---- — PLATTSBURGH — The test can’t get more difficult for the nationally-ranked Plattsburgh State men’s lacrosse team.
The Cardinals open their SUNY Athletic Conference season today against the No. 1-ranked team in the country in Division III.
In town for a 1 p.m. game at the Plattsburgh State Field House Lacrosse Complex is powerful Cortland, which is 7-0 on the season.
The Cardinals (8-1), who are ranked No. 18, are coming off Wednesday’s 8-7 overtime home win over Clarkson University.
That was the first overtime game of the season for Plattsburgh, which is scoring 12.8 goals a game and allowing 5.6. The Cardinals’ lone loss of the season thus far was to No. 19 University of Mary Washington by a 12-8 score.
The Cardinals are being led in scoring by Brendan Damm (22-10-32), Joey Kramer (21-10-31), Brett McClelland (15-7-22) and Tim Lawrence (10-10-20). Gordie Gehring has played well in net for Plattsburgh.
McClelland scored the game-winning goal against Clarkson.
The Red Dragons, meanwhile, have survived a rugged non-conference schedule that has included five teams ranked in the nation’s top 20.
Cortland has posted overtime wins over Stevens Institute (12-11), Ithaca (9-8) and RIT (12-11. RIT is ranked third in the country, Stevens 10th and Ithaca 15th. The Red Dragons also have wins over No. 14 Cabrini and No. 17 Union College.
Cortland is averaging 11.0 goals a game and surrendering 6.4.
Leading the Red Dragons in scoring are Zach Hopps (8-15-23), Joe Slavik (13-6-19), Cody Consul (8-8-16) and Matt Rakoczy (12-2-14).
Cortland went 21-1 overall last season, with the lone loss bring a 14-10 setback to Salisbury in the NCAA Division III Tournament championship game.
Included in its record was a 14-3 home win over Plattsburgh in conference play. The Cardinals finished 11-7 overall and 4-2 in the conference.