PLATTSBURGH — Beating Cortland State in men’s lacrosse is no easy matter.
In fact, Plattsburgh State has never beaten the Red Dragons.
The Cardinals hope that changes today when the two square off for the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament championship at 3:30 p.m. in Cortland.
Defending SUNYAC champion Cortland (14-3, 6-0), which is ranked seventh nationally in Division III, is the top seed and advanced to the finals with Wednesday’s 15-3 victory over fourth-seeded Oneonta.
The third-seeded Cardinals (13-5, 4-2), meanwhile, moved into the title match for the second year in a row with an 11-6 win at second-seeded Potsdam on Wednesday as the Cardinals got four goals from Brendan Damm and three from Tim Lawrence. Plattsburgh avenged a regular season loss in Potsdam.
Last season, the Cardinals gave the Red Dragons a good game in Plattsburgh during the regular season, with Cortland emerging with a 15-12 decision.
But it was no contest in the SUNYAC championship game in Cortland when the Red Dragons held the Cardinals’ offense in check while recording a 9-2 win.
Cortland went on to finish the year with a 19-1 overall record, losing to RIT, 10-9 in overtime, in the NCAA Division III semifinals.
This season, the Cardinals nearly beat the host Red Dragons for the first time on April 5 in the regular season.
Plattsburgh held an 8-6 lead at the half and a 9-7 advantage after three periods before Cortland outscored the Cardinals, 4-1, in the fourth to rally for an 11-10 victory over the visitors.
Zach Hopps and Matt Rakoczy led the Red Dragons with three goals each, while Damm tallied five goals for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have been closing the gap on the Red Dragons in recent years. Cortland recorded a 21-7 regular season win over Plattsburgh in 2008, a 12-8 decision in 2009, a 25-7 victory in 2010, a 14-5 win in 2011 and a 14-3 verdict in 2012.
Plattsburgh has lost regular season games to Cortland by a combined four goals the past two seasons.
Cortland, which is outscoring their opponents by a 208-113 margin, is led in scoring by Hopps (33 goals, 22 assists, 55 points), Rakoczy (21-16-37), Mike Cantelli (15-16-31) and Benjamin Dunlavey (23-6-29).
Plattsburgh, meanwhile, is holding a 218-146 scoring margin over its foes. Leading the way offensively are Damm (50-16-66), Robbie Ashlaw (30-24-54), Lawrence (25-15-40), Tom Duggan (22-14-36) and James Read (17-14-31).