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November 12, 2007

 

Bombers lower boom on Dragons

Cortaca Game

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland Keith Greene (12) looks for running room after a fourth quarter reception with Ithaca defenders Mike Nowak (49) and John Scanlon (44) giving chase. Theough senior Greene caught four passes, Ithaca regained the Cortaca Jug with 40-17 win Saturday in Ithaca.

By ALAN BUTLER
Sports Editor

ITHACA — SUNY Cortland knew all about the point-scoring binge the Ithaca College offense had been on over the second half of this football season.
Still, the Red Dragons were confident of their own defensive abilities heading into Saturday’s gathering before some 9,700 vociferous fans at Butterfield Stadium, where two fierce rivals with matching 7-2 records butted helmets for the 49th time over possession of the coveted Cortaca Jug.
But there would be no slowing down the Bombers on this gray and damp afternoon, no fourth quarter drama that has made recent Cortaca Jug games so memorable, as the hosts rolled up 534 yards of offense to run away with a lopsided 40-17 victory.
“It was one of those games that you have to walk away from and say you were defeated by a better team,” conceded Cortland head coach Dan MacNeill, whose Red Dragons had captured four of the last five Cortaca Jug outings including back-to-back overtime victories. “Did we have chances to come back? We did, but our defense just never stopped them.”
Senior tailback Jamie Donovan scored three touchdowns to give the Bombers a quick 19-0 lead, part of a grueling 131-yard rushing effort that including a bunch of crucial third down pick-ups.
Junior quarterback Dan Juvan completed his first seven throws and would finish 12-for-16 overall while shredding the Red Dragon secondary for 306 yards through the air. He also scrambled for a 35-yard touchdown run.
Junior tight end Brian Weverbergh caught a pair of second half touchdown passes to thwart Cortland comeback ambitions, including the clinching 55-yarder with 9:49 left to play. That was the last of several big yardage plays that damaged the Dragons throughout.
“I don’t know, sometimes things just click,” said the lanky, 6-foot-3 Juvan of Ithaca’s latest point binge. The Bombers came in winners of five straight games, averaging 40.6 points over that stretch.
“We watched a lot of film, but we just executed. That’s the bottom line,” said Juvan.
Ithaca’s third down efficiency would be the story of the game. The Bombers converted 13-of-16 third down plays into first downs. Their six touchdown drives covered 76, 79, 80, 68, 98 and 96 yards — those last two marches coming after the Red Dragons in comeback mode came up short of the end zone on an interception and lost fumble.
At a surging 8-2, Ithaca was rewarded with an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III tournament despite finishing third in the Empire 8 League. The Bombers will have the tough task of facing defending champion and No. 1 ranked Mount Union (10-0) Saturday in Ohio, kickoff at noon.
Cortland is 7-3 and out of the NCAA playoff picture, though consolation arrived with the news the Red Dragons would be sharing the New Jersey Athletic Conference regular season title for a third straight year.
First place The College of New Jersey — which already secured an automatic bid into the Division III playoffs by blanking Cortland 30-0 two weeks ago — was upset 37-27 by Kean on Saturday.
Cortland and TCNJ both finish 6-1 in league play.
“WE WERE REALLY impressed with the Cortland defense. We kept seeing them flying around,” said Ithaca coach Mike Welch of watching the Red Dragons on film. “We thought we’d have a tougher time moving the ball, but Dan (Juvan) played so well and we were able to move the ball. The offensive line did an amazing job.”
Three long scoring drives concluded with three short Donovan touchdown runs for the 19-0 getaway by the Bombers, who did misfire on their first two PAT kicks.
“We thought we could move the ball because of the way our offensive line is playing so well now,” said Donovan, who now owns the school record with 45 touchdowns in his career.
More impressive was the way IC responded to every Cortland challenge after grabbing that early edge.
Cortland pulled to within 19-7 when senior fullback Mike Sveda bulled over from the 1-yard line with 7:17 left in the opening half. That came after Sveda snuck out of the backfield to haul in a pass over the middle from Ray Miles, the captain tripped up just shy of the end zone on that 37-yard pass play.
The Red Dragon defense then stopped Ithaca and forced a punt — only to be flagged for a personal foul roughing the punter penalty to enable IC to keep possession.
It was the only penalty called against Cortland the entire day.
Juvan took advantage of that break, completing a 16-yard third down pass to Donovan to the Cortland 35 and then scrambling up the middle for a touchdown on the very next snap. That weaving journey through the Cortland secondary was the longest run of his Ithaca career.
Down 25-7, Cortland came back and drove to the Ithaca 4-yard line in the final drive of the half — the big play a fake field goal holder Jamell Scott ran that picked up 16 yards and a first down at the Ithaca 11.
Four plays later facing fourth down and with only seven ticks left on the clock, Matthew Mintz kicked a 21-yard field goal and the Red Dragon deficit was 26-10 at the break.
CORTLAND TOOK the second half kickoff and made things even more interesting with a 59-yard scoring drive. An early 4th-and-1 off-tackle pickup from midfield by junior running back Andrew Giuliano got things rolling, Sveda scoring his second touchdown from a yard out on the 11th play of the drive.
Now within 26-17, Cortland almost forced a huge turnover. Ithaca somehow managed to recover the football jarred loose when Juvan was flattened by stunting Red Dragon freshman lineman Mike Attanasio.
The Bombers still had to punt the ball away, but from the Ithaca 40 an overthrown second down pass by Miles was intercepted just shy of the goal line by senior safety Ryan Terlecki.
Donovan ran Ithaca to one first down, senior wide receiver Brian Hogan caught a sideline pass and then crisscrossed the field for a 76-yard tackle-breaking pickup to the Cortland 12 and Weverbergh caught a 7-yard third down TD touchdown pass over the middle to up the Ithaca lead to 33-17.
But here came the Red Dragons once again, including another successful fourth down conversion by fullback Sveda — who gained seven yards off tackle on 4th-and-1 from the Ithaca 45.
Three plays later, senior wide receiver Keith Greene nearly broke free after Miles stepped up in the pocket and delivered a pass over the middle. In a race to the corner of the end zone, Greene fumbled the ball out of bounds while being drilled by Ithaca linebacker Matt Scalice a yard shy of scoring.
Then Sveda’s bid for his third touchdown turned into more trouble, Terlecki forcing a fumble that linebacker Tyler Baker recovered three minutes into the fourth quarter.
“The fumble when we were going into the end zone, that was just devasting,” said Cortland’s MacNeill.
THAT WAS THE final Red Dragon gasp.
After the turnover, Ithaca went 97 yards on just five plays for the clinching TD. A 39-yard Donovan run was the first big play. Tight end Weverbergh would break a tackle to turn a short pass play into the final long distance end zone visit.
Cortland punted the ball away with 7:56 left to play and never touched it again, senior running back Alex Baez carrying 10 straight times to pick up three first downs before the Bombers killed off the final seconds.
“You’ve got to tip their hats to them. They’re playing pretty good right now,” said MacNeill of the Bombers. And Ithaca was turnover free in a game where mistakes usually mean the difference.
Ithaca dominated time of possession by some 11 minutes, Cortland finishing with 281 yards of offense. Miles completed 14-of-26 passes for 189 yards, Greene and tight end Dave Fregelette both caught four passes and Giuliano rushed 18 times for 51 yards.
Safety Matt Berman and frosh linebacker Brian Haas led the Red Dragons with 13 tackles apiece, while senior defensive end Brian Robison had one of two sacks of Juvan.

 

 

Olympians have Final Four fun

Malmberg sudden death goal sends stickers to semifinals

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

ONEONTA — If this were a heavyweight prizefight, the judges would have ruled the bout a draw.
Ironically, that is how every Marathon Central field hockey encounter goes against Section 5 rival East Rochester. Somehow, someway, the Section 4 champions found the one punch that would decide the match.
With 2:17 gone in the first 10-minute sudden death period, Marta Malmberg scored on a spinning shot into the left corner of the goal to lift Marathon to a 1-0 victory over the tough East Rochester squad in New York State Class C Regional Championship action Saturday at SUNY Oneonta. The victory sends the Olympians back to the State Class C Final Four for the second straight year and fifth time this decade.
It is the fourth one-goal win and third straight overtime decision by the Olympians, winners of 19 straight games, over the Bombers (18-1-2) in tournament play. Marathon won 1-0 in the 2001 semifinals, 2-1 in overtime in the 2003 semis and 2-1 in double overtime in the 2006 state championship match.
“Tessa (Knapp) made a nice insert to start the play,” said Malmberg of the winning scoring sequence off a penalty corner set. “Hannah  (Griep) and then Kelley (Braman) made nice passes and I just shot for the corner.
“Our defense really played a great game today,” Malmberg added. “The team really stepped up today. It was a great opportunity for us and we all were confident that we could do it.”
“We really had some great opportunities in the circle, but we just could not score,” said Marathon coach Karen Funk. “We were a little out of sync in the first half, but the defense really came through. Chelsea Wood has done a great job this year and she came through again today as did Kelley Braman. Marta and Hannah Griep did a great job of clearing the ball out of our circle when East Rochester had penalty corner opportunities.
“East Rochester did send 10 players on attack offensively,” Funk added. “We had to adjust to that because we have not seen that before. We are used to 10 players in the circle in the defensive zone, but not 10 in the attacking half of the field.”
Both teams had the ball in deep the opponent’s defensive zone in the first half, but only Marathon got three shots off while East Rochester did not get a shot. The Bombers had three penalty corners to two for the Olympians. Twice Marathon shot wide of the cage and once, Braman was on target, but Erika Delgado (four saves) kicked the ball out of danger.
THE SECOND HALF was more intense as East Rochester got four shots and four more penalty corners. All shots were blocked by defenders in front of Marathon goalkeeper Roni Allen and the ball was then cleared away. The Bombers had two penalty corners in the opening two minutes of the half.
The Olympians got three shots off four penalty corners, but Delgado made the saves. The best scoring chance was a whiff on the shot and possession went back to the Bombers.
 “We knew East Rochester would be tough,” said Allen, who did not have to make a save go get her 13th shutout of the season. “It is too bad that we did play them so early. Our defense really played well today. There was a lot of communication, talking to each other and knowing where we needed to be on the field, and that is what makes us successful.
“It is an awesome feeling to win and to be going back on the road for another shot at the state title,” Allen added.

 

 

 

Red Dragon men head to nationals

NEW YORK CITY — The SUNY Cortland men’s across country team is headed to the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Red Dragons finished second out of 39 schools at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional, hosted by New York University at Van Cortlandt Park, on Saturday to qualify.
New York University repeated as regional champion with a score of 37 points, followed by Cortland at 46. The College of New Jersey was third with 120 points, Geneseo finished fourth with 126 points and St. Lawrence was fifth with 154 points.
Coach Matthew Moran’s Red Dragon runners will be headed to Northfield, Minn., this coming Saturday looking to improve on last year’s fourth place national finish.
On the women’s side, Cortland finished fifth in a field of 37 schools at the regional championships. The top two finishers earn automatic berths to nationals.
Though the Red Dragons just failed to advance as a team, Lisa Holt will be headed to nationals after finishing 19th overall.
Cortland men were led by sophomore Seth DuBois, who finished third overall finished third in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 24:33.6. Hamilton’s Peter Kosgei was the individual champion in 24:18.0 and NYU’s Hany Abdallah was second in 24:29.7.
DuBois was one of five Red Dragons to earn all-region honors by virtue of a top-35 finish in the 271-runner race.
Junior Shamus Nally placed seventh (24:43.7), one spot ahead of sophomore Justin Wager (24:45.9). Junior and former Homer Cetnral runner Josh Henry crossed the line 13th (25:00.4) and sophomore Jerry Greenlaw finished 15th (25:08.2).
Cortland’s other two entries earned top-40 finishes but just missed out on all-region recognition. Freshman Stephen Scrafford finished 37th (25:43.4) and sophomore Kyle O’Brien placed 39th (25:45.4).
IN THE WOMEN’S race, Geneseo and Plattsburgh shared the team title with 41 points apiece to earn NCAA berths. Ithaca finished third with 116 points, followed by The College of New Jersey (146), Cortland (171) and Rochester (275).