The SUNYAC Men’s Soccer Final took place on Saturday with the Cortland Red Dragons hosting the Brockport Golden Eagles. The two sides met just once this season towards the tail end with the Red Dragons grabbing a winner in Overtime thanks to Jake Kaufman. On the day, Anthony Ruggiero opened the scored on either side of the halftime whistle to give his side a 2-0 lead. However, in the final 10 minutes of regulation, the Golden Eagles came back with two late goals to equalize before Kaufman’s winner.
Cortland’s most recent game was an entertaining win on penalties over fellow Red Dragons, SUNY Oneonta. Brockport’s path to the SUNYAC finals featured two games beginning with a match against Plattsburgh which they comfortably handled with a 2-0 win. Next up, Brockport traveled to New Paltz and pulled off an upset, beating the hosts 2-0.
Cortland Red Dragons: Kelly; Kaufman, Figarella, Nambiar, Pfeiffer; Aronson, Tunas, Miner; Keller, Ormsby, Ruggiero.
Brockport Golden Eagles: Poniskaitis; Meyers, Kinsley, Oliveira, Hines; Volpe, DeSantis, Sinclair; Jeylani, Hayes, Hibbard.
The Red Dragons came close to opening the scoring just five minutes into play after Miguel Tunas won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Up stepped Jake Keller whose shot was heading towards goal if not for a wonderful diving stop from Tautis Poniskaitis. Keller had another chance just a decade of minutes later when Sean Kelly’s punt sent the Wappingers Falls native through on goal though his shot was blocked and sent out for a corner kick.
Despite Cortland’s earlier pressure, it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Jason Hayes’ shifty footwork in the penalty area freed him enough to cross the ball into a wide open Quintin Volpe who headed the ball back across goal before the Golden Eagles soared off in celebration.
Cortland continued to pressure after conceding the opening goal and were nearly rewarded in the 40th minute. Leke Dossou’s cross found a leaping Migell Ormsby alone in the box which saw the forward flick the ball on target. Once again, Poniskaitis was equal to a Red Dragon a shot pushing the ball over the goal for a corner kick. As the rain began to pour down, the Red Dragons were forced to go into the halftime break down a goal.
The Red Dragons came out firing in the second 45 with Orsmby’s headed effort once again coming close to finding the back of the net in the opening minute of the half. Keller had yet another free kick come close to fining the back of the net in the 52nd minute but a slight deflection pushed the ball over for another Red Dragon free kick.
The Golden Eagles doubled their lead in the 54th minute through a Jeff Hibbard header. A miscommunication at the back between Kaufman and Kelly allowed Quintin Volpe’s pass to find the Junior alone at the far post.
In desperate need of two goals, Cortland was forced to push forward which allowed for Brockport to have plenty of opportunities in the final half hour of regulation. However, the Golden Eagles chances came to nothing seeing the result end in a 2-0 draw in their favor.
Cortland suffers a defeat on home soil for the first time this season bouncing them out of the SUNYAC tournament giving Brockport the rights to claim themselves SUNYAC Champions.