Geneseo Nips Cortland In Huge SUNYAC Battle

Geneseo Nips Cortland In Huge SUNYAC Battle

Geneseo Nips Cortland In Huge SUNYAC Battle

Geneseo Nips Cortland In Huge SUNYAC Battle

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Sophomore Mike Pizzuto (Amherst) scored three goals, including the game-winner with 5:35 remaining in the fourth quarter, to lead the nationally seventh-ranked Geneseo men’s lacrosse team to a 9-8 victory over fourth-ranked Cortland Wednesday afternoon. With the win, the Knights improved to 10-1 on the season and 5-0 in the SUNYAC. Geneseo can clinch the regular-season title with a win versus Oneonta Saturday.

The Red Dragons suffered their first regular-season SUNYAC loss since falling to Geneseo, 12-11, in 1982, a span of 75 games. Cortland is now 11-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference but has still clinched a conference playoff berth. Cortland would win the regular-season title with a win over Plattsburgh combined with a Geneseo loss to Oneonta. Senior Mike Abbott (Syracuse/Nottingham) led the Cortland offense with three goals. Sophomore Ryan Heath (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) added a goal and three assists, senior Kyle Lambert (Brentwood) collected two goals and senior Matt O’Connell (Camillus/West Genesee) had one goal and one assist. Lambert has 150 career goals and needs five more to become Cortland’s career leader.

Senior Ben Gaebel (Deferiet/Carthage) made 11 saves in 58:41 before giving way to freshman Michael Robinson (Alexandria, VA/Thomas Edison), who did not stop a shot in the final 1:19. Besides Pizzuto, sophomore Joe Malach (Henrietta/Rush-Henrietta) scored twice, senior Pat Riehlman (Skaneateles) contributed one goal and two assists and junior Colin Ireland (West Islip) and senior Brian Orlowski (Hauppauge) each recorded one goal and one assist for the Knights. Junior goalie Tim Garback (Syracuse/Henninger) registered 12 saves. The Red Dragons opened up a 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter on goals from Abbott, Lambert and O’Connell.

Rielman and Ireland notched Geneseo’s goals. The Knights built an 8-6 halftime lead after a run-and-gun, unsettled second quarter. Geneseo outshot Cortland, 15-8, in the quarter and won 7-of-10 faceoffs. Malach tallied both of his scores, Pizzuto scored twice and Riehlman recorded both of his assists as the Knights outscored Cortland, 6-3.

In the third quarter, the play settled down as each team played for long possessions. The Red Dragons were unsuccessful on three man-up opportunities and outshot the Knights 12-1, but Garback turned aside four shots and the scored remained 8-6 heading into the final 15 minutes. Cortland, which did convert 3-of-8 man-up chances in the game, pulled to within 8-7 with nine minutes remaining on Ryan Simensky’s (Locust Valley) unassisted man-advantage goal. Forty-two seconds later, Abbott scored his third off the game with a shot to the upper left corner from the left side to tie the score at 8-8. Cortland gained possession with less than six minutes remaining but turned the ball over in the box, leading to a Geneseo transition. Orlowski fed Pizzuto, who bounced a sharp-angled shot from the left side past Gaebel for a 9-8 lead.

The Knights won the ensuing faceoff and kept possession until a turnover at the 1:40 mark. Cortland quickly lost possession, but 12 seconds later, the Knights were called for a 30-second push giving Cortland possession and the man-up advantage. The Red Dragons turned the ball over with 49 seconds without getting off a shot but were given life when the Knights threw the ball away with 33 seconds remaining. As Cortland attempted to clear the ball, Geneseo senior Jack Ryerson (Rochester/Brighton) stick checked the ball away from a Cortland player, which gave the ball to the Knights. Geneseo then ran out the clock to seal the win.

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