Cunningham soars on senior day
By: Chamberlain Bauder
BROCKPORT, N.Y. --- The SUNY Brockport women’s lacrosse team clinched a home playoff game to open the SUNYAC tournament after their 13-9 win over SUNY New Paltz last Saturday. It was senior day for the Golden Eagles and the seniors certainly showed out. Courtney Cunningham led the scoring with a six-point night. She scored five goals to lead Brockport and added one assist. Cassidy Burnash had a more quiet but still impactful three-point night, notching two goals and an assist in the win. The last senior was netminder Erin Lant. She made seven saves in the win, posting a .437 save percentage. Sophomore Alayna Foos was Brockport’s other major offensive factor, scoring two goals and finding two assists. Foos was looking to bounce back after only her second ever no goal performance last week on Wednesday against Geneseo.
Brockport started off on the defensive, Camryn Ryder of New Paltz was dominant on the draw control and it showed as the Hawks scored both the first and second goal of the game. After the second New Paltz goal, Cunningham earned a free position shot for Brockport. She scored it easily for her first of three free position goals on the day. Four minutes later Cunningham earned her second free position shot and scored that one as well, tying the game at two apiece.
The Hawks responded quickly as they won the ensuing draw control and set up in the offensive zone. Ryder scored her first goal of the day and put the Hawks back into the lead. Before the quarter could end each team traded goals again. With just under three minutes to go, Burnash got open on the wing and found a pass from Cunningham. She dodged by the defender and created a one-on-one with the goalie on the crease, Burnash found the back of the net going low far post. Less than a minute later the Hawks reestablished their lead as Maddie Gillis scored her from the free position.
After the opening quarter it was evident that the game would be decided by whichever team could extend past a two-goal lead. Brockport denied New Paltz that opportunity to start the second quarter. Only two minutes into the quarter Burnash found Cunningham inside. She finished her hat trick in 12 minutes and 50 seconds and tied the game at four. Brockport quickly rolled their momentum into two more goals and gained a two-goal lead for the first time after goals from juniors Brooke Beetow and Haley Chamberlain. The last Brockport goal caused Hawks coach Randy Vite to call the timeout. It proved to be the right call for New Paltz. After leaving the huddle the Hawks scored two goals in the closing three minutes of the game and sent the teams into halftime all tied up.
The third quarter was where Brockport pulled away, shutting out New Paltz and going on a four-goal run. Despite the senior day theatrics, it was two second year players who elevated Brockport over New Paltz. Paige Thowe scored two goals in the quarter while Foos scored a goal and notched an assist on Thowe’s second goal. The first came on the free position as Thowe created an opportunity for herself by drawing the defender into her shooting lane. Foos scored the second goal all on her own, driving inside past multiple defenders before taking a high percentage shot in front of net. The next was Cunningham’s fourth goal of the day, third from the 8-meter line, to put Brockport up 9-6 in the fifth minute of the quarter.
In the last minutes of the quarter Foos found Thowe on the outside and she drove in for her second goal of the day. The run extended to five as Cunningham put away her fifth goal in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. It was assisted by Foos as well. In the closing 12 minutes New Paltz outscored Brockport 3-2. Unfortunately for the Hawks the one goal difference would not be enough to overcome Brockport’s five goal margin.
There is a chance these two teams will face each other again in the opening round of the SUNYAC playoffs. However, Brockport will now turn their focus to Buffalo State in their last regular season game of the year. The Golden Eagles have already glued themselves into the fourth-place spot in the SUNYAC tournament.