After a close rivalry game and with only a few games left in the regular season, the McGraw Eagles fell 1-2 against the Cincinnatus Lions at home.
Coming into the game the Eagles were 8-4 overall, and were looking to even out the score with the Lions after a 3-1 loss at SUNY Cortland in September.
The game started off with Cincinnatus controlling the pace in the midfield and immediately trying to break into McGraw's defense.
Then five-minutes into the first half, Cincinnatus junior midfielder Nolan Rice scored the first goal of the game off a scramble in the middle of the box after receiving a cross from sophomore midfielder Cason Stafford.
The Lions then went on to press McGraw, barely allowing them keep possession of the ball or get through passes down the middle.
Therefore, McGraw began to rely on counter attacks down the sidelines that were very effective. As the Eagles then scored with 18:42 left in the first half to tie the game 1-1. The goal was scored by senior forward, Evan Ignatowski off an assist from sophomore midfielder Jackson Card.
With McGraw looking like they were back in the game, the Lions quickly shut them down with sophomore midfielder Scott Schuyler chipping the ball into the goal to give Cincinnatus a 1-2 lead before the end of the first half.
"Coming off that win Saturday against Poland, I thought it was going to help, which it did a little bit as a big confidence boost; but we just didn't finish our chances tonight," said McGraw head coach Jamey Crumb. "We weren't connecting our passes the way we needed to. We were hitting the flanks, but we were always a step to late tonight."
Coming into the second half, the game became more physical with both teams battling it out in the midfield.
Then with 22 minutes left in the game, Cincinnatus was left with only ten men in the field; after junior Josh Smith was given a red card after fouling McGraw's Jackson Card. This was Smith's second yellow card of the game, as he received his first yellow just a few minutes before after fouling McGraw's Styler Barrows.
Even with one man down however, the Lions for the most part, still kept control of the midfield.
"When we went down to ten players we had to change some things up, but you have to keep playing," said Cincinnatus head coach Gordon Brown. "You can never stop playing no matter the circumstances. That's what I teach the boys. If they go the rest of the season like that, then when it comes to sectionals time, they will understand everything."
McGraw has three more games left in the regular season before sectionals, while Cincinnatus only has two.
"I think our league is one of the toughest to play in our class, so I think that is always going to be an advantage going into sectionals," said coach Crumb. "Playing against all of these tough opponents helps to know that we can play with anyone. So going in, we just have to fix our little things."
Here are some photos of yesterday's game (all photos provided by Ross Cohen/Cortland Voice):