January 16, 2012


Trojans sweep up CHS before rivals part ways


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Logan McEvoy (9) and Katie Sinclair (18) of Homer Central leap to block a shot by Marissa Travis (13) of Cortland High on Saturday. Host Homer won in three sets.

Staff Writer

A good midday crowd was on hand for a little volleyball history Saturday at Homer High School when neighboring Cortland High came to town.
Homer Central’s Trojans ran their winning streak to 31 consecutive matches with the 25-15, 25-13, 25-22 OHSL victory over the Purple Tigers in what will be the final meeting between the two schools for a while.
Homer — now 13-0 overall and 12-0 in league matches — is joining the movement to the fall season for the opportunity to pursue the shot at possible regional and state titles. Cortland (5-6 in league and overall play) is remaining in the winter season.
“It is going to funny that our team won’t be playing Cortland anymore, at least for a while,” Homer senior setter Taryn Heath said. “I think the move to the fall is the right thing for the team. It’s more competition, but I think the players we have coming back will do alright.
“Right now we just do what we have to do and keep winning matches,” she added. “I know we have a real good streak going, but I’m not really trying to think about it.”
“I never even thought about it until right now,” senior middle hitter Katie Sinclair said of the final Cortland match for now. “It’s actually kind of sad to not be playing volleyball against them. I’ll never play them again and it will be a while for the girls returning. I’m glad we could go out on a high note.”
“I was thinking about that this morning,” Homer coach Brian Fox said. “I didn’t want to bring in up to the girls and put any added pressure on them.”
In the first two sets, Homer used four and five-point runs to build up early leads and coasted to the win. While using those runs, the Trojans also held Cortland to just one and two-points spurts with a good return of serve defense which transitioned to quick-start offensive plays.
Sinclair had two good serving streaks in the first game, including a five-serve streak late that took the set to 24-11. Emily Cottrell and Jessica Mitchell were part of four-point streaks. Cottrell (5 digs) and Lainee Reed (4 digs) helped by getting to the Cortland serves and keeping the ball in play in both games.
“Serving is such an important part of the game,” Sinclair said. “When we put solid defense together with good serving, it turns out well for us.”
In the second set, it was Sinclair, Cottrell and Heath building the advantage while serving. Of course, it was Heath’s sets (20 assists) that also led to the big hits by Sinclair (eight kills, three aces, three blocks), Lauren Smith (five kills, three blocks), Mitchell (three kills), Logan McEvoy (two kills) and Jessica Walter (three kills) throughout the match.
“Our defense is getting better every game,” Heath said. “We couldn’t do it without a good defensive effort. We are a very well-rounded team and that has been a big part of our success.”
“We have had a habit of digging ourselves into a hole,” Cortland coach Cheri Olson said. “We had too many mistakes today. Against some teams you can make mistakes, Homer is not one of them. I am very proud of the girls today. We have improved so much this year. We have the skills, it’s the mental part that gets to them.
“With our record (2-14) against Homer over the past few years, this was a match that was much more fun to watch,” she added. “The girls just figured it was the last time we would be facing Homer. They are in Class B this year and we’re in A, plus they are moving to the fall. We just wanted to play today and have fun.”
In the third set, Cortland put its best effort in all six sets it played against the Trojans this season.
Jenna Gregory (14 assists) was setting the ball for Marissa Travis (six kills, seven digs), Maddie Dorward (four kills) and Zakarra Butts (four kills). Katie Dovi (four aces). They helped keep the game close until Homer took the lead for good at 18-17 and pulled away enough for the victory.
“It is the right move for our team,” Fox said of the move to the fall season. “It’s important to get that exposure for the girls and for our school. Volleyball right now is the only team that doesn’t have a chance at a regional or state title. It’s going to be hard, but it is the best thing to do.”
As for the move, Olson explained why the Purple Tigers aren’t moving.
“It doesn’t make sense for our girls, who only have basketball and bowling in the winter other than volleyball,” she said. “Splitting the girls among six or seven sports in the fall is going to hurt all the teams. We could certainly lose some girls to those other sports. It just makes sense to stay where we are.”
HOMER JVs swept Cortland High in an exciting match featuring two teams with just three losses each. The Trojans improved to 10-3 overall winning 25-17 and 28-26 in the two sets that counted. The Purple Tigers (8-4) won the third exhibition game 25-22.
“It was the best comeback of the season for us,” Homer coach Jeremy Cook said after his team came back from an 18-23 deficit in the second set to seal the match win. “We have had a number of second sets like that this year and never really pulled out a win like that before. I’m not sure what it is, maybe we relax after that first game too often.”
“I’m not disappointed in how our girls played,” Cortland coach Lara Almansberger said. “It just wasn’t meant to be today. The girls pushed themselves and they keep getting better and playing harder. These girls are a very coachable group and that is helping to make us a better team. The girls are stepping up when asked to.”
Hannah McEvoy had a solid match to lead Homer. The sophomore outside hitter had eight kills and four digs. Tanya Priadoun added nine assists, two aces and two digs while Mikayla MacNeill delivered four aces, two kills and two blocks. Taylar Williams chipped in with three aces and two digs.
Lyudmila Levitskaya led the Purple Tigers with four digs and three kills. Emma Lang aided the visitors with five kills, Danielle Lynch added five assists, Shelina Carrion (four assists), Kayla Holl (three digs), Jacklyn Hoch (two aces), Liz Ferro (three digs, two kills) and Clare Bardsley (two blocks, two digs) all contributed.
Cortland returns to OHSL play Tuesday hosting Jordan-Elbridge, while Hannibal visits Homer Wednesday.


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