By: Chamberlain Bauder
Against the odds, the Brockport women’s lacrosse team has made the SUNYAC Semifinals. Despite losing eight starters and the head coach, the team still produced a second round post season berth.
Since the season started, first year head coach Bryanna Glasser has had a motto.
“I am a firm believer you either win or you learn, there is no losing in my world,” Glasser said.
The non-conference season brought a lot of learning for Brockport. Three of their six non-conference games were against teams receiving national ranking votes. The Golden Eagles 1-4 through those six games, one was cancelled in the second quarter due to a snow storm. Conference play started with Cortland and so the learning continued.
As the season has gone on, Brockport’s seniors have been the players to shine. Cassidy Burnash leads the team in both goals and assists, notching a career best in each category this season. Courtney Cunningham has set a new standard for a Brockport midfielder this season. Not only is she third on the team in goals, she leads the teams in caused turnovers, ground balls, and draw controls. Erin Lant has been in goal since the second half of Brockport’s loss to Oswego in mid April. In that game the defense made their first move to a zone. Since then Brockport’s defense has flipped the switch, Lant is their captain and lead communicator.
The Golden Eagles also got two new coaches this season. A change that could’ve left Brockport stranded has proved to do nothing of the sort. Head coach Bryanna Glasser is a former Division 1 women’s lacrosse player at Hofstra. She formerly coached the silver medal team at the women’s lacrosse world championship and ran her own program as the head coach of Division 1 Siena College. Assistant coach Lyndsie Pratt was a four year starter at SUNY Brockport. Her time with the team included the SUNYAC championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Through her four years as a Golden Eagle the team went 20-5 in the SUNYAC.
The Brockport seniors have seen a major benefit from that. While former head coach Stephen Wagner was a true tactician, the seniors have appreciated hearing things from a former players perspective.
The core of young players has had to significantly step up. Alayna Foos, a sophomore midfielder, has been one of the shining stars offensively for two years now at Brockport. Setting a career high in goals and assists with 36 and 11 respectively. Defensively it has been a unit stepping up. A freshman, two sophomores, and a junior made up the defensive line. Before this season some hadn’t played defense and none had played on a line together.
They found their way through tough losses in conference play, following coaches motto of winning or learning. Oswego was where it all came to fruition. In the first half Brockport’s defense appeared at its worst so far in the year. In the second half freshman net minder Hannah Parsons was subbed out for senior keeper Erin Lant and the Golden Eagles implemented a zone defense. The score of the first half was 8-5 in favor of Oswego. The second half was 2-1 in favor of Brockport.
The only other Golden Eagles loss following the Lakers was at home against second ranked Geneseo. In that defensive grudge match the Knights easily came away with the win 10-4. However Brockport’s defense was not the group at fault, posting multiple shot clock violations against the Geneseo offense. The seniors have noticed the underclassmen taking that next step.
Now Brockport will carry a three game win streak into Cortland as they play the SUNYAC semifinal. The Red Dragons are on a nine game winning streak as they’ve been scorching the SUNYAC. They haven’t lost a game since March 22. Their first conference game of the year was against Brockport on March 25, tied 6-6 through three quarters. The Cortland roster size played the major difference as Brockport was visibly tired after the third. The Red Dragons capitalized on fast breaks due to Brockport’s midfield not being able to get back on defense. They went up by three goals in the first five minutes of the fourth and ended the game 10-8. However, that was 10 games ago.
“We have nothing to lose, they have nothing to lose. It’s just gonna be another battle. Obviously we’ve evolved, they’ve evolved and so whoever brings the most I guess… We’re more prepared, we’ve gotten so much better from back in March and we’re truly coming together and playing our best lacrosse,” Glasser said.
Brockport enters the second round of the postseason at 8-7, the worst record of any remaining team in the playoffs. The Golden Eagles have looked at each of those through different lens. Each loss is worn on their sleeve as it’s made the team who they are today. Brockport wins or they learn.