A slow first half start didn’t startle the Division III no. 5-ranked Cortland State women’s lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex as the team went on to defeat Oswego State 20-5 in its State University of New York Athletic Conference season opener to improve its overall record to 7-1.
The Lakers’ early 3-1 lead was enough for Cortland’s head coach (and former Fayetteville-Manlius coach) Kathy Taylor. She called a quick time-out to get her team refocused.
“I called the time out so we could have a do-over,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t the start I had anticipated for our team. think that going into this game we really wanted this to be a great team experience. To do that, we wanted to take care of the game early.
“On offense, we had a lot of opportunities, but we didn’t handle those opportunities well. We didn’t take good shots. The goalie played a solid first half, but our decision making wasn’t as good as it should have been.”
The time-out worked, as the Red Dragons responded and netted seven consecutive goals, including three from West Genesee graduate Maria Di Fato. The sophomore would tie her career high in goals with five on the day.
Oswego State would get as close as 9-5 before the Red Dragons closed out the half with a 12-5 halftime score. The Lakers’ Kristen Darcy would lead all scorers with two goals.
Midfielder Lindsay Abbott (Onondadga) continued to prove her versatility, contributing career highs in assists (seven) and points (nine) — tying a school record first set by Beth Breen in 1986. Th junior would round out her play and chip in two goals.
“I know in my past years, especially my freshman year, I was always trying to work on my assists,” Abbott said. “Throughout the past two years I’ve definitely upped it, been able to get more assists and help the team out more.”
Taylor agreed. “Lindsay has developed into such a tremendous lacrosse talent that she now draws so much defensive pressure,” she said. “She is able to identify that when everyone is worried abou her scoring, she can now set other people up. But if they don’t respect her that way, she is going to take the goals herself.”
On a team where youth trumps all, Abbott and the rest of the upperclassman assume another responsibility – the leadership role.
“Every day we come together as a team,” Abbott said, “We make sure everyone is on board, we make sure everyone is following us and we are listening when coach is teaching. It’s tough only having five upperclassmen, but I think we handled it pretty well.”
Junior attacker Erin Kollar (East Islip) also went on to notch her career high with five goals on the afternoon. Kollar has 11 goals and two assists through eight games this season.
“Erin has been in and out of our starting lineup for three years,” Taylor said. “We’ve been waiting for Erin to become the kind of player that she has become the last couple of games and that’s exciting, too.”
The Red Dragons’ motion offense highlighted the teams’ unselfish play, accounting for 12 total assists.
“The motion offense allows opportunities to score from up top, on the side and behind the cage,” Taylor said.”Because of the offense, it allows us to set screens, picks and exchanges with the ball and off the ball.
“I think we were trying to go into it with that team mentality,” Taylor said, “People are starting to look for each other. [The game against Oswego] was an example of players that have been on the field together for three years. They see each other well.”
Sophomore goalies Ally Levy (Seton Keough) and Shauna Hutchinson (East Islip) split time in goal, combining for six saves. Other scoring notables included Sophomore Mary Hartzheim (F-M), with two goals and one assist; and sophomore Gina Campese (East Syracuse-Minoa), with one goal and two assists. Jordan Miller (Liverpool),Alexis Egeberg (Carthage), Heather Casey and Laura Edward scored, too, with Liz Beville (Jamesville-DeWitt) contributing an assist.
The Red Dragons are on the road Tuesday at Brockport State.