The last dance
Updated: May 5
By: Aiden Locke & Chamberlain Bauder
Cortland, NY --- The Brockport Golden Eagles 2023 campaign comes to an end in the SUNYAC semifinals.
Against the odds, the Brockport women’s lacrosse team made the SUNYAC Semifinals. Despite being a team that lost eight starters and its head coach, Brockport still produced a second-round post season berth after beating New Paltz in the first round.
The semifinal game didn't go exactly to plan as the Golden Eagles fell 19-8 against the Cortland Red Dragons. Since the start of the season, head coach Bryanna Glasser has said all season long that she is a firm believer in the motto of: You either win or you learn.
The Golden Eagles have had to do a lot of learning this season, especially in the early parts of the season. The non-conference season brought a lot of learning for Brockport. Three of their six non-conference games were against teams receiving national ranking votes. The Golden Eagles were 1-4 through those six games, one was cancelled in the second quarter due to a snowstorm. Conference play started with Cortland and so the learning continued. The result in the first matchup with Cortland was a tough fought 10-8 loss with the game being tied 6-6 through the first three quarters.
As the season has gone on, Brockport’s seniors have been the players to shine. Cassidy Burnash leads the team in both goals and assists, notching a career best in each category this season. Courtney Cunningham has set a new standard for a Brockport midfielder this season. Not only is she third on the team in goals, she also leads the teams in caused turnovers, ground balls, and draw controls. Erin Lant has been in goal since the second half of Brockport’s loss to Oswego in mid-April. In that game the defense made their first move to a zone. Since then, Brockport’s defense has flipped the switch and improved considerably, Lant is their captain and lead communicator for not just the defense, but the whole team.
The core of young players has had to significantly step up. Alayna Foos, a sophomore midfielder, has been one of the shining stars offensively for two years now at Brockport. Setting a career high in goals and assists with 39 and 11 respectively. Defensively it has been a unit stepping up. A freshman, two sophomores, and a junior made up the defensive line. Before this season some hadn’t played defense and none had played on a line together.
The Golden Eagles also got two new coaches this season. A change that could’ve left Brockport stranded has proved to do nothing of the sort. Head coach Bryanna Glasser is a former Division 1 women’s lacrosse player at Hofstra. She formerly coached the silver medal team at the women’s lacrosse world championship and ran her own program as the head coach of Division 1 Siena College. Assistant coach Lyndsie Pratt was a four-year starter at SUNY Brockport. Her time with the team included the SUNYAC championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Through her four years as a Golden Eagle the team went 20-5 in the SUNYAC. The two new coaches have established a culture of toughness and grit. They always look for ways to improve and maximize their efforts on both ends the field. The program appears to be the right hands as they move forward. The Brockport seniors have seen a major benefit from that. While former head coach Stephen Wagner was a true tactician, the seniors have appreciated hearing things from a former players perspective.
This final outing for the 2023 Brockport Golden Eagles team saw Courtney Cunningham bag a four-goal performance, which gave a total of 35 for her senior campaign. The Golden Eagles started strong, quickly going up 2-0 within the first three minutes of the game. Alayna Foos scored a hat-trick in the game as well which brought her season total to 39.
The star of the game however was Cortland graduate student Hannah Keech who had eight goals, six of which came in the first quarter. Keech would pick up an unfortunate injury in the third quarter after collision with a teammate causing her to sustain a lower-body injury. She wouldn't return to the game, preventing her from potentially breaking a SUNYAC playoff record for goals in a game along with a Cortland record for goals in a game. Junior attacker Toni Cashman would pick up a hat-trick in the second half after Keech's early departure.
It appears to be business as usual in the SUNYAC as Cortland and Geneseo will faceoff for the SUNYAC final and a trip to the Division III NCAA Tournament.