By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
The Keuka College women's lacrosse team made history even before Wednesday afternoon's first-round NCAA contest against powerhouse SUNY Cortland.
But the Storm's sensational 2013 season came to an end with a 23-2 loss to No. 4 Cortland at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
Junior Taylor Smith (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder) and sophomore Kaycee Maguire (Potsdam, NY/Potsdam) each netted goals as Keuka (13-4) appeared in the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in program history.
"I am very proud of what this team was able to accomplish," said third-year coach Kelly Lickert, whose squads have compiled a 36-8 record in her time on campus.
"To make it to this point is great and now this is a stepping stone. It's something that we want to continue building this tradition and making it back to NCAA's in the future. This will always be a part of our future goals, to win the conference and make it to the NCAA's and hopefully in future years as we continue making it here we can start to win some first-round games."
Cortland will host a four-team regional on Saturday and Sunday and will take on either Kenyon (13-2) or Adrian (16-2) in the second round.
The Red Dragons (19-1) started fast as Maria Di Fato scored twice just 27 seconds apart early in the contest.
Cortland extended its lead to 3-0 on Emma Hayes-Hurley's free-position goal with 26:48 remaining in the first half, but Maguire got Keuka on the board when she picked up a groundball and fired a shot from in front of the cage that sailed into the far-right corner of the goal with 25:11 left in the opening half.
That would be as close as the Green and Gold would get against Cortland, making its 15th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, including back-to-back Final Four trips in 2011 and 2012.
The Red Dragons scored nine goals over a span of 17 minutes in the opening half, led 15-1 at halftime and won their first-round NCAA game for the 15th straight year.
The Storm, who set a program record for wins in a season, fell for just the second time in the last 13 games.
Cortland outshot Keuka 50-5, collected 29 groundballs to Keuka's 10 and went 21-for-27 on draw controls.
Senior Molly Hogan (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads), playing in her final collegiate game, made 13 saves for the Green and Gold.
Despite the loss, it was a banner year for Keuka. Junior Maggie Bonafede (Churchville, NY/Churchville-Chili) set a school-record with 98 points on 29 goals and a school-record 69 assists, and her 4.31 assists/game were third in the country among Division III.
Smith set a school record with 93 draw controls won, and her 70 goals were the second-most in a season in school history. The first-team All-NEAC midfielder finished with 82 points, the third-highest total in school history.
Moving forward, what advice does Lickert, whose Limestone (S.C.) teams qualified for the Division II Final Four in three of her four years, have for her student-athletes?
"I want our players to keep their heads held high, regardless of the score," said Lickert, who will graduate four seniors.
"We need to build from this. We took a lot away from last year's loss to Morrisville (in the NAC West championship), and we used that as revenge. From this point, we made it to the first round and now we have to build on this, to play better and be more prepared mentally and physically the next time we make it to the NCAA's."