CORTLAND — When the Plattsburgh State and Cortland men’s lacrosse teams met earlier in the season in regular season play, the Cardinals couldn’t hold a fourth-period lead and fell, 11-10, to the host Red Dragons.
Saturday, it was Plattsburgh that made the comeback in the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament championship game — only to fall short.
The Cardinals (13-6) rallied for three goals in the fourth period before dropping another 11-10 decision to the nationally-ranked Red Dragons.
Top-seeded Cortland (15-3), which earned the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament for the 14th year in a row, took an 11-7 advantage into the fourth.
But the third-seeded Cardinals got one back when Anthony Pafundi scored a minute into the final stanza and drew to within one on Robbie Ashlaw’s goal with 4:52 remaining in regulation.
Ashlaw’s second goal of the period, with 1:24 left, pulled Plattsburgh back to within 11-10. The Cardinals had one final opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds, but a well-contested shot from in close went wide of the net.
Zach Hopps led Cortland, which has won its last 10 games, with three goals, while Mike Cantelli, Matt Rakoczy, Joe Slavik, Matt Savlov, Nate Beresovoy, Patrick Brown, Benjamin Dunlavey and Luke McNaney all added one apiece.
Ashlaw finished with a game-high four goals for Plattsburgh, while Tim Lawrence and Anthony Pafundi contributed two goals each. Brendan Damm and Tom Duggan also had goals.
Scott Tota, selected as the tournament Most Valuable Player, recorded nine saves in net for the Red Dragons and Andrew Hauk turned away 14 shots for the Cardinals, who held a 43-39 advantage in shots.
Plattsburgh never led in the contest and got off to a slow start when Cortland grabbed a 3-0 lead after one on two goals by Hopps and one by Savlov.