CORTLAND - Fredonia State was eliminated from the SUNYAC women's lacrosse tournament with a 16-13 loss Friday to Buffalo State.
The Bengals had an 8-4 scoring advantage in the second half to avenge a 15-11 regular-season loss last month at Buffalo State. They will face perennial champ and No. 2 ranked Cortland at noon Saturday.
The loss dropped the Blue Devils to 14-4. They were hoping to advance to the SUNYAC championship game for the first time in program history.
"It was devastating," Fredonia State coach Chris Case lamented. "We had such great confidence going in. The way the game started, we were up 6-1 and then we fell apart."
Katie Kleine led the offense with five goals while Amy Simon had three goals and one assist. Megan Mietelski was credited with four draw controls while Simon had three ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Blue Devil goalkeeper Casey Chiesa made five saves. Her counterpart, Colleen George, had eight saves for Buffalo State. Eight Bengals had at least one goal led by Karen Shaddock and Mariah DeBolt with three each.
The game started well for the Blue Devils. They opened a 6-1 lead in the first 12 minutes, three of the goals by Kleine.
The quick start was wasted over the next three minutes. In that span, the Bengals scored six unanswered goals - and five straight draw controls - before the Blue Devils called time-out to regroup trailing 7-6.
"A lot of it was draw control," Case noted. "They did a very good job on draws. If we don't have the ball, we have to play defense. They won five straight and tied it just like that. Our defense wasn't the same as it has been. Buffalo State did a good job executing against us. They out-executed us."
The Blue Devils regained the lead, 8-7, when Kleine scored for the fifth time in the half as she cut through the middle of two defenders. Another set play, this one resulting in a goal by Kaila Fox, upped the advantage to 9-7, before Buffalo State scored the final goal of the first half to trail by one.
Buffalo State owned the second half. They won the opening draw control and scored immediately to forge a 9-9 tie. The teams traded goals over the next few minutes with Fredonia State taking its final lead, 12-11, on a free-position goal by Katie Glagolev with 20:31 remaining.
The Bengals took command by scoring the next three goals. In addition, they held Kleine without a goal in the second half.
Coming into the game, the Blue Devils were expected to merit consideration for at least an NCAA Division III at-large bid. How the loss effects their chances will be seen when the tournament field is announced after games this weekend.
"It's 50-50 now," Case said about his team's chances of making the tournament. "We have to wait and see what happens and see who wins conference tournaments. Hopefully the favorites win and hope we get a chance to play next Wednesday."
Should they not play again, the game Friday was the final one for seniors Simon, Mietelski, Karli Brinthaupt and Sara Ceraso.