CORTLAND — The Plattsburgh State men’s lacrosse team, in line for one of its biggest wins in program history, let one slip away Saturday.
Matt Rakoczy’s goal with 4:44 left in regulation lifted SUNY Athletic Conference power Cortland to an 11-10 win over the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh (8-3, 1-1), looking for its first-ever victory over the Red Dragons, stormed out to a 3-0 lead with less than three minutes gone in the first period and held an 8-3 edge at one time in the second.
Cortland (8-3, 2-0), however, held the Cardinals to just two goals in the second half and the eighth-ranked Red Dragons rallied from behind.
Plattsburgh took a 9-7 lead into the fourth before goals by Joe Slavik and Billy Davis 16 seconds apart early in the final stanza pulled the Red Dragons into a 9-all tie.
Brendan Damm put the Cardinals back on top with 12:48 remaining and held the lead until Cortland’s Zach Hopps scored with 6:15 left to tie it, at 10-all.
Mike Cantelli, who accounted for five assists in the contest, then found Rakoczy, who netted the game-winning goal from 15 yards out.
The Red Dragons held possession for much of the remaining time with the help of a couple of Plattsburgh penalties. The Cardinals did have one last chance to tie it, but came away empty when Cortland netminder Scott Tota made a save on James Read’s shot just before the final horn.
Hopps and Rakoczy paced the Red Dragons with three goals each. Slavik added two, while Benjamin Dunleavy, Mike Cummings and Davis followed with one apiece. Tota stopped eight shots.
Damm had another big offensive day for the Cardinals with five goals. Jack Felter added two, while Tim Lawrence, Read and Duggan had one apiece. Robbie Ashlaw and Matt Renko chipped in with two assists each. Andrew Hauk turned away 12 shots in net for the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh came out on fire when Duggan scored 44 seconds into the game and Damm added goals at 1:31 and 2:52 to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Cortland was forced to call a timeout to settle things down.
The Red Dragons did rally to get to within 3-2 after one period, but the Cardinals then broke loose to score five of the next six goals to take an 8-3 advantage in the second. But Plattsburgh couldn’t add to its lead and Cortland got back into the game by scoring three unanswered goals to cut its deficit to 8-6 at the half.
Damm and Racozcy then traded goals in a low-scoring third period as the Cardinals were able to hold on to their two-goal lead entering the fourth.
Cortland finished with a 50-30 advantage in shots, a 32-31 edge in ground balls and was 19-of-21 on clears.
Plattsburgh, meanwhile, was 12-of-16 on clears, committed 19 turnovers as opposed to Cortland’s 15, and was efficient once again on face-offs, winning 14 of 23.
Extra-man opportunities were a key in the game, with the Red Dragons going 3-of-7 and the Cardinals, 1-of-5.
Plattsburgh returns to conference play on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest at Potsdam State.
Cortland 11, Plattsburgh State 10
Score by periods:
Plattsburgh State 3 5 1 1 — 10
Cortland 2 4 1 4 — 11
Plattsburgh- Brendan Damm, 5 goals; Jack Felter, 2 goals; Tim Lawrence, 1 goal, 2 assists; James Read, 1 goal; Tom Duggan, 1 goal; Matt Renko, 2 assists; Robbie Ashlaw, 2 assists; Cole Andersen, 1 assist.
Cortland- Zach Hopps, 3 goals, 1 assist; Matt Rakoczy, 3 goals; Benjamin Dunleavy, 1 goal, 1 assist; Mike Cummings, 1 goal: Billy Davis, 1 goal; Mike Cantelli, 5 assists; Nate Beresovoy, 1 assist.
Shots: Cortland 50, Plattsburgh 30.
Saves: Andrew Hauk, PSU, 12. Scott Tota, Cort, 8.
Ground balls: Cortland 32, Plattsburgh 31
Turnovers: Plattsburgh 19, Cortland 15
Clears: Plattsburgh, 12-16; Cortland, 19-21
Face-offs: Plattsburgh 14-23; Cortland, 9-23
Penalties: Plattsburgh 7, Cortland 5
Extra-man (goals-opportunities): Plattsburgh, 1-5; Cortland, 3-7.