Middlebury Nips Cortland For Finals Berth

Middlebury Nips Cortland For Finals Berth

Middlebury Nips Cortland For Finals Berth

Middlebury Nips Cortland For Finals Berth

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Senior Mike Frissora (Sudbury, MA/Belmont Hills) scored an unassisted goal 1:29 into the second overtime as fifth-ranked and three-time defending national champion Middlebury defeated third-ranked Cortland, 9-8, in an NCAA Division III tournament semifinal thriller Sunday afternoon at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. Middlebury (17-1) improved to 19-3 all-time in tournament play and advances to its fifth straight final, while the Red Dragons had their school-record 16-game winning streak snapped and finish the season at 17-3.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at the 11:34 mark of the first quarter when sophomore Dave Leach (New Canaan, CT) set up the first of four goals by junior Charley Howe (Darien, CT). Cortland responded with a string of four goals, two to close out the first quarter and the first two of the second stanza, to build a 4-1 lead. Four different players found the back of the net for Cortland in the stretch.

Senior Craig Degnan (Rockville Centre/South Side) took a feed from sophomore Mike Bryant (Hamburg/Frontier Central) and tied the score at 1-1. Junior Drew Hyatt (Jamesville/Jamesville DeWitt) followed with an unassisted score with 1:16 left in the opening quarter to give Cortland a 2-1 lead. Fifty seconds into the second quarter, sophomore Adam Hughes (North Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse) extended Cortland's lead to 3-1, then senior Derek Elvin (Orchard Park) made it 4-1 in favor of the Red Dragons, the largest lead either team would have in the game.

Middlebury junior Mike Saraceni (North Syracuse/Phillips Exeter, NH) scored a man-up goal at the 5:38 mark of the second quarter to cut Cortland's lead to 4-2. The Panthers took momentum into halftime after Howe netted an unassisted goal with just eight seconds remaining to make it a 4-3 game.

The second half featured five two-goal runs by the teams. Middlebury tallied the first two goals early in the third quarter just 22 seconds apart to gain a 5-4 lead. Frissora netted an unassisted goal at 12:36 and Howe assisted on Saraceni's second goal of the game at 12:14. Cortland responded with goals from freshman Kyle Lambert (Brentwood) and junior Andrew Roth (Ridgewood, NJ/Don Bosco Prep) to reclaim the lead, 6-5. Howe then scored a pair of unassisted goals for Middlebury before Hughes closed out the scoring in the third quarter off an assist from sophomore Jack Popper (Merrick/Bellmore JFK) to make it 7-7.

Roth gave Cortland an 8-7 lead at the 12:11 mark of the fourth quarter, but freshman Jonathan Sisto (Duxbury, MA) scored the equalizer for the Panthers five minutes later to set the stage for overtime. Cortland had the best chance in the first four-minute stanza. Roth fed Lambert from behind the cage, but Lambert's close-range shot sailed over the crossbar. In the second overtime, the teams traded possessions until Frissora controlled the ball at the right side of the cage. He cut to the inside and ripped a shot from 10 yards out that found the upper corner for the game winner.

Senior Steve Feltmann (Long Valley, NJ/West Morris Central) made five saves for the Red Dragons, while junior Eric Krieger (Old Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) stopped 17 shots for the Panthers.

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Hell of a game
    by (#10000) on 5/19/03 @12:11AM
It's a great day to be a panther! Bring it this weekend fellas.
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This game doesn't really matter
    by (#40548) on 5/19/03 @3:22AM
No one really cares who won this game cause da Bury is going to put a hurtin on anyone that plays against them.
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SU by at least 8
    by (#53132) on 5/19/03 @9:03AM
This game will not be close. The gulls have too much. As much as I would like to see Middlebury win. They got no shot.
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    by (#53259) on 5/19/03 @3:54PM
Elvin choked.
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    by (#24884) on 5/19/03 @8:15PM
Cortland should have won, but ELVIN blew it. Beats D man blows the shot!!! Wow Elvin could have been the Hero but now he is the GOAT. Live with forever #1!!! Coach Rogerrz also shows no class by stating "he can't say the better team won". Coach, enjoy Sundays game from the cheap seats at Ravens Stadium and try again next year with the rest of you cocky SUNYAC CHUMPS !!!
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