On Saturday afternoon, the No. 9 Union Men’s Lacrosse team defeated No. 5 in the nation SUNY Cortland to kick off their 2015 season here at Frank Bailey Field.
Leading the way offensively for the Dutchmen were Peter Richardson ’17 and Nolan Stauffer ’16, who tallied four goals each.
Preseason All-American goaltender Stefan Basile ’15 and 2014 USILA 2nd Team All-American Adam Sands ’15 led Union on the defensive side.
Basile stood strong in between the pipes with 12 saves on the afternoon, while Sands finished with a team-high nine groundballs.
The Dutchmen got off to a strong start, as they jumped to a 5-1 lead behind two of Stauffer’s goals in the first quarter.
The Red Dragons of Cortland answered with a 4-1 stretch, however, and cut Union’s lead to 6-5 before Richardson notched his second goal of the game to send the Dutchmen into halftime with a two-goal lead.
Attack Charlie Ross ’15 added to Union’s lead just 20 seconds into the second half, increasing Union’s lead to three goals, before Cortland responded with two big goals to decrease the Dutchmen’s lead by just one goal, setting the stage for what would be an exciting fourth quarter.
The Dutchmen and Red Dragons traded blows for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, and the score was knotted at 10-10 heading into the final nine minutes of play.
Union then outplayed their opponents for the next five minutes and outscored Cortland 4-1 on two more goals by Stauffer and a goal apiece from Richard Gregory ’15 and Richardson.
However, Cortland managed to cut Union’s lead to one goal, making the score 14-13 with two goals just 30 seconds apart.
Faceoff-man Connor Hall ’15 weathered Cortland’s final attack with a crucial face-off win, with 13 seconds left to play.
As he won the face-off, he was able to run off the closing seconds of the game to secure Union’s first victory of the season over a very talented SUNY Cortland squad.
This is the first time the Dutchmen have beat the Red Dragons in 49 years and with the victory the No. 9 ranking for Union changed to an impressive No. 4 ranking at the end of the historic weekend.