Sloma shines in Bears loss at Oneonta


ONEONTA, N.Y. - The SUNY Potsdam men's lacrosse team (5-4, 1-2 SUNYAC) fell 5-4 to Oneonta State (3-9, 1-3) in a low scoring defensive battle. The Red Dragons outshot the Bears 52-26 in the contest, but senior goalie Stefan Sloma made a career-high 24 saves to keep the Bears in the game. Junior midfielders Jared Flath (Dexter, N.Y./General Brown) and Derek Frost each scored twice for Potsdam. Jim van de Veerdonk had two goals for Oneonta.

The Red Dragons controlled much of the play from the start. Oneonta struck first at 11:38 with a goal from van de Veerdonk. Flath found the back of the net at 8:17 to tie the score 1-1. Just seven seconds later the Red Dragons went on an extra-man opportunity and capitalized at 7:52 with van de Veerdonk's second of the day. Oneonta gained some momentum and added another goal at 5:47 to build a 3-1 advantage that they took into the first break.

During the second quarter, Potsdam chipped away at the Red Dragon's lead thanks to strong goalie play from Sloma, who held Oneonta scoreless in the quarter. The Red Dragons outshot the Bears in the first half 25-13, but the Bears were able to keep Oneonta to just three goals in the half. At 13:37 in the second, Frost buried a feed from freshman midfielder Pat Bonafede to cut the Red Dragon's lead to just one. After a back-and-forth quarter, Potsdam was able to end the drought with 1:51 remaining in the period on Frost's second tally. The goal knotted the game at 3-3 going into the half.

At the start of the third quarter Sloma continued to frustrate Oneonta, stopping five Red Dragon shots before they finally solved him at 7:18 to make the count 4-3. The Bears answered 53 seconds later as Flath beat Oneonta goalie Chris Miles at 6:35 to tie the score. The Red Dragons regained the lead for good just over a minute later with an unassisted goal from Devon Casey. Oneonta led 5-4 after 45 minutes.

As the fourth quarter got underway, the Red Dragons continued their barrage of shots, but the Bears held their ground. Sloma kept the Bears in the game, making save after save to keep the Red Dragons at bay. The final quarter remained scoreless, but Potsdam had its chances to tie. With 2:33 remaining in the game senior defender Nick Peryea (Liverpool, N.Y./Liverpool) took the ball the length of the field and rang the post with a shot. Oneonta gathered the rebound and controlled the ball for the remainder of the game.

Sloma's 24 stops were the most by a Bears' goalie since All-American Ryan Hanretty stopped 26 against Cortland on May 4, 2005. Miles made 12 saves to earn the victory for the Red Dragons. Oneonta collected 33 ground balls to Potsdam's 18 and won 10 of the 13 faceoffs.

Potsdam is on the road again on Tuesday, when the Bears match up against the St. Lawrence Saints in a nonconference battle. The Bears' next conference game will be at home on April 20, against the Geneseo Blue Knights at 1 p.m.