#5 Cortland Tops #8 F&M, 6-4, to Reach Final Four

CORTLAND, N.Y. Cortland outscored Franklin & Marshall 5-1 in the second half to erase a 3-1 halftime deficit and the Red Dragons defeated the Diplomats, 6-4, to earn their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III "final four."

The 19-0 Red Dragons set a new school single-season victory record and will face Gettysburg (20-0), the nation's other Division III unbeaten team, in the national semifinals on Saturday, May 20, at 11:30 a.m. at Stevens Tech in Hoboken, N.J. F&M, making its ninth NCAA tournament appearance and first since 1998, finishes the season with a 15-5 record.

Neither team scored for more than 15 minutes to start the game. Junior Kelly Cassels (Downingtown, PA/Great Valley) opened the scoring 15:13 into the half off an Eileen Keever (Prospect Park, PA/Interboro) assist. Cortland tied the game 50 seconds later when senior Jessie Lynch (West Islip) converted a pass from junior Jennifer Willis (Huntington/Walt Whitman). Willis set Cortland's single-season assist record during her three-assist performance in the second round Saturday, and added two in the quarterfinals to increase her total this spring to 36.

F&M took the lead on a goal by freshman Shannon Summers (North Wales, PA/The Hill School) with 11:08 left in the half and added a Cassels goal with 8:08 remaining to lead 3-1 and become the first team this season to lead Cortland at halftime. The Diplomats outshot Cortland, 12-7, in the opening 30 minutes and held a 21-13 ground ball advantage.

Cortland, however, dominated most of the second half. The Red Dragons outshot F&M in the period, 12-4, and grabbed 13 ground balls to eight for the guests. Junior Ali Bourgal (Sachem) scored 3:01 into the period and senior Erin Lynn (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) added a goal 5:32 into the half to tie the game at 3-3.

A Willis unassisted goal with 20:42 left in the game gave Cortland the lead for good at 4-3. Willis then set up junior Gina Fazio (Brownville/General Brown) for a goal with 17:37 left to put the Red Dragon up by two. F&M responded with 12:20 left on a goal by freshman Jen Pritchard (Media, PA/Penncrest) to pull within 5-4.

Lynn caused a turnover with 6:46 remaining with F&M looking for the tying goal. The Diplomats got the ball back with 4:04 left when Sarah Meisenberg (Severna Park, MD/Severn School) scooped up a loose ball, but they turned the ball over to Cortland 15 seconds later on an attempted clear. Cortland capitalized when Bourgal assisted junior Andrea Venditti (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) with 3:10 left for her team-high 66th goal of the season and 100th as a Red Dragon.

F&M won the ensuing draw control, but the Red Dragons stole the ball and ran almost two minutes off the clock before turning the ball back on a bad pass with 58 seconds to go. The Diplomats' final possession ended on a Willis caused turnover with 40 seconds on the clock.
Score by Period       1  2  Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 3 1 - 4
SUNY Cortland....... 1 5 - 6

Franklin & Marshall SCORING:
GOALS: Kelly Cassels 2; Jen Pritchard 1; Shannon Summers 1.
ASSISTS: Kiki Foster 1; Eileen Keever 1.

GOALS: Jennifer Willis 1; Ali Bourgal 1; Erin Lynn 1; Gina
Fazio 1; Andrea Venditti 1; Jessie Lynch 1.
ASSISTS: Jennifer Willis 2; Ali Bourgal 1.

Shots by period 1 2 Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 12 4 - 16
SUNY Cortland....... 7 12 - 19

Ground balls by prd 1 2 Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 21 8 - 29
SUNY Cortland....... 13 13 - 26

Draw controls by prd 1 2 Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 1 3 - 4
SUNY Cortland....... 4 4 - 8

Saves by period 1 2 Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 3 2 - 5
SUNY Cortland....... 4 2 - 6

Fouls by period 1 2 Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 2 6 - 8
SUNY Cortland....... 7 5 - 12

Turnovers by prd 1 2 Tot
Franklin & Marshall. 12 9 - 21
SUNY Cortland....... 10 5 - 15


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