May 7, 2013
Dragons headed to Ithaca
Fresh off a stirring victory in the conference playoffs, the SUNY Cortland softball team will not have to travel far to get things underway in the NCAA Division III tournament.
The SUNY Athletic Conference champions will be among eight schools participating in regional play at Ithaca College, that double-elimination event starting Thursday and running through Monday.
The Red Dragons (28-14) will be the fifth seed at the regional and will open against fourth-seeded The College of New Jersey (26-13) Thursday at noon.
Other opening match-ups Thursday at the regional include top-seeded St. John Fisher (32-12) versus eighth-seeded Western Connecticut State (22-22) at 10 a.m., third-seeded Lebanon Valley (32-5-1) from Pennsylvania against sixth-seeded Penn State-Berks (36-3) at 2 p.m., and second-seeded Utica College (33-12) versus seventh-seeded Washington College (26-17) out of Maryland at 4 p.m.
The winner of the double-elimination regional will advance to the eight-team NCAA Division III World Series in Eau Claire, Wis., May 17-21.
Cortland will be making its 19th NCAA appearance, including its seventh in a row and 13th total under 19th-year head coach Julie Lenhart. The Red Dragons have advanced to the World Series six times during Lenhart’s tenure – 1998, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011 – and seven times overall. The Red Dragons finished fourth nationally – its best World Series showing – in 2011.
Cortland finished second in the SUNYAC during the regular season, but won the league’s postseason tournament with a 4-0 record last weekend at Brockport.
The Red Dragons’ tournament wins included a pair of 2-1 victories over Plattsburgh — one in 13 innings and the other in nine innings — and an 8-7 championship-round win over Geneseo in which Cortland trailed 7-0 after two innings.
Cortland and TCNJ split a doubleheader in New Jersey on March 23. The Lions won the opener 3-0 and Cortland won the second game 13-7.The Red Dragons did not play any of the other teams in the regional this spring.
IN LACROSSE, Cortland women will get NCAA Division III play underway on Wednesday, the Red Dragons (18-1) hosting Keuka College (12-3) at 3 p.m. at the Stadium Complex. The Red Dragons are hoping a victory in that first round game will enable them to host a four-team regional this coming weekend.
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