March 10, 2016

Dragons have rally thwarted

LAXJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer graduate and RIT midfielder Alec Sovocool, left, checks SUNY Cortland’s Ryan Mahon, 18 in the fourth quarter Wednesday at the Carrier Dome.

Sports Editor

SYRACUSE — For the second consecutive outing, the SUNY Cortland men’s lacrosse team found itself tied up at 8-all in the fourth quarter of a non-conference contest.
And for the second consecutive outing, a nationally-ranked opponent was able to pull away in the late going to deny the Red Dragons an important early-season victory.
Third-ranked RIT played the role of the spoiler on Wednesday night inside Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, snapping that fourth quarter deadlock with three unanswered goals before completing a 12-9 victory that derailed a gritty Cortland comeback.
“This was a whole different game,” said Cortland head coach Steve Beville, not willing to compare the setback against RIT (3-0) to a similarly scored 13-9 road loss to 10th-ranked Nazareth College (3-0) just last Friday.
“RIT is really, really strong. The Canadian guys have incredible instincts on loose balls,” sad Beville, as RIT head coach Jake Coon has 15 players from north of the border on his roster. “They got us early and they got us late. I thought we completely controlled the middle of the game and dominated giants parts, including the faceoffs and a lot of ground balls in the middle of the field. And then we beat their defense down.”
Cortland — ranked No. 12 in Division III coming into the evening — falls to 1-2 on the season despite a dominating faceoff showing by Pat Baldwin. The senior won 11-of-13 first half faceoffs, the Red Dragons with a 17-7 edge at the finish.
Attackman Nate Beresovoy had two goals and an assist for Cortland, who also got two-goal outings from midfielders Cory Becker and Joey Panariello. Goalie Joe Scalise was also sharp, his 13 saves helping to negate a narrow 37-33 shot advantage by the Tigers out of Rochester.
“This was a good sign for us, battling out a game like this,” said RIT junior defensive midfielder Alec Sovocool, one of four Homer Central alums playing for former Trojans’ goalie Coon. “It’s not as good for us to just blow out a team and not have to work hard.”
Sovocool was part of a defensive effort that forced nine of Cortland’s 11 turnovers in the game, the Red Dragons with a bunch of early miscues that wasted the possessions obtained by faceoff man Baldwin.
Canadian attackman Ryan Lee had a three-goal hat trick for RIT, while countryman Braden Wallace scored twice including the crucial go-ahead fourth quarter tally. Sophomore Beau Riley, one of those Homer boys, picked up an assist on a first quarter Lee goal.
RIT GOT TO THE Red Dragons early, scoring the opening three goals started when Dan LoBosco swooped in to secure a ground ball off the opening faceoff to score 14 seconds into the game on a one-hopper. Cortland faced a 4-1 first quarter deficit that grew to 7-2 at one juncture of the second stanza.
The deficit arrived despite Baldwin’s efforts, as he won 11 straight faceoffs after that quick Tigers’ strike to open the game.
RIT then got to the Red Dragons late, after the game’s lone man-up goal scored by Red Dragons midfielder TJ deLyra in the opening minute of the fourth quarter knotted things up at 8-8.
Over the next four minutes, the Tigers posted three unanswered goals starting with Wallace finding the net with a hard shot from the right side. Chad Levick made it 10-8 with an unassisted goal before the junior delivered a nifty assist that found fellow attackman Kyle Sterzin alone in front with just over nine minutes left to play.
Though Panariello kept Cortland hopes alive with a goal with six minutes left, getting open in front before finishing off a deLyra feed, 12-10 was as close as the Red Dragons would get.
Lee concluded the evening’s scoring tucking away a rebound goal with 2:18 left. That seemed appropriate because it was the third time RIT pounced on a loose ball to score after a big Scalise save in goal — long-stick midfielder Matt Hossack and defensive midfielder JD Hall doing that on back-to-back second quarter occasions.
“Some junk, but we’ll take it,” said Coach Coon of those RIT tallies.
“That’s the game right there, those three rebound goals,” said Cortland’s Beville. “Our guys turn around to look while their guys are already pursuing the ball, so we’re that little second behind them on those plays. It makes all the difference in the world.”
CORTLAND LOOKS TO recover on Saturday in its home-opener, the Red Dragons to face their third consecutive ranked foe when Stevenson pays a 1 p.m. visit to the Stadium Complex. The 19th-ranked Mustangs from Maryland are 1-3 after suffering a 13-6 loss last night at the hands of No. 2 ranked and unbeaten Salisbury (6-0).
“We’re getting better. We’re definitely getting better,” said Beville, as the Red Dragons also got goals from Zach Hopps and Devin Phelps in the loss to RIT.
“This is a group with a lot of new guys, a low of new faces. I think if we improve at the rate we have been, we’re going to be a pretty good team. But we have to clean up some stuff.”
Having 6-foot-5 RIT goalie Jarryd Lee literally come up big with 14 saves also hurt the Red Dragons.
“He kind of fell into our laps, I guess,” said Coach Coon of how goalie Lee ended up in Rochester from Australia, currently competing with Nick Nesbitt to be the full-time Tigers crease protector. “The education at RIT is what he came for and he just happened to be a good goalie.”
The Aussie’s play was another reason why RIT’s Coon summed things up saying:
“I’m happy. A win’s a win, especially against a team like that.”
Cortland exited the premises encouraged, too.
“That’s why we schedule all these really good teams, to be better prepared for later in the year,” said Coach Beville. “Right now the big thing for us is to keep getting better, keep staying the course, stay together, stick together and keep our heads up. We’ll keep getting after it.”

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