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.
Cortland State vs. Middlebury