Stevenson University, the home field for the Mustang Classic, came off a disappointing loss against Cabrini with vengeance for their game against the Cortland Red Dragons. The home team made a first half run that Cortland battled to overcome.
Cortland got the scoring started on the evening when they earned an extra man opportunity on their first possession of the game. James Stavrakis scored from atop and beat Ben Richards low. Stevenson would counter right away. Senior midfielder Tony Rossi found Kyle D’Onofrio to tie the game.
Rossi would find D’Onofrio again to get their first lead of the game. Forty-eight seconds later, Pat Candon isolated behind the cage and scored an unassisted goal. The two goal run would quickly be cut in half on Cortland’s next possession. Matt Rackozy would sweep across the top of the of the restraining box and beat Richards high.
Tony Rossi would get his first of the contest, beating Cortland goalie Joe Scalise. Rossi was instrumental in the Mustang’s win during his freshman season. Candon would score his 11th of the season when he again initiated the offense from behind the goal, scoring unassisted.
Sophomore Kyle D’Onofrio scored his third of the game, giving the Stevenson a lead of 6-2 with 16 seconds left in the first quarter. As the quarter came to a close, the pace was in the favor of Stevenson as Cortland had committed a number of turnovers which Stevenson was able to capitalize on.
Cortland scored as Zach Hops found Ben Dunlavey, registering their third goal of the game. Stavrakis scored on the following face off to cut the lead in half within 20 seconds. On the faceoff, there was a loose ball push but the quick start allowed for a fast break that ended with Stavrakis, his second goal of the game.
During a two minute un-releasable penalty, midfielder Colin Dabney found Rossi for his second of the game. The goal increased the lead to three goals at 7-4 in favor of Stevenson. Cortland continued to pressure the Mustangs defense, but the Mustangs’ goalie came up with a number of close saves.
Attackman Stephen Banick found Pat Candon in the middle of the Cortland defense to double the lead of the Mustangs with 2:20 left in the half. The goal came after a long possession by the Red Dragons and a save again by Ben Richards. The Mustangs goalie had four saves on long possessions. Stevenson went into halftime with a four goal lead at 8-4.
Cortland won the opening possession of the second half and was able to cut into the Stevenson lead. Matt Rakoczy was able to score unassisted to bring the Red Dragons to within three. The Mustangs were able to regain the four goal advantage when D’Onofrio got his fourth of the game, again assisted by Rossi. It was the third time Rossi found his linemate for a goal.
Banick would increase the lead to five. He was able to pick up a deflected shot and roll to the front of the cage. Quickly Cortland would respond when Stavrakis gets his hat trick, assisted by Zach Hopps. Just as the buzzer for the end of the third quarter sounded, Rakoczy scored his fourth of the game. The final quarter would begin with Stevenson ahead, 10-7.
The fourth quarter would start with a quick goal by Cortland as Zach Hopps score, which brings the lead to two. Momentum had clearly changed to favor Cortland. With 2:49 left, Cortland got to within one when Billy Davis scored. Stevenson had an answer after a drought that started in the third quarter. Banick would drive to the crease to get the advantage to two.
A stick check immediately after Banick’s goal gave Cortland a one minute un-releasable penalty. The following possession produced a wealth of shots for the Red Dragons, but Stevenson’s defense withstood the barrage.
In the win, Stevenson’s Tony Rossi led the team in scoring with two goals, three assists while Ben Richards saved 11. Cortland was led on the day by James Stavrakis, who had four goals, one assist on the evening. Joe Scalise also had 11 saves, but in a losing effort.