Cardinals couldn't soar like the Eagles
By Nicole M. Russo
Heads down, the St. John Fisher College Cardinals shuffled off the court following a 105-91 loss to the SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles in the NCAA Division III championship Sweet Sixteen. As the Golden Eagles celebrated, a group of children decked out in the Cardinals' maroon and gold colors rose to their feet in the upper deck above the Fisher bench, and attempted to rouse the dejected home crowd into one last chant.
"Thank you, seniors "
After Brockport (26-5) turned a four-point deficit at halftime into a 14-point victory, ending the Cardinals'(25-6) season and hopes of a second straight trip to the Elite Eight, Fisher head coach Rob Kornaker urged the celebration of players' accomplishments--particularly the careers of seniors Dan McSweeney (Marcellus/Marcellus), Dan Mueller (Waterloo/Waterloo), and Adrian Fenyn (Newark/Newark).
"Of course I'm disappointed and I'm upset and I'm angry," he said, "but we've got three seniors, and the most important thing is celebrating the fact that these guys won 100 games here; what other group has done that in their career? We had some rollercoaster rides, but in the end, we did stay together and pull together and we were successful. That's the way I wanna look at it."
Fenyn struggled to explain how he felt at the end of his collegiate career.
"Words can't explain how I'm feeling right now. I just didn't want it to end like that," he said.
The Cardinals and the Golden Eagles faced off at 8 p.m. on Friday night in Fisher's Manning & Napier Varsity Gym. It was the third matchup this season for the cross-town rivals; the two teams split a pair of decisions during the regular season. A standing-room-only crowd watched as neither team was able to gain a clear advantage during the first half. Fisher held onto a 43-39 lead at halftime. After the break, Brockport took the lead for good on a three-pointer from sophomore Mychal Wilkes (Newark/Newark) to make the score 53-51 with 15:29 to play.