by Creighton from Berkman again.

Cortland did not look shaken though. Abbott caught a pass from Ryan Simensky, got the inside step on his defender, dropped his stick and ripped a shot under the crossbar. They tied again as the Dragons worked behind the goal, lulling the Gulls away from the crease. Finally Felice hit Ryan Heath sitting alone on the crease for the finish. Salisbury would get the last word of the half, 20 seconds later. Eric Bishop passed from the point to Dan Boyer, who pops a shot over Gaebel, ending the half with Salisbury up 7-6.

Salisbury’s Chase Caruso drew a slashing penalty about 3:30 into the third. On the ensuing EMO, Abbott found Ryan Simensky for the low-to-high ripper. Cortland’s defense began to get sloppy in the third. Problems with defensive substitutions, lazy slides, and failures to pick guys up led to some easy goals for Salisbury.

“We tried to get our defensive personnel on as much as possible,” Cortland coach Rich Barnes explained. “More than once we made some bad decisions. That’s a coaching mistake.”

Luis Gonzalez carried the ball down on a clear, entered the box, and waltz right in for the goal. Great faceoff play from Cortland gave them an easy goal. Josh Cittadino won the face and intitiated a textbook four-on-three break. The play ended with Lambert hitting Heath for the goal. But Salisbury jumped ahead as Gonzalez scored again, almost exactly like his first.

Another faceoff fastbreak led to another goal for Cortland. This time Lambert was on the finishing end of a Heath feed. The Dragons got their first lead of the half at 10-9 when Heath waited behind. When no one challenged him, he wrapped around and put a shot over Zarchin with almost no angle. Gonzalez answered with his third straight goal off a feed from J.B. Sheridan.

The flurry of third quarter goals continued as Brett Yoder found Rohde on the crease. Rohde spun out of a barrage of checks, reset, and fired past Gaebel. Heath added his fourth of the day as he cut from the top and was fed from behind by Kyle Simensky.

The tit-for-tat scoring that occurred the first three quarters was not there in the fourth. Tied at 11, the lack of goals left no lack of tension. Gaebel made some huge stops for Cortland, eating up long-range shots and rebounds. Salisbury grabbed the lead, exploiting Cortland’s poor substitutions again. The Gulls worked it around the horn, ending with Rohde finding an open Eric Bishop coming around the post for the score.

Salisbury held strong, with Zarchin also making a few good stops. Time was running out for Cortland. With 57 seconds left, Ryan Simensky drove from up top, looking to find a cutter or a shot. Getting tied up on a good check, Simensky began to fall to the ground and threw the ball at the crease just to try to make something happen. The ball floated, and both Zarchin and one of his defensemen could not follow its awkwardly slow flight. It landed in the net, tying the game at 12. Gaebel made one more huge stop for the Dragons as Berkman ripped a shot from 10 yards, but the big boy was able to deflect it, sending the game to overtime.

Cortland tried to end the game off the opening OT faceoff. Cittadino popped the ball out, pushed the fastbreak, but this time the Dragons made one pass too many and missed the bad angle shot. Gaebel kept his team in it, making two more tough saves, one on an outside shot and the next on its rebound. Gonzalez got a great look from 10 yards, but ripped his shot wide. Dasinger could have ended it as his man slipped, and he got a wide-open look, but his shot rattled the crossbar.

Cortland was finally about to get the ball down field to Felice. Feeling he had the edge, Felice drove on his man, got the inside step near the crease, and popped in a shot under Zarchin as he was getting pushed/falling into the crease with two seconds left.

“I knew that I needed to get a shot off or it was going into a second overtime, and we didn’t want to give them that chance,” Felice said after the game. “I was fortunate to beat my man and just shot it to the bottom corner.”

The goal stood and Cortland won their first DIII Men’s Lacrosse Championship 13-12, beating this legendary Salisbury squad.

Felice may have earned Most Outstanding Player, but the game really belonged to Gaebel. His 18 saves, some at crucial points, kept his team in this game. Though he may not have a physique cut of stone, he was a wall when he had to be.

“If there is anyone I couldn’t be happier for it’s Benny,” Barnes said after the game. “He had a season that was a coach’s dream.”

Though they lost, Salisbury’s senior class still boasts some impressive feats: 80-2 career, four championship game appearances, and three consecutive titles.

“I want to celebrate the seniors today and celebrate the success of Salisbury lacrosse,” Gulls’ coach Jim Berkman said. “We made a few mistakes, but we have no regrets, and we left it on the field today.”

The story of this season has been an interesting one for Cortland. After coach Leelan Rodgers left the school to take a post as director of lacrosse operations at Syracuse in the fall, Rich Barnes half-reluctantly stepped in as interim head coach. Behind strong senior leadership, the team rallied around Barnes.

“I really asked the seniors to step-up, and I put it on their shoulders to change things…this was their team,” Barnes said after the game. “We’ve come a long way.”

Despite his success, Barnes is keeping his headcoaching job just interim. “I kind of new this was going to be my one and only chance,” he said. “One and done.”

Future plans aside, Cortland can enjoy the win. From excitement to tension to elation, this was a game for the ages, an unexpected ending to an extraordinary Cortland season.

“Right now I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Barnes said. “How many guys can get a job for a year and win a national championship, and beat a team that’s won 69-games in a row.”

Post A Comment To This Story >

    by (#97931) on 5/28/06 @5:41PM
This was the best game i have ever seen. Both teams played amazing and it was a back and forth game ALL day. I was rooting for salisbury, but cortland wanted it alot more. GREAT GAME
Reply to this

   Bad Game by 5/30/06 @8:23AM
Whadya know?
    by (#76067) on 5/28/06 @5:46PM
I have always liked Salisbury but its nice to see someone else win it. This is Salisbury's only loss right? Also, does anybody know if this game will be on later this week, I really wanted to watch it and couldn't.
Reply to this

Thats Great Congratulations
    by (#57798) on 5/28/06 @6:23PM
Great weekend for upsets. Will UMass pull another one?
Reply to this

   no by 5/28/06 @6:32PM
      Just us you imagination by 5/28/06 @6:40PM
      what the hell by 5/29/06 @8:14PM
         damn by 5/08/07 @7:03PM
you should of seen this coming...
    by (#131846) on 5/28/06 @6:59PM
the gulls were getting to much luck in overtime games and it finally cought up to them
Reply to this

happy days
    by (#127925) on 5/28/06 @8:12PM
im so happy Salsbury lost...they've been winning ever since the beginning of time...hopefully them losing the National Title will take a toll of the team for next season...but i doubt it...but u still have to look at this, as much as i hate Salsbury they still have streak intact and thats never losing a CAC game since 1993...thats a decade plus 3years so dont think Salsbury is just gonna settle for this...which i wish they would...overall fuck yea Salsbury lost
Reply to this

   Amazing!! by 5/28/06 @8:22PM
      C'mon by 5/28/06 @8:36PM
         your a joke by 5/28/06 @11:43PM
            Relax! by 5/29/06 @7:48AM
         your a joke by 5/28/06 @11:46PM
         u didnt think about ur comment by 5/29/06 @1:50PM
WOW Nobody saw this comeing
    by (#3709) on 5/28/06 @8:55PM
all have to say Holy Sh-t.

I do not where to watch it I would love to

but when I checked the site I was shocked to see this

That is great!
Reply to this

Yeah C State!!!!!
    by (#136455) on 5/28/06 @10:34PM
I was able to listen to the game via the internet broadcast because I don't get the CSTV channel. This is so exciting, I played for Coach Pounds from 94 to 97 at Cortland, only making the tourney my last year primarily because the NCAA only took 8 teams back then. If anyone know where we might be able to see a rebroadcast of this would be great. It sucks school is out, the Dark Horse, Woody's and Clayton Ave would be rocking tonight. Way to go Dragons.
Reply to this

Great win for northern bracket
    by (#48113) on 5/29/06 @12:17AM
Hopefully this shuts up all the people that were posting under the bracket article about how the northern bracket was a joke. Teams like Cortland,Wesleyan,RIT and Geneseo were getting no respect and everybody kept saying how the regional setup was bullshit. Also if I had to hear 'Gullsuntouchable' write one more post about 'another ship' I was going to light myself on fire.
With that said though I'd like to congratulate the Salisbury seniors for one hell of a run. They did what pretty much nobody else in any college sport in any division has ever done with that streak they had. Certainly nothing to be upset about.
Reply to this

no kidding
    by (#98340) on 5/29/06 @12:35AM
it was really ridiculous to hear that the north bracket was such a joke and that the noke/bury game was the real national championship...especially referring to cortland, which is a perennial powerhouse
Reply to this

Great Game!!!!!!!!
    by (#136465) on 5/29/06 @1:39AM
I was lucky enough to catch this game on CSTV and i have to say it was one of the best games i ever watched. You have to give it up to Cortland's goalie who had at least two saves (maybe three) in just overtime. The game was nuts! However, every time that Cortland had the ball on offense they made the most of it. That is what set this game apart. It seemed that Salisbury tried to work against what they do best and that is a run and gun, fast paced offense. They slowed it down too much and Cortland took advantage of that. I mean they played a great game but in many ways they did the opposite of what they have done all year. Salisbury is too fast to be stopped, but when they try to slow it down then their offense can be contained as was shown today.
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(no subject)
    by (#122101) on 5/29/06 @4:30AM
All I have to say is congrats Cortland, I'm glad someone knocked off Salisbury, but screw that fat f*%$ as a goalie. What an excuse for a keeper, he uses his fat as a way to take up the net and that's a joke, a lack of talent. It makes me sick. Once again, congratulations...I think Salisburys goalie is incredible and it's too bad that he had to lose to that slob, but so it goes.
Reply to this

   Yeah that's really big of you by 6/02/06 @5:39PM
   a trend...... by 6/03/06 @7:31AM
      Size shouldn't have anything to do with it. by 6/06/06 @11:53AM
CSTV camera crew
    by (#78222) on 5/29/06 @8:00AM
I have never shot a lacrosse game, but I've seen my share...this crew missed a lot of action. You don't keep the camera on the tubby goalie after he passes from the crease. We don't need coach shots, while they miss crucial plays. And the PIP of the sub box was stupid.
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(no subject)
    by (#8033) on 5/29/06 @11:43AM
as a gulls fan... i was extemely disappointed to see them loose this one.. congrats to cortland for knocking off an awesome team. i have a question about that overtime goal.. first of all it appeard to me that he was still shooting the ball as he was diving into the crease. i'm not sure if they changed the rule back and allow you to dive, but i was under the impression that diving was not allowed.. i was pretty drunk during this game so i easily could be mistaken..
Reply to this

   I think they called a push by 5/29/06 @12:33PM
    by (#133021) on 5/29/06 @1:14PM
As a fellow SUNY laxer, one who has every right to HATE these mofos, including the girls who made it to semis this year, i couldnt be happier.

Honestly to all those who lable lacrosse as a rich prep school kid sport i say YEAH PUBLIC SCHOOL!!!

Cortland had one hell of a year, and yeah even though our boys did beat them in regular season ;) they absolutly had no reason to think they couldnt go all the way.

cya next year cortland.
Reply to this

   GO CORTLAND!!! by 5/29/06 @10:21PM
      Steinfeld by 5/30/06 @3:12PM
    by (#107993) on 5/30/06 @6:58PM
i have attended the last three dIII championships because i am a huge salisbury fan. Watching the previous 2 championships and a regular season game this year against gettysburg I saw that sunday's team was a completly different salisbury. They started out flat and lost their best player (mike hurley)within the first 2 minutes of the game. Salisbury couldn't get very good shots because cortland's 260lb goalie plugged up they entire goal. The salisbury offense should have just shot at his feet because the goalie couldn't bend over. Cortland, however, had decent shot placement and were getting by a very flat salisbury goalie, Max Zarchin. It was a good game but salisbury had too many screw-ups and cortland forced the game into overtime. When salisbury was possesing the ball, they took a shot which hit off the post and 1 bad ref call later cortland had the ball and stuck it past zarchin. I'm not saying cortland didn't deserve to win this game, but if salisbury took cortland seriously and played like they have the entire season, this game would most likely have a different outcome.
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   what did i say by 5/31/06 @4:48PM
wrong choice for mvp
    by (#135619) on 5/31/06 @9:49PM
great game. DIII always seems to have most exciting championship game.
thought mvp should have gone to cortland's keeper. seemed like he always came up with the key saves
Reply to this

   goalie by 6/27/06 @12:07AM