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Mighty Oaks Sweep HVIAC Tournament Men's and women's cross-country, soccer teams win conference titles10/29/2018

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The Mighty Oaks men

It was raining acorns all weekend at the 2018 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) tournaments.

The ESF women's cross-country team brought home the first title of the weekend, winning its third conference title in the last four years.

Senior Marissa Lathrop repeated as individual champion as ESF posted a perfect score.

Lathrop bested a field of 40 on a muddy course with a 5-kilometer time of 23:35, a 13-second victory over ESF freshman Cassidy Engleson (23.48) and 21 seconds over senior classmate Erin Cuddihy (23:56) in third place. Sophomores Erin Cocca (24:03) and Cori Conlon (24:27) rounded out the scoring five for ESF.

The Mighty Oaks had the top eight finishers and 13 of the 15 receiving medalist honors for a convincing 35-point victory over Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (50 points), which claimed runner-up honors for the second straight year. The College of New Rochelle (77 points) finished in third place, rounding out the scoring teams.

In the men's race, senior Ethan Applegren led a field of 51 for the individual title as the Mighty Oaks posted a perfect score to win the conference title.

The Mighty Oaks captured their fourth straight league title since joining the conference in 2015, compiling perfect scores in capturing three of those titles.

Applegren covered the 8-kilometer course in 30:04 for a 35-second victory over ESF senior James Boyd (30:39). The 2017 individual champion, sophomore Mark McClenahan (31:00), crossed in third place with sophomore Howard Haines (31:20) and Ben Wasserman (31:50) rounding out the scoring five for the Mighty Oaks. The ESF team claimed 14 of the 15 medalist spots and had 18 runners in the top 25.

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences junior Colin Sirard (32:27, 9th) cracked the top 10 to lead the Panthers (60 points) to runner-up honors for the sixth straight year. Berkeley College (81 points) matched its highest finish since 2014 in third place while Davis College (110 points) notched its best finish in fourth place. Vaughn College (112 points) roundied out the five scoring teams.

The cross-country teams will now prepare for the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association national championship Nov. 9 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Soccer
On the soccer pitch, the Mighty Oaks women's soccer team won its third straight league title, upending Albany Pharmacy 3-0.

Regular-season champion Albany Pharmacy raced past No. 4 seed New Rochelle, 13-0, in the first semifinal and ESF defeated No. 3 King's, 3-0, in a rematch of last year's semifinal to set up the finals showdown.

Similar to the 2-1 double-overtime loss in the regular season, ESF scored early with a Lindsay Eberhart goal just 4:20 into the contest. A close opening 45 minutes saw limited opportunities for both squads and the Mighty Oaks carried a 1-0 lead at the intermission. The second half saw play open up, with shots 10-3 in favor of the Mighty Oaks, and insurance goals in the 52nd and 65th minutes by junior Alyssa Hughes and senior Rachel Truska helped seal the team's third straight title.

For her efforts in the midfield leading to no goals surrendered in the tournament, senior Sarah Wohlfahrt was named Tournament MVP.

An exciting tournament on the men's side saw all three games decided by one goal. No. 2 seed ESF defeated No. 4 seed College of New Rochelle (CNR), 2-1, to capture the 2018 conference title.

The first semifinal saw New Rochelle stun regular-season champion and top seed Berkeley College, scoring an equalizer in the final minute of regulation to force overtime and netting the game-winner 11 seconds into the extra session to knock off the Knights, who were undefeated in league play this year. The second semifinal found No. 3 seed King's College unable to hold on to its 1-0 halftime lead with ESF scoring in the 52nd (junior Luke Day) and 77th (senior Nick Schiera) minutes to advance to its third straight title game.

CNR struck first in the final game with Xavier Cruzata finding the back of the net in the 20th minute. But the Blue Angels' bid to become the first No. 4 seed to win the league title would fall short as the Tournament MVP, senior Matt Hoppe, scored the equalizer with less than 15 minutes left to play. The Mighty Oaks placed another in the cage three minutes later off the foot of Day to seal their second title in the last three years.

With the victory, the men's and women's soccer teams claim the conference's automatic bid to the USCAA National Championship held Nov. 8-12 in Virginia Beach. The Mighty Oaks will learn their seeding for the six-team tournament when the field is announced Oct. 30.

Recap courtesy of the HVIAC