The Cortland Red Dragons captured the DIII National Championship by topping the Gettysburg Bullets, 9-7.
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. - Junior Brandon Misiaszek (New Hartford) scored a career-high five goals and was named the Most Outstanding Player as the nationally fourth-ranked Cortland men's lacrosse team won its second NCAA Division III title since 2006 with a 9-7 victory over fifth-ranked Gettysburg College at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Red Dragons finished 2009 at 19-2, setting a school record for wins in a season, and handed third-year head coach Steve Beville his 200th career victory. The Bullets had their 14-game winning streak snapped and finished 16-4.
Junior Brian Krol (Niskayuna) was the only other Cortland player to score more than one goal, netting two in the game. Senior Joey Morgan (Putnam Valley) and freshman Mike Tota (Webster/Webster Schroeder) each recorded a goal and an assist. Tota finished the season with 49 goals, just one short of becoming the seventh player in school history to score 50 in a season. Junior Tom Burke (Massapequa), sophomore Chris DeLuca (Sayville) and freshman Greg Wright (Irondequoit) chipped in with one assist apiece. Burke added a game-high seven ground balls, while DeLuca won 9-of-14 faceoffs. Senior goalie Matt Hipenbecker (Mountain Lakes, NJ) recorded 10 saves, including seven in the fourth quarter.
Senior Zach Pucci (Ridewood, NJ) and junior Kyle McGrath (Randolph, NJ) led Gettysburg with two goals each. Junior Joe Brody (Bethesda, MD/Walter Johnson) had a goal and two assists, senior Tom O'Donnell (Montgomeryville, PA/La Salle College) registered a goal and an assist and junior Josh Reichert (Englewood, CO/Kent School) scored once. Senior Tommy Kehoe (Coraopolis, PA/Sewickley Academy) and sophomore Danno Lynch (Medfield, MA/Avon Old Farms (CT)) contributed one assist apiece. Senior Zach Furshman (Miami, FL/Kent School (CT)) stopped 12 shots in goal.
The Bullets opened up a 4-2 lead after the first quarter as the Red Dragons turned the ball over four times and were outshot, 12-7. Reichert gave Gettysburg a 1-0 lead at 13 minutes, 24 seconds before Misiaszek tied the game with his first of the day at 12:18. McGrath then netted back-to-back goals for the Bullets for a 3-1 lead, but Krol came back with his 40th goal of the season just nine seconds later after a Cortland faceoff win. Pucci closed the scoring in the first off Brody's assist at 3:24.
After that, the Cortland defense took over the game, holding the Bullets without a goal in the second and third quarters as the scoreless drought spanned a total of 38:03. During that time, The Red Dragons were able to tie the game at the half as Tota and Misiaszek each scored. In the third quarter, Cortland pushed its lead to 9-4 as it outscored Gettysburg, 5-0, making it a 7-0 run. Misiaszek scored the first two goals of the third, followed by Morgan's 31st goal of the season and Krol's man-up goal at 3:56. Misiaszek's biggest goal of the game came as the clock was winding down in the third. He possessed the ball behind the cage, made a move on the right side and deposited a shot past Furshman into the upper corner with two seconds on the clock.
Regarding Misiaszek, Beville said, "He played outstanding. There's a reason why he was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the game today because his performance was just that. It's been like that all year for us -- pick your poison."
The Bullets refused to quit, however, and cut the lead to 9-5 on O'Donnell's goal at 10:21, Gettysburg's first score since the first quarter. After the score, the Red Dragons worked the clock in an attempt to shorten the game and retained the four-goal cushion inside the five-minute mark. The Bullets cut the gap to 9-6 at 4:09 when Lynch assisted Pucci's score at 4:09 and forced a turnover inside a minute. That led to a fast break and a Brody goal at 27 seconds to make it a 9-7 game. Gettysburg won the ensuing faceoff but didn't have a good look and Cortland closed out the game for its second national championship in four years.
Misiaszek's success came from taking advantage of his situation on the field. "I was going hard all game," he said. "Then they didn't switch the pole to me and I felt I could take the shorty and I did."
For Hipenbecker, his 10 saves in the title game capped an outstanding run for him in the NCAA playoffs as he registered 40 saves and allowed 31 goals. After the rough first quarter, the defense clamped down and turned the momentum of the game. "We stepped it up (in the second quarter). We started talking and causing turnovers. When you know when the first, second and third slide is going to be, you can go push out and be aggressive."
|Brandon Misiaszek||(5, 0)|
|Brian Krol||(2, 0)|
|Mike Tota||(1, 1)|
|Joey Morgan||(1, 1)|
|Greg Wright||(0, 1)|
|Chris Deluca||(0, 1)|
|Tom Burke||(0, 1)|
|Matt Hipenbecker||10 (0.588)|