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Bounces go wrong way for ladies in pair of losses

By Leif Reigstad
On April 17, 2013


Before Saturday's home game against No. 4 Cortland, Buffalo State lacrosse coach Meg
Stevens had her team visualize the last 10 seconds of a tight game.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, who lost to the Red Dragons 8-3 on senior day, things
didn't play out on the field quite the way they had pictured them in the locker room.
"Coach (Stevens) had us close our eyes before the game," said senior attack Sarah
Kirchberger, who was one of two Bengals to score. "She counted down like, 'you're up
by one and there's 20 seconds left, how do you feel?' I think that really got us all going."
Buffalo State came out strong, scoring the game's first two goals. Junior attack Becca
Martinez scored eight minutes in off a pass from senior attack Ashley Caporizzo.
Kirchberger extended the lead three minutes later, scoring unassisted.
Cortland answered with three straight goals before Martinez ended the run, scoring with
five minutes left in the half off of another pass from Caporizzo. That would be the last
goal for the Bengals.
The Red Dragons (12-1 overall, 5-0 SUNYAC) scored twice before halftime, and scored
again with 17 minutes left in the second half to make it 6-3.
Cortland scored two goals with less than two minutes left in the game to put things out of
Despite holding a 24-17 advantage in shots and controlling possession for most of the
game, the Bengals were unable to capitalize, leading to their lowest offensive output
since at least 2008.
"We just couldn't place our shots and their goalie came up big," Kirchberger said. "We
knew what she was going to do, but we just didn't perform like we knew how. Their
goalie was good. Besides the fact that we shot it right at her, she came up with a few big
While Buffalo State struggled on offense, its defense held Cortland, which averages
almost 14 goals per game, to its lowest goal total since a 13-7 loss to No. 2 Salisbury
(MD) in March.
"The whole team played defense," Kirchberger said. "We came in with such a defensive
mindset, that's why they only scored six goals - two of them were on an empty net, so
they only scored six. The middles came back to play defense, the attack came back to
play defense. It was just a very good all-around defensive game by us."
After the game, Martinez said the team felt good about its performance.
"We felt like we should have beat them," Martinez said. "But we were still happy with
how we competed against them, keeping them to such a low score was just phenomenal
stuff for us as a team, because it shows that we can actually play at that level."
But the solid defensive effort was not enough to get the win. The Bengals, sitting in fifth
place in the SUNYAC with three games left - all on the road- now find themselves
with some work to do if they want to extend the program's streak of six straight playoff
The Bengals are currently seventh in the SUNYAC standings, just half a game behind
Geneseo and Oneonta for the fifth and final playoff spot. But the league is tight. Five
teams are within two games of a playoff spot, and a lot can change between now and the
end of the regular season.
"We're going to need to win some games to control our own fate," Stevens said. "So
right now that's our only job. We're not trying to think about anybody else, we're just
thinking about us. We're trying to win out."
Although they lost, Stevens said her team put together some of the best lacrosse they've
played all year and hopes this game can be a turning point for the Bengals in a season
plagued by inconsistency.
"When you (play) one of the best teams in the country to a final score of 8-3, you can't
be disappointed," Stevens said. "I think you've got to be happy with it. We had a few bad
bounces and we hit the pipe about for times in the second half. We just couldn't put the
ball in the back of the net."
Stevens used the pregame visualization exercise to prepare her team mentally for the task
of facing a top opponent. If the Bengals could have converted just a few more of their
shots to goals, it could have paid off with a big win.
"To beat a nationally ranked team, you've got to have true belief that you can do that and
you've got to see yourself doing that," Stevens said. "I think for us it's as much mental as
physical this year. I thought it was important that the kids saw themselves winning (and)
imagine what it would feel like to win this game when you are an absolute underdog."
On Tuesday, the Bengals traveled to play no. 17-ranked Fredonia, their second straight
game against an opponent that us nationally ranked.
Buffalo State fell behind early, and entered the half trailing 5-1. They were able to close
the gap to three goals early in the second half, but the Blue Devils eventually pulled away
en route to a 13-5 win.
The loss drops the Bengals to 7-7 overall and 2-4 in SUNYAC play. Buffalo State's next
game is at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Geneseo.
Leif Reigstad can be reached by email at or on Twitter

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