April 29, 2009


Tourney time for Dragons


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland head coach Julie Lenhart talks things over with Emily Ringen this season, Lenhart’s Red Dragons the top-seeded hosts heading into Thursday’s six-team playoffs.

The quest for conference titles begins this afternoon for SUNY Cortland teams.
The SUNY Athletic Conference men’s lacrosse semifinals are slated for today, with the second-seeded Red Dragons playing host to third-seed Oswego at 4 p.m. at the Stadium Complex.
Cortland will be the host for the softball and baseball playoffs that get underway Thursday and Friday, respectively. The women’s lacrosse team is second seeded heading into the SUNYAC Final Four being held Friday and Saturday at Buffalo State.
The SUNY Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships are also this weekend, Cortland out for team titles on Friday and Saturday on SUNY Oneonta’s track.
Cortland’s internet radio website will cover select playoff games, starting with this afternoon’s Cortland-Oswego lacrosse game. Coverage today starts at 3:45 p.m., Bobby Comstock the play-by-play voice of the Red Dragons working with Sean Cassin.
Cortland’s 9 a.m. opening softball tournament game on Thursday and Cortland’s 3:30 opening baseball tournament game on Friday are also slated to be broadcast, with weekend coverage depending upon early round results. The SUNYAC baseball title game at noon Sunday will also be aired. The broadcasts of all contests will begin 15 minutes prior to the game’s starting time.
Here’s a look at the SUNYAC playoff picture —
MEN’S LACROSSE: Second-seed Cortland (13-2) will be hoping to get a second shot at regular season champion Geneseo in the finals, the Red Dragons having lost at Geneseo 8-6 back on April 8. Since that loss, Coach Steve Beville’s stickers have won six straight games and have climbed to seventh in the latest Division III national poll.
Three attackmen lead the Red Dragons in scoring, freshman Mike Tota (33 goals-13 assists), classmate Greg Wright (18-19) and junior Brian Krol (28-8). Senior Joey Morgan has 21 goals out of the Cortland midfield, while sophomore Chris DeLuca has 17 goals, 17 assists and has won 143 of the 201 faceoffs he has taken.
Goalie Matt Hipenbecker was named the SUNYAC Goalie of the Week, the senior especially sharp during an 11-save effort in a 13-4 win over 16th-ranked St. Lawrence a week ago.
Geneseo (12-1) hosts fourth-seed Plattsburgh (9-7) in the other semifinal at 4 p.m. today. If the Knights win, they will host the title game Saturday at 1 p.m. Cortland needs to take care of business against Oswego first, a team the Red Dragons defeated 12-2 two weeks ago at the Stadium Complex.
The tournament champion earns an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III playoffs. Cortland has been in the past three title games, winning the championship in 2006.
SOFTBALL: Top-seed Cortland meets sixth-seed Oneonta at 9 a.m. Thursday morning at Dragon Field to get the six-team, double-elimination playoffs underway.
The rest of the opening day schedule will have second-seed Brockport against fifth-seed Plattsburgh at 11 a.m., third-seed Buffalo State and fourth-seed Geneseo at 1 p.m. and the losers of the opening two contests meeting in an elimination contest at 3 p.m.
Four more games are on tap for Friday. Two games are slated for Saturday including a 1:30 p.m. title game, with an additional game set for Sunday if needed.
Cortland (36-4) has been led by junior pitcher Katie Finch, who is 18-2 with a sparkling 0.67 earned run average. She has 208 strikeouts in 136 innings of work this season.
Donnalyn Cross (.395) and Jessica Harman (.355) have bee the top Red Dragon hitters, while sophomore outfielder Brooke Weidman was named the SUNYAC Player of the Week after going 9-for-16 with four doubles last week.
BASEBALL: Top-seed Cortland (25-12) hosts a four-team, double-elimination tournament that starts Friday at Wallace Field. Second-seed Fredonia and third-seed Brockport meet at noon to get things underway, with Cortland facing fourth-seed Plattsburgh at 3:30.
Three games are scheduled for Saturday starting at 10 a.m., and the final round gets underway at noon Sunday.
The Red Dragons have been led offensively by productive hitters such as first baseman Kevin Jackson (.406), left fielder Jason Simone (.375) and senior Cortland High alum Mike Avery (.363), while catcher Andersen Gardner has a team high five home runs.
Junior left-hander Matt Tone is 7-0 with a 2.72 earned run average to lead the pitching staff, with four of those wins coming in conference play. He was named the SUNYAC and ECAC Division III Upstate Pitcher of the Week after allowing just three hits in a 12-3 win at Plattsburgh last Saturday.
WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Top-seed Buffalo State earned the right to host the Final Four after coming from behind to beat Cortland 14-12 in a first place showdown last weekend.
Friday’s semifinals start with Bufalo State (15-1) taking on fourth-seed Geneseo (10-5) at 12:30 p.m., with second-seed Cortland (11-6) facing third-seed Oneonta (10-5) at 3 p.m. The title game is at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Danielle Torre (67 goals-22 assists), Lindsay Abbott (56-13) and Jess Fritz (24-14) have been the most productive scorers for first year Red Dragon head coach Kathy Taylor.
— This past Saturday, Cortland women ended up second place at the New Paltz Tennis Tournament. After beating Oneonta 4-3 and Hunter College 5-2 in pool play, the Red Dragons lost to New Paltz 6-1 in the title match.
The host Hawks won all six singles matches to take the title, the lone Cortland point coming in the lone doubles confrontation — Homer Central alum Meg Cole teaming up with Kristina Lazzaro for an 8-2 victory.