January 29, 2008


Plenty of preseason respect for Dragons


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Coach Joe Brown’s SUNY Cortland baseball team is ranked No. 1 in one preseason poll.

The SUNY Cortland baseball and men’s lacrosse teams have high expectations heading into their respective upcoming seasons.
The release of preseason polls in both sports shows others agree with that Red Dragon optimism.
Coach Joe Brown’s baseball team is ranked first nationally in Division III in the inaugural preseason national poll. The Red Dragons are also ranked second nationally in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Division III preseason poll. Cortland finished 42-7 last season and placed fourth at the NCAA Division III World Series. The Red Dragons have made eight World Series appearances, all since 1995, and their stretch of 15 consecutive NCAA Division III tournament berths is the longest active streak nationally.
Second year head coach Steve Beville’s lacrosse team, a runner-up in last year’s NCAA Division III tournament after the Red Dragons won the national title under interim coach Rich Barnes in 2006, is ranked in the top three nationally in two preseason polls. The Red Dragons are ranked second by Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off Yearbook and third by Lacrosse Magazine.
Defending champion Salisbury University is ranked first in both polls.
- Cortland opens the baseball season on Friday, Feb. 22, at North Carolina Wesleyan College. Cortland’s schedule also includes eight games in Arizona from March 9-16, including two contests each versus ranked teams Wheaton College (Mass.) and The College of New Jersey and one versus Johns Hopkins University (Md.), which is also ranked.
Cortland’s first home games are a scheduled doubleheader versus SUNY Athletic Conference foe Brockport on Saturday, March 29.
Cortland is followed in the poll by Chapman (Calif.), defending national champion Kean (N.J.), Wooster (Ohio) and Emory (Ga.) in the top five. Wooster sits atop the Collegiate Baseball poll, followed by Cortland, Kean, Chapman and Emory.
- The Cortland lacrosse team finished 15-6 last year, including three road victories in the NCAA playoffs before falling to Salisbury 15-9 in the title game in Baltimore.
Coach Beville’s squad will open the season on Saturday, March 1, at Stevens Tech of New Jersey — one of eight preseason top-20 foes on the Red Dragons’ schedule. Cortland’s home opener is Saturday, March 8, versus St. Lawrence at 1 p.m.
CORTLAND WOMEN are still ranked 22nd in this week’s Division III national basketball poll, the Red Dragons in action this evening at Geneseo in a 6 p.m. tipoff. The Red Dragons are 13-1 and riding a six-game win streak.
Four New York State schools are ranked ahead of the Red Dragons, with Rochester leading the way in 10th place. Rochester beat Cortland in the second round of last year’s NCAA Division III tournament. Medaille is ranked 14th, William Smith 16th and NYU 21st.
Cortland men have won eight of their last nine games — that lone loss on the road to nationally ranked Plattsburgh — and will also play at Geneseo tonight.
Both Cortland teams will be home this weekend, starting with a Friday Corey Gymnasium hosting of Morrisville. Oswego is in town for a Saturday twin bill. The women get things underway on both nights at 6 p.m.
- The Cortland men’s hockey team is also surging heading into a late season bid to secure a SUNYAC playoff spot. The Red Dragons are 6-1-1 over their last eight outings and gave first place Plattsburgh a scare before losing 3-2 this past Saturday night.
The Red Dragons host Brockport Friday and Geneseo Saturday, both games at 7 p.m.




Red Lion spikers capture 12th win

The Cincinnatus Central volleyball team improved to 12-2 on the season Monday with a 25-14, 25-22, 25-7 non-league win over visiting Fabius-Pompey.
In other non-leaguers involving area Central Counties league teams, DeRuyter lost to Faith Heritage for the second time in five days, this time on the road by scores of 25-21, 25-23, 25-22, and McGraw fell to visiting Harpursville 25-22, 25-15, 25-22.
In a non-league girls’ basketball game, LaFayette beat visiting Cincinnatus 41-27.
Cincinnatus 3, Fabius-Pompey 0: “This was a good match for us,” Red lions coach Macy Cobb said. “We started strong and didn’t really have too much of a low point. There was a string of serves during the second game that gave us some trouble, but we adjusted our formation and were able to get right back into the game. They served strongly, but we were able to pass it and create some offense.
“Kortni Wright served tough for us, going 19-for-19 with four aces, and also led the offense with 13 assists and 10 digs,” she added. “Dusty Fisk was also tough from the line with five aces, while Deanna Frink and JaLynne Smith were tough at the net with five kills each and Jolene Eaton had four kills. Jonelle Eccleston covered the court well, adding six digs.”
Cincy hosts Living Word Academy Thursday and then closes out the season with a home match against Stockbridge Valley on Friday. A win in Friday’s match would give the Red Lions a share of the CCL championship, along with DeRuyter, at 7-1.
Faith Heritage 3, DeRuyter 0: The Rockets dropped another close contest to the Saints to close out their regular season at 10-5.
“We were right there, but just didn’t finish,” coach Gary Burdick said. “We got a little behind in the first game, pulled back into it but lost at the end. The other two games were back and forth, and we also lost them at the end.
“Faith Heritage has a strong defense; they keep the ball up, and they were hitting better this time,” he said,  referring to the previous meeting between the two schools last Thursday. “They have girls who can hit the ball, and they pass pretty well. They’re a good team, no doubt. I still have a lot of confidence in this team and think we’ll do really well in sectionals. If we see Faith Heritage again in sectionals, there’s no reason we can’t beat them. The teams are that close.”
The sectional seeding meeting will take place on Sunday.




Ithaca Stars skate to shutout victories

Local players played a big part in the success the Ithaca Shooting Stars 16-Under girls’ hockey team had over the weekend in blanking Troy-Albany 16-Under 1-0 and the Perinton Edge 19-Under II squad 3-0.
Homer’s Annabelle Jones made 10 saves in recording the shutout against Troy-Albany, while Janesa Corning from Cortland scored the only goal. Cornish and Jones each scored once against Perinton.
The Shooting Stars’ 14-Under team lost to the Camillus Cougars 2-0 and Skaneateles 2-1. Marissa Ramos from Dryden scored the goal against Skaneateles, while Alison Pace from Cortland was in goal for that game and stopped 19 shots.
The Barden Building Solutions-Action Auto team spilt a pair of weekend games, losing to visiting Center State 3-0 on Saturday and beating host Valley 3-2 on Sunday.
Ryan Gabriel made 32 saves in the Cortland nets on Saturday. Dakota Strout had a goal and an assist while Nickolos Swartz and Nicholas Troup scored one goal each against Valley on Sunday and Gabriel turned aside 33 shots.