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Men's lacrosse postseason odds at slimmest state

by Carson Werner - Sports Editor
Tue, Apr 16th 2019 10:00 pm
Senior midfielder Billy Coppola (far left) and sophomore attacker Liam O'Connor (right, #17) sandwich a St. John Fisher defender while chasing the ball.
Senior midfielder Billy Coppola (far left) and sophomore attacker Liam O'Connor (right, #17) sandwich a St. John Fisher defender while chasing the ball.
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The College at Brockport men’s lacrosse team officially became the cellar dweller in the SUNYAC with its loss to Potsdam on Saturday, April 13. The two teams entered the game in search of their first conference victory along with fighting against becoming the bottom seed in the standings. In the battle for last place, Brockport came out on the wrong end of a low-scoring, 5-4, defeat. 

The back-and-forth action of the single-digit showdown kept the game intense, as each goal carried more weight than the one that preceded it. Most of the game’s action was displayed in the first quarter when both sides were fresh. Sophomore attacker Peter Scavone found senior attacker Jake Recor on Brockport’s second extra-man opportunity of the game to open scoring just after four minutes. Junior midfielder Corey Choberka scored the second of the game three minutes later off a feed from sophomore midfielder Brendan Halleran.

The Bears would contest the early Golden Eagle pressure and answer back with two goals in two minutes following crucial Brockport turnovers. 47 seconds after Potsdam’s second goal, Brockport’s top point scorer, sophomore attacker Liam O’Connor, notched his 13th of the season to retake the lead for the green and gold. 

In the second quarter, Potsdam would find the back of the net twice on two different goalies to take the lead 4-3. Following the first goal and with two and a half minutes remaining before half, Brockport freshman goalie John Felice suffered a slashing penalty, causing senior goalie John Clancy to tend to the net while Felice served his time in the penalty box. Thirty seconds into the extra-man opportunity, Potsdam scored to end the advantage and bring Felice back into the game before the end of the quarter. 

The third quarter offered more opportunities for Brockport, but managed only one successful shot by sophomore attacker Patrick Sheridan. Potsdam broke the 4-4 tie four minutes into the last quarter and stood its ground against an onslaught of shots to snag the win. If it wasn’t for the spectacular performance from Potsdam’s goalie, Zach Sheridan, the result would have been flipped. Brockport outshot Potsdam 44-24 and Sheridan finished the game with 22 saves, only hurting the Golden Eagle goal-to-shot ratio. 

“Finishing has definitely been a struggle from the start of the season until now,” sophomore midfielder Max Riley said. “We have played against a lot of great goalies, but we cannot blame our low shooting percentage on another team’s goalie. It’s very frustrating knowing you are beating teams in every statistic excpet goals scored.”

Of the seven teams in the SUNYAC, Oswego, Potsdam and Brockport sit in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, for goals on the season. Filling the last two spots, Potsdam and Brockport have struggled immensely on the offensive side. Oswego on the other hand, has a strong defensive game plan that helps the Lakers win games with very few goals needed. Surprisingly, Brockport has outshot Oswego and Potsdam on the year by double-digits, but has a shot-to-goal percentage of 18.7, only a tick higher than last year’s 17 percent. 

The team’s offensive struggles from the 2018 season have continued into the 2019 campaign, producing a similar if not worse record thus far. Last year, Brockport was able to beat Potsdam, Oswego and SUNYAC champion Cortland to finish with a 3—3 conference record. Of the three teams, Brockport’s last hope in back-to-back victories lies in Cortland, which currently has 201 goals this season, 46 more than Brockport has scored in the past two years. However, the Red Dragons’ offense was just as effective last year when the Golden Eagles upset them in their only SUNYAC loss of the season. 

“Our offensive players have to not worry about the numbers or past games and just have confidence that they can score against any goalie,” sophomore midfielder Jahadi Prior said. “I see it every day in practice. I have faith in my team that they can turn it around for our final three SUNYAC games.”  

Brockport’s final three conference matchups are against Cortland, Geneseo and Plattsburgh. The team will have to pull off all three upsets to have a chance at placing in the top four seeds and moving on into the postseason. Although it’s a stretch, Brockport is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs just yet.