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Bombers emerge victorious after bitter battle with Red Dragons

Senior+attacker+John+Sramac+battles+through+St.+John+Fisher+defenders+on+Feb.+25.+The+Bombers+defeated+the+Red+Dragons+12%E2%80%9311+after+a+back+and+forth+battle.
John Henry Downes
Senior attacker John Sramac battles through St. John Fisher defenders on Feb. 25. The Bombers defeated the Red Dragons 12–11 after a back and forth battle.

The Ithaca College men’s lacrosse team was able to do something the football team could not this academic year – defeat the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons. The Bombers were able to leave Higgins Stadium victorious, 12–11, clinging to victory as the two teams battled down to the wire. 

It took the first five minutes for either team to score, but senior attacker John Sramac scored the opening goal past Red Dragons senior goaltender Travis Wagner with 10:39 left in the first. Roughly thirty seconds later, senior attacker Charlie Niebuhr ripped his 25th goal of the season to give the Bombers some much-needed early momentum. 

With 8:30 left, the Red Dragons scored their first goal past Bombers’ graduate student goaltender Cole Corrigan, as first-year attacker Sean Kavanaugh ate the donut on the scoreboard to score his sixth goal of the season. Red Dragons’ junior attacker Sam Rothman was able to tie the game up a minute later. 

As the first quarter winded down, sophomore midfielder Andrew Benjamin put the South Hill squad on top with 3:39 left in the first. Both offenses winded down after that and the first quarter finished with the Bombers on top 3–2. 

After the Red Dragons equalized once again, Sramac pushed the Bombers in front with help from junior attacker Kyle Proctor, who quickly got the ball into the Red Dragons’ defensive zone. Neither team could hang onto a lead, as Red Dragons’ junior midfielder Klay Stuver tied the game again, this time at four a piece. 

Senior midfielder Bobby Kratochvil did it all by himself, wristing an unassisted goal past Corrigan to give the Red Dragons a 5–4 lead.  As a response, sophomore midfielder Sam Baker sliced through the Red Dragons’ defense, evening the score at five. A minute later, Niebuhr got his 30th goal in the cage to push the Bombers in front as the first half winded down. Proctor’s moonshot towards the net was somehow deflected off Sramac’s stick and past Wagner, which gave him a hat trick to conclude the first half with the Bombers on top 7–5. 

The second half started slow, with neither team being able to score in the opening minutes. Rothman cut the Bombers’ lead to one as the third quarter finally saw a goal. Baker responded to that goal with one of his own to put the Bombers up by two scores.

Red Dragons’ junior midfielder Ryan Eccles shot a laser through the top right part of Corrigan’s cage to narrow the Bombers’ lead to one score once more. Eccles was able to tie the game at eight shortly after. 

Those two goals lit a fire under the Bombers’ defense, as they were able to lock the Red Dragons’ offense up. Baker capitalized by getting his hat trick and putting the Bombers back on top with 15 minutes left to play. 

The Red Dragons came out blazing to begin the fourth quarter, as junior midfielder Ryan Scanlon tied it up within the first two minutes. 

Sramac scored the Bombers’ highlight of the night, flicking a close, no-look shot over his head to put the South Hill squad up 10–9 with eleven minutes left. The Red Dragons were able to answer quickly with junior attacker Caden Yancey’s goal to tie it up 10–10 as this bitter rivalry turned into an intense battle. 

Senior defense Hunter Wallace electrified the Higgins Stadium crowd with his lead-taking goal and the Bombers were back out in front with six minutes left in regulation. First-year midfielder Jack Gianuzzi quickly pushed the Bombers’ lead to two goals as the momentum shifted to the South Hill squad after the would-be backbreaking goal. 

The Red Dragons narrowed the lead down to one but it was with fifteen seconds left, and it would not give them enough time to tie it as the Bombers escaped Higgins Stadium with an electric 12–11 victory. 

After Baker’s hat-trick performance, he said he ranks this game at the top in his Bombers’ career. 

“This was my favorite game,” Baker said. “On our turf at 7 p.m., in front of all the students — it was a great game.”

As Sramac’s time on Higgins Stadium nears an end, he said he is grateful for every victory he can get. 

“I only have three games left here,” Sramac said. “We knew this was a huge rivalry game under the lights, with all the students here, it was great.”

With the hard-fought win, the Bombers are back at .500, sitting at 7–7 on the year. The Bombers will return to conference play when they travel to face Clarkson University at 1 p.m. April 20 in Potsdam, NY. 

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