CORNING - The Corning Hawks boys lacrosse team is seeking redemption.
Despite a 14-3 record and an undefeated record in Section IV play, the norm for a Corning lacrosse program is sectional titles and appearances in the state tournament. Something the squad looks to rectify after a recent string of near-misses.
“Every year we have high expectations,” Corning head coach Chris Hogue said. “We want to regain that sectional championship first and foremost and take it game by game after that. I think we have the potential to do some great things this year.”
Corning has dropped its last two sectional title contests to Ithaca including a heartbreaking 10-9 loss in overtime last season in the sectional finals.
The returning players have remembered those games, and this iteration of the Hawks is ready to get some much needed redemption against the Little Red and anyone that stands in their way.
“We’re super eager,” said senior midfielder Nick Nickerson. “Everyone is just hungry. Especially after how we lost in overtime. We worked so hard to get there. This year, we’re not going to let anything stop us, we’re going to give it everything we’ve got and hopefully win.”
Corning returns most of its offensive talent this year including Brendyn Hogue who registered 39 goals and 35 assists, Collin Neally who had 38 goals and eight assists along with Nickerson who added 28 goals and seven assists.
In addition, the Hawks return two face-off specialists in Alex Nazaryczk and Seth Grottenthaller who each were above 60 percent on face-off wins.
Elon Friends will patrol goal for Corning. The then-sophomore recorded a 60-percent save percentage last year as one of the top goalies in the section.
Defensively the Hawks only return one starter in Seth Hogue, but he was a defensive anchor allowing only 1.3 points per game to the top offensive player of the opponent.
"The strength of our team is our offense," said Nickerson. "We have a lot of returning offensive players. We don't have a lot of returning defensive players, but we have a lot of young talent on the defensive end. I can see the young players stepping up and us having a well-balanced team."
Corning will open up its regular season against Geneva on Tuesday at home at 7:30 p.m. and will travel to Vestal Thursday and wrap up against Fairport on Saturday at home.