Sunday - Hudson Valley Takes Bronze

- Hudson Valley controlled the game and won the bronze medal (7-5) in men's lacrosse at the 31st annual Empire State Games. The entire team contributed to the victory but the game was won on the exemplary achievements of two particular Valley players. Luke Haggerty in the goal and Cole McCormack's face off work was the difference for Hudson Valley.

HV-WESTCole McCormack (Rye) was the face-off man for Valley for the entire tournament. In today's game, McCormack was 11/15 (73%) and controlled the ball on many key plays during the game. He finished the tournament a 64.95% winning percentage in face-offs which included 63 face-off wins and 34 losses (including 18-8 on technicals). He picked up 26 face-off ground balls. McCormack is used to the pressure. In the NYS semi finals he picked up 9 ground balls against Mt. Sinai.

Luke Haggerty, of Clarkstown South, carried a 65.6% through the regular season, with 297 saves. In todays medal game, He finished with 18s/5ga (78%) and was instrumental in both stopping Western from taking a lead, as well as stopping the comeback attempt. In the tournament he finished with 29s/22ga (57%). Coming into the today's game, he had 11s (39%) but today was different. Haggerty had a number of back to back saves and demonstrative stops from the top Western attackmen, including holding Drew Coholan scoreless for the first time in the tournament.

Western was held scoreless from 7:04 remaining in the first until 9:22 remaining in the fourth (27:42). They scored the first goal of the game with an "accidental" goal. Mitch Keefer tried to feed the ball into the crease, but the passed was missed. It continued on and dribbled past the Haggerty. Valley came back with one of their own when Rob Santangelo found Will Stewart at the top left of the cage. Stewart threw a hard side arm shot that was stick-side low past Jonathon Lawless. Lawless finished with 8s/7ga for Western whose second goal occurred at 7:04, when Matt Springer found Nick Scalzo up top who put the shot off-stick high. Western was leading 2-1, however, the Valley scored the next six goals.

HV-WESTTo end the first quarter, Valley added two more goals. The first was a lefty shot, off a drive from the sideline, just above GLE by Tyler Perrelle. The second was a pass to the center of the crease by John Ranagan to Garrett Virtue. Hudson Valley led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Hudson Valley added three goals to their lead. The first was scored during man-down. Ethan Fox picked up a loose ball and cleared it up the field to Pat O'Callaghan who scored. The second was a straight dodge by Perrelle from the left side. That was followed a few minutes later by, Joe Marasco scoring after dodging three different opponents on his way down the left side. At the half, Valley led 6-2.

The lone third quarter goal was scored by Ranagan who dodge all the way across the center of the crease, taking on four different Western defensemen, before turning back to his right to shooting the ball into the back of the net. It was their final goal of the game, as they held their lead for the final quarter without adding any goals to their score.

Western scored three goals in the fourth quarter, two of which were EMO. The first goal was scored with 9:22 remaining in the game after a penalty was assessed for HV-WESTslashing. Nick Scalzo scored the goal with the feed coming from Kyle Van Thof. The second goal was scored when Springer drove from behind the net and with one hand on the stick made a jumping shovel shot that beat Haggerty off his stick side hip. The final goal was at 1:32 ad and scored by Scalzo and assisted by Keefer.

McCormack led Valley with seven groundballs. O'Callaghan added four and Haggerty, Garry, Litwak and Marasco each added three more. For Western, Del Prince added four and Tundo added three. Valley won the ground ball battle 38-26.

Hudson Valley only took 25 shots (15 on cage), while Western had 23 shots on cage (with 31 total shots). Western also had more takes with Del Prince (3) and AJ Glagolev (2) leading the charge. Perrelle also had two for Hudson Valley.

Valley played this game like all their other games. They were slow and methodical and the coaches never let them give up, back down, or become complacent. During the third quarter, the coaches were saying some of the same statements heard during the Long Island and Western comebacks. Hudson Valley's coaches did a remarkable job keeping their athletes ready to go regardless of the situation.