Hernandez powers O-State to SUNYAC title game


Witman Hernandez celebrates after beating Cortland goalie Sean Kelly for his second goal in the second half of Wednesday's game at Red Dragon Field.

Witman Hernandez slotted two goals in SUNY Oneonta's 2-0 win over rival SUNY Cortland Wednesday afternoon in the semifinal round of the SUNYAC tournament at Red Dragon Field.

After a scoreless first half, Hernandez went to work in the second, scoring in the 73rd and 82nd minutes to push the Red Dragons to the conference final.

"Witman has to be the best player in the country,"coach Iain Byrne said in a media release. "The goals he scored were two of the best I've ever seen."

Hernandez potted his first goal on a tap-in after kicking the ball loose from Cortland keeper Sean Kelly from the left side of the box.

About a minute later, Hernandez put SUNY Oneonta ahead, 2-0, on an individual effort that saw the senior cut around a Cortland defender before ripping a shot into the lower left corner.

The strikes counted as Hernandez's 21st and 22nd goals of the season.

"I thought we were tremendous in the second half and Witman and Birdie were dangerous throughout the match,” Byrne added. “Our defenders fly under the radar, but they have been outstanding for us."

Red Dragons goalie Nate Hanna recorded seven saves as the freshman earned his 10th win and seventh shutout of the season.

Shots and corners favored SUNY Oneonta 16-14 and 9-3, respectively.

The Red Dragons will face SUNY Plattsburgh in the conference final, a team they beat 3-0 in their season finale Oct. 26.

SUNY Oneonta (16-2) strives for its sixth conference title in the last 10 years Saturday as kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Red Dragon Field.

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