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‘Good-Knight’ — Brockport advances to SUNYAC Finals

Madeline McCrosson after making what would be the winning save in penalty kicks. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder)

The Brockport women’s soccer team topped the defending SUNYAC champion Geneseo Knights in a penalty shootout that ended 6-5 in the Golden Eagles’ favor. Elaine George scored the winning penalty shot after keeper Madeline McCrosson made a save on Abby Foster.

Brockport earned a two-goal lead just after the start of the second half, but it was short-lived. The defending champs scored two minutes after Brockport and made it a tie game by the 75th minute. Geneseo dominated possession after their first goal but the Golden Eagles back four held on and kept the game level.

“There are some games where you’re gonna have lots of the ball and there are some games you’re not gonna have lots of the ball and this is one of them,” Brockport head coach Mike Idland said. “We talked to the team about this thing being much more about territory and picking and choosing moments.”

The Golden Eagles’ first moment came in only the sixth minute of play, Jaylah Cossin brought the ball to the edge of the box and played a short pass to freshman Amelia Breton. From the top of the 18-yard box, she played a lateral pass to Karlie Mann who was wide open to drill a grounder into the far-side corner.

McCrosson’s calm was her key to keeping composed for the full 110 minutes plus PKs. Neither team looked poised to score aside from the opening goal, much of the first half was played in the middle third of the field. It would not have been clear to an uninformed fan that this was a six-seed against a two-seed. If anything, Brockport looked like the underdog, their first goal was the Golden Eagle’s only shot of the first half.

“As you watched them play through the year they are themselves it was just here or there balls weren’t going in the net,” Idland said. “I watched them live playing against Plattsburgh and they really opened it up against them, I don’t think there was any doubt what they’d bring to the game today.”

The Golden Eagles started off the second half with the fire they needed. It was a scene Brockport has been all too familiar with as Cossin scored on a breakaway three minutes into the half.

“Kellie (Gentile) sent a ball right up, and we practice this a lot, I ran over and got the ball and went right to goal,” Cossin said. “They can have possession the whole game, but it takes one shot to score a goal.”

The second Geneseo goal was a gut punch, McCrosson lost the ball between her legs on a cross that she tried to intercept. It bled into the net with little to no velocity and tied the game for the Knights. There were 35 more minutes of deadlocked soccer. Much like the first half, it was Geneseo dominated in possession, but the Golden Eagles were calm cool and collected.

By the time overtime rolled around, it was evident that Geneseo would score, or Brockport would have an opportunity in a penalty shootout. Geneseo had 13 shots in the final 35 minutes compared to Brockport’s three. The Golden Eagles went into the shootout with the warmer goalie and that proved to be the deciding factor. As Geneseo’s sixth shooter drove through the ball McCrosson guessed right and extended to the ball. She batted it away and folded over herself on the ground. George finished the job and sent Brockport into the SUNYAC Championships for the first time since 2008 when they fell to Oneonta.

“What’s been characteristic of us through the year is being tough to score against and being stingy,” Idland said. “I think we just try to bring a normal level of production on that side of the game to the final on Saturday and that should put us in good shape to compete to win that one.”

The Golden Eagles will face top-seeded Cortland as they go for their first SUNYAC title since 2006 in what is their last season before heading to the Empire 8. Their regular season matchup was a 0-0 draw. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday in Cortland.

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