POTSDAM - Three different players had a career day for the SUNY Potsdam mens lacrosse team as the Bears raised the bar in a hard fought 11-8 victory against Utica College on Maxcy Turf Field Thursday under cold conditions where temperatures hovered around the freezing mark throughout the game.
If the chilly weather bothered the Bears, they certainly did not seem fazed by it.
Senior attacker Rob Kunz (Watertown, N.Y. ) was at the forefront as the tri-captain pumped in a career-best five goals with two goals in the first quarter, two more in the second and another in the fourth.
His last strike came with 1:20 left in the game to give Potsdam (4-2) a three-goal cushion that essentially thwarted off any last chance hope for the Pioneers (4-3).
Kunzs previous high was four goals against Clarkson University back on April 4, 2012.
Im really excited that happened for me, but this was more of a team win, Kunz said.
With two-a-days including an early morning shoot around and another practice in the afternoon, I think that has really paid off. Coach [Berkman] has been stressing making smart plays, shooting overhand, and changing the plane of your shot. I cant say enough about our defense. Duffy has been phenomenal in goal and Pat hit some important goals for us. Winning as a team, I think we are heading into SUNYACs with the right mind set.
Sophomore midfielder Pat Bonafede (Churchville, N.Y.) and senior goalie Ryan Duffy (Liverpool, N.Y.) also recorded career days for the Bears. Bonafede had a career-high three goals and one assist while Duffy made a career-best 17 saves including five significant ones in the last quarter.
Kunz opened the scoring by receiving a pass from sophomore Matt Kennedy (Clay, N.Y.) at 7:56 in the first quarter. Sophomore attacker Ed Doherty (Amherst, N.Y.) followed with a score on a feed from Bonafede. Then, Potsdam pushed the lead to 3-0 when Kunz slung a shot from 10 yards away from the near side at 1:10 left in the first. Jon Woodworth had the assist.
Utica was held without a goal until 9:07 in the second quarter when sophomore Trent Jacobs got the Pioneers on the board. Less than a minute later, junior Zack Stevenson rifled a shot into the net to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Bears struck back when freshman attacker Matt Moran (Watertown, N.Y.) carried the ball around the back end of the cage and came around to the front and fired an unassisted goal to make it a 4-2.
Jacobs added his second goal of the game to bring Utica back to within one.
But thats when the Bears bite right back.
A pivotal moment came when the Pioneers were penalized for an illegal stick with 1:53 remaining in the half.
It proved costly for Utica as Potsdam seized the opportunity by making good on their man up advantage twice. First, Kunz notched his third goal from Doherty and then Bonafede added another on a feed from Doherty just 33 seconds apart.
The flurry continued when Kunz scored again with 10 seconds left in the period to give Potsdam a 7-3 lead heading into halftime.
Utica chipped away at the lead and got it to 7-5 by the end of the third quarter after Corey Thompson shot it behind his back for a goal and Joe Schoen found the net unassisted.
After Kennedy scored for Potsdam to begin the fourth, Bonafede and Pioneers freshman Ross Cree traded goals to make it 10-7. Senior defenseman Josh Torreys goal put some pressure back on Potsdam by cutting the deficit to two with 7:09 to play. But Kunz finished out the scoring to help solidify the victory.
This marks the fourth consecutive win for Potsdam against Utica College. Potsdam leads the all-time series 4-2.
Potsdam will open SUNYAC play with a home contest against No. 9 ranked SUNY Cortland on Saturday at 1 p.m.
POTSDAM WOMENS LAX
The Rochester Institute of Technology (3-3) used an early second half run to escape the SUNY Potsdam womens lacrosse team (3-3) 13-12 at the Spring Fling Tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Thursday afternoon. Sage Sarkis had a game-high 11 points on an astounding 10 goals and one assist. Junior attack Bailey Weigel (East Amherst, N.Y.) had a career-high five goals and an assist to lead the Bears. Sophomore attack Bri McClusky (Watertown, N.Y.) had two goals and four assists for another six-point day.
Potsdam jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first three minutes on two goals from Weigel. McClusky assisted on the first at 28:27 and sophomore defender Maggie McCabe (Camillus, N.Y.) set up the second at 27:34. Sarkis knotted score with two straight seven minutes later. The Bears answered with a 3-0 run on goals from McClusky, freshman midfielder Alyssa Ferenczy (Williamsville, N.Y.) and McCabe. Freshman attack Katie Lapinski (Canton, N.Y.) recorded the helpers on McClusky and Ferenczys tallies and McClusky assisted on McCabes marker. Again Sarkis scored two in-a-row to get the Tigers to within 5-4 with 1:50 left in the half. Freshman attack Michaela Cole (Parishville, N.Y.) finished a feed from Weigel 37 seconds later and Potsdam took a 6-4 advantage into the break.
Ferenczy made it 7-4 at the 22:36 mark of the final period. RIT answered with a 7-0 run on five goals from Sarkis and one each from Sydney DaCosta and Corrina Mandell. The 10-minute stretch gave RIT an 11-7 lead with 11:39 left. The Bears were far from finished. McClusky started a 3-0 run with a goal at 11:08. She then set up Weigel for the next two and the Bears trailed 11-10 at the 5:01 mark. Nicole Bingo got one back for the Tigers at 4:22 and Sarkis netted the eventual game-winner just over two minutes later to make it 13-10. Weigel scored with 56 seconds left and Cole cut the gap to one four seconds later, but Potsdam couldnt get the equalizer.
In goal, Bears senior captain Jen Chmiel (Rochester, N.Y.) finished with 11 saves on the afternoon. RITs Caitlin Conway made nine stops to earn the win. The Bears edged the Tigers in shots (32-31), ground balls (21-19) and draw controls (14-12). Weigel collected 11 draw controls, one shy of her single-game record.
Potsdam is back in action on Tuesday when the Bears open up SUNYAC play at New Paltz with a 3 p.m. contest.
CANTON WOMENS LAX
In Oswego, the SUNY Canton womens lacrosse team overcame a four-goal deficit to tie the game at 8-8 with less than five minutes remaining and had a shot to tie in the final minute but fell just short, 9-8, to host SUNY Oswego.
The hosts scored the first two goals of the game and took a 4-1 advantage midway through the half but the Roos responded as Robyn Carroll (Bowmanville, ON) put home a goal off a free position shot beating Laker goalie Nikki Greco. Esther Gabriel tallied back-to-back scores to open the margin to four for Oswego State. SUNY Canton used a strong end to the half netting three of the final four goals of the frame to trail just 7-5 at intermission.
Hannah Christiansen (Lake View, NY) and Joelle Percy (Black River, NY) led the Roos offensively with a goal and assist each in the opening stanza. Five different players scored as Megan Poupore (Massena, NY) and Tressa Goolden (Canton, NY) also found the back of the net in the opening 30 minutes.
The Roos (2-4) carried the momentum out of halftime as Christiansen posted her sixth goal of the season just 13 seconds into the second period to get the visitors within 7-6. After Oswego State opened the lead to 8-6 it was Percy who got the Roos within one scoring her second of the game with 15:10 remaining off a pass from Keeley Rice (Potsdam, NY).
In a low scoring second half the duo of Rice and Percy hooked up again with 4:09 remaining after a SUNY Canton timeout to knot the game at 8-8. The Lakers (5-1) answered as Emily Lange tallied her third goal of the contest with 3:13 remaining.
The Roos continued to push and Poupore fired a shot on net that would have tied the game with just one minute remaining but Greco was able to make the save as the Lakers possessed the ball in the final minute to hold on for the hard fought 9-8 victory.
Percy paced SUNY Canton with three goals and one assist while Christiansen added two scores and a helper. Rice finished with two assists, while Carroll picked up five ground balls and three draw controls. All three of Percys shot attempts found the back of the net while she added a game-high five caused turnovers to go with three ground balls.
The Roos and Lakers both had 21 shots on goal apiece. SUNY Canton held edges in shots (31-24), ground balls (25-23), draw controls (12-7) and free position shots (6-3). Becca Kieffer (Lee Center, NY) made 12 saves on the day, while Greco turned aside 13 shots.
The womens lacrosse team is back in action on Saturday when it hosts Cazenovia College at 2 p.m.