Brockport women's soccer look to stay golden in postseason
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 16:10
After two weeks of preparation, the Brockport women’s soccer team is set to host the Cortland Red Dragons in a SUNYAC Tournament semifinal battle at Roberts Wesleyan at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2. The meeting will be the opponents’ second of the season after Brockport defeated Cortland 3-2 in the first matchup.
The matchup was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, but harsh weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy forced the tournament to be postponed.
Brockport enters the game as the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Brockport won the regular season conference title after going 7-1-1 in the SUNYAC. Its only loss was to Oneonta (1-3) Sept. 28 and its only tie was to New Paltz (1-1) the following day.
As a result of winning the conference title, Brockport received a first-round bye. The bye provided the Eagles with a week and a half of rest, as the last game they played was against Plattsburgh Oct. 20. The Eagles won that matchup 2-1.
The Red Dragons are the No. 4 seed and advanced to the semifinals after shutting out No. 5 Buffalo State 3-0 Oct. 27. In the regular season, Cortland had an overall record of 9-4-5 and a 5-2-2 record in the SUNYAC.
Given the choice between playing Buffalo State and Cortland, Head Coach Joan Schockow said it didn’t really matter to the team.
“Both are quality teams that we beat earlier in the season, who both have wanted to beat us because of the revenge factor,” said Schockow.
Brockport defeated Buffalo State 3-1 Sept. 21 and Cortland 3-2 Oct. 20. The Dragons will be looking to avenge a last-minute defeat to Brockport after junior forward Vanessa Gillette scored a goal with 38 seconds remaining. Prior to the win, Brockport had not won a single game against Cortland since the 2008 season.
Gillette said in order to prepare for Cortland, Brockport needed to stay focused in practice and keep the fire of wanting to win burning in its heart.
Gillette is just one of Brockport’s many keys to beating the Red Dragons, as she was both Brockport and the SUNYAC’s leading scorer in the regular season. She scored a total of 16 goals and 38 points. The conference’s next leading scorer was Samantha Abravanel of New Paltz. Abravanel finished the regular season with nine goals and 23 points.
Another key player for Brockport will be senior midfielder Sarah Lawson. Lawson leads the team in assists with nine and has four goals and 17 points. In Brockport’s win over Plattsburgh, Lawson set the school record for most career assists after accumulating 27 over a total of four years with the team.
Lawson said in the team’s mind, Cortland is Brockport’s biggest rival and Brockport wants the win more than Cortland because it was the first time her class had beaten the Dragons.
She said the Brockport offense can be very successful against the Dragons’ defense, but the defense must look out for Cortland’s midfield and restarts.
Should Brockport defeat Cortland, it would go on to play the winner of Oneonta and Fredonia for the championship. The Eagles beat Fredonia 5-1 Sept. 22, and at the time the Devils were No. 22 in Division III.
If Brockport is crowned the tournament champion, it would be the third time in school history and second time under Schockow. Brockport also won the championship under Schockow in 2006.
Schockow said this year’s squad is different from 2006’s because, “the 2006 team started off the season doing okay, then came on like gangbusters and won over 10 games straight on our way to the title. This team has been strong from the beginning, [and] now we have to see if we can keep it up.”
Brockport has yet to lose a game at home or a neutral site this season and a win in the semifinals would give the Eagles an 8-0 record as a host team and 2-0 at neutral sites.
“Losing is not an option,” Lawson said. “We aren’t leaving the field without a win.”