February 09, 2007


Trojans send Tigers packing


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s Rachel Perry, left, and Katie Wick team up to block a spike by Cortland’s Kaitlyn Glover during the Trojans’ Class A sectional victory Thursday night.

Staff Writer

It was easily one of the loudest local volleyball crowds ever. Homer Central and visiting Cortland High each had very vocal parents and other supporters in attendance Thursday for their Section 3 Class A first-round match-up.
It was also a very exciting match, as the fifth-seed Trojans lost the first game, 18-25, before winning the next three games by scores of 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 to seal the best-of-five match and advance to a 6 p.m. quarterfinal match at fourth-seed Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (12-5 overall) today. The Trojans improve to 12-6 with the win while the Purple Tigers ended their season at 5-11.
“I told the girls that teams have an off night,” said Homer coach Brian Fox. “That was what Cortland had when we played them the last time. I told them that it is tough to be a team three times in one season. I told the girls to not expect Cortland to just roll over in this match. It took time to get through the jitters in the first game before we settled down and played our type of game.”
“The crowd tonight was amazing,” Fox added. “I knew it was be big, but I did not think it would be that loud.”
“I was thrilled with our effort tonight,” said Cortland coach Mary Lou Bordwell. “We worked on defending their quick hits in the middle and we ran a different defense. We kept Kim Natoli back on defense the entire match. Of course, you like to win, but I am extremely pleased. We did a lot of good things tonight. The girls were happy that they did play well and that means a lot.”
Using some previous playoff appearance, Cortland broke a 3-3 tie in the first game with a 7-0 run behind the serving of senior Brittany Babcock.  The Purple Tiger lead grew to 15-6 before Homer mounted a small comeback bid.
Junior Shannan Keefe and sophomore McKenna Riley delivered key kills and unforced errors allowed the Trojans to narrow the gap to 14-17.
Cortland senior Katelyn Anderson served an ace to cap another mini-run by the Purple Tigers as their advantage became 20-14. Cortland and Homer traded points the rest of the first game before the Purple Tigers won 25-18.
Needing some momentum, five Trojan parents led the H-O-M-E-R cheer by standing in single-lettered tee-shirts and pumped life into their daughters. It was a successful tactics a number of times during the night as were the cheers from the Cortland faithful. It was well-mannered and respectful support for both teams, not some of the more derogatory stuff that often creeps into games these days. Kudos to both sides for their sportsmanship-like support throughout the match.
The second game saw Homer go to the power attack behind the hard-hitting kills of Wick, Keefe, Rachel Perry and Jessica Brown. Three kills and one deep drive by Wick helped Homer build a 4-1 lead, but Babcock and Anderson were not intimidated and helped Cortland take a 9-8 lead.
Brown powered a winning shot to the floor to even things at 9-9 and her six service points, including two aces, helped the Trojans build a 15-9 advantage.
Both teams continued to exchange points throughout the remainder of the game with Homer prevailing 25-18.
Game three was the pivotal point in this match. Cortland and Homer exchanged great digs and long back-and-forth volleys before points were earned. This was the tightest game of the night with six ties and six lead changes. Neither team led by more than four points.
Trailing 6-5, Babcock recorded two aces and kept her serves in play as Cortland scored five straight points for a 10-6 lead. Homer could not tie the match until the Trojans got the serve back after a Brown kill. That made the score 13-15 with Jen Warren serving for the Trojans. Brown and Wick combined on a point-block to pull the Trojans to within one at 14-15 before a long hit by the Purple Tigers went out-of-bounds to even the score at 15-15. Homer took the lead at 16-15 when Bordwell called time-out. Warren served an ace after the one-minute break for a 17-15 lead, but Cortland won the next two points to knot the score at 17-17.
The game remained tight and a kill by Purple Tiger senior Kaitlyn Glover even the score at 21-21. Cortland took a one point lead, which forced Fox to use a time-out.
The Trojans came out of the break and tied the game at 22-22 on a big kill by Perry. Wick served an ace for a 23-22 Homer lead and the sophomore served out the game. Riley’s kill put the Trojans up by two before the final Trojan point made the score 25-22 and gave the home team a two games to one advantage.
Homer tried to make game four a runaway early when senior Mary Phelps went to the service line with a 4-3 lead. She put the ball in play, two Wick kills and winning shot down the sideline by Warren helped the Trojans build a 10-3 lead.
Cortland came back with Glover serving as the Trojan lead shrunk to 10-8. Glover served an ace the hit the top of the net and just dropped on the Homer side of the court during the run.
The Trojan lead fluctuated between two and six points when Phelps stepped to the service line again with a 20-15 lead. Phelps made a diving save (dig) and scored a winning point to make the score 21-15 and Keefe’s point-block made it 22-15 as Homer students began the “Start the Bus” cheer.
That cheer was a small rally cry for the gutsy Cortland ladies to mounted one more comeback bid. With the help of an Anderson block, the Purple Tigers closed to within 22-20 behind the serving of Glover.
One final kill by Keefe stopped the Cortland run and gave Homer a 23-20 lead. After an exchange of points, 24-21, Fox called a time-out to settle his girls down. Amanda Cheetham put the serve in play for Cortland, but a long hit over the end line during play ended the Purple Tiger season and started a Trojan celebration.
“We worked on having more than one hitter this year,” said Fox. “We have gotten our quick middle hits down better and now the other teams have to make a choice between sticking with the middle and defend the outside. It really opens up the floor more for us. We now have three threats across the front line.”
“I love how everything is going this year,” said Phelps. “It is a great experience to not only make it to sectionals, but to host a sectional match. We knew Cortland would come out hard because they always play us tough. We just needed some time to settle down and, when we did, we were able to win. We will just take the intensity from tonight and use it tomorrow night at V-V-S.”
Statistically, Wick led Homer with 18 kills and 17 digs. Riley had 32 assists and nine digs with Phelps recording 14 digs. Other support came from Warren (11 digs, four kills, four aces), Brown (10 digs, four kills), Keefe (seven kills, six digs, four point-blocks) and Perry (six kills).
Cortland led was by Babcock (11 kills, four aces, two assists), Cheetham (18 assists), Anderson (six kills, two point-blocks), Glover (three kills, three point-blocks), Natoli (five assists, plus numerous solid digs defensively) and Alissa Claiser (three kills).


Dryden boys fall to Lansing

LANSING — The Dryden High boys will need at least one more win to reach the Interscholastic Athletic Conference semifinals after the Purple Lions dropped a 63-40 crossover contest at Lansing Thursday. The Purple Lions and Watkins Glen, with identical 8-2 division marks, will meet at 6 p.m. Saturday in Spencer-Van Etten to decide who is the Division I champion for the upcoming IAC Tournament in a tie-breaker contest. The Purple Lions (12-4 IAC, 13-5 overall). Should Dryden lose Saturday, the Purple Lions would by forced into a wild-card playoff game with Elmira Notre Dame Monday.
In other IAC boys action, Waverly defeated Marathon 50-45.
Lansing 63, Dryden 40: “Our level of intensity was there, but we did not have the energy left to make a comeback,” said Dryden coach Dan Miller. “Lansing is big inside and tough defensively. You cannot coach height. I was pleased with the guys effort because we have played three games in four days.”
Lansing, the Division III champion, jumped out to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter and increased the margin to 30-20 by halftime. The Bobcats continued to pull away, 33-21, during second-half action.
Ryan Shaff led Lansing with a game-high 16 points while John Sluty chipped in with 15 points.
David Pargh paced the Purple Lions with 11 points while Tim Finnerty netted 10 points.
Lansing will meet the winner of the Dryden-Watkins Glen tiebreaker in IAC semifinal round action.
Waverly 50, Marathon 45: It was too big a hole to dig out of for the visiting Olympians as Waverly grabbed a 13-5 lead after one quarter and enjoyed a 25-9 halftime lead.
“We never got off the bus in the first half,” said Marathon coach Jim Holland. “We have had one bad quarter nearly every game this season, but back-to-back quarters was too much. We got no looks at the basket in the second quarter after 11 turnovers. The kids did not quit and battled back in the second half.”
Marathon used a 17-9 advantage in the third quarter to narrow the deficit to 34-26 before trimming three more points off the Wolverine lead in the final eight minutes.
Groton 49, Marathon 41: It was Senior Night in Groton and Ellen Reed lit up the scoreboard. Reed poured in 22 points as Groton posted the eight-point win over Division III rival Marathon.
Val Senter added nine points as the Indians jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first quarter and maintained a 26-20 halftime advantage.
The home team pulled away in the third quarter with a 15-8 scoring edge before Marathon bounced back during fourth-quarer play.
Casie Wood led the Olympians with 11 points while Hannah Griep netted 10 points. Desiree Wickham chipped in with nine points.



Both Dragon teams start off in second

BUFFALO — The SUNY Cortland men’s and women’s teams were each in second place after the first day of competition at the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Swimming and Diving Championships at the Flickinger Center at Erie Community College.
The event was to continue today and Saturday.
Cortland’s men currently have 204 points, 21.5 behind first-place Geneseo. On the women’s side, the Red Dragons have 191 points, 52 points behind first-place Oswego and just one half point ahead of Geneseo.
In the men’s meet, Cortland senior Andy Chevalier won his fourth consecutive league title in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:57.78. The Red Dragons finished second in both relays during the opening day. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of sophomore Drew Hilker, freshman Daniel Evans, junior Alan Marcel and sophomore Brett Poffenbarger were clocked at 1:25.97 (1:25.95 in prelims) and the 400-yard medley relay team of freshman Ryan Brooks, junior Brett Humphreys, Chevalier and Evans turned in a time of 3:31.61, less than half a second from breaking the school record set last year.
Three Red Dragons advanced to the finals in the 50-yard freestyle. Junior Alan Marcel finished fourth (21.58, 21.56 prelims), Hilker tied for fifth (21.93, 21.63 prelims) and Evans placed seventh (21.99). Sophomore Dave Dow finished fourth in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:54.44 (4:54.17 in prelims), with junior Jeremy Cuebas placing eighth in the event (5:00.30, 4:55.27 prelims).
Other top-eight finishers included junior Kevin Stuttle from Dryden, who was fourth in one-meter diving (421.20 points; NCAA “B” cut score of 435.40 prelims) and senior Pat Connolly, who finished fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:00.25).
Cortland’s women set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay as the combination of freshman Katie Molzan, senior Allie Houseman, freshman Kristin Barnoski and senior Nikki LaBarge finished first with an NCAA provisional “B” cut time of 1:37.56. LaBarge and Houseman were also part of last year’s winning team that held the previous school mark of 1:37.76.
The 400-yard medley relay team of freshman Krista Bergquist, freshman Taylor Houseman, LaBarge and Molzan finished second in 4:03.65. Allie Houseman and Barnoski touched the wall second and third, respectively, in the 50-yard freestyle —Houseman in an NCAA “B” cut time of 24.35 seconds and Barnoski in 24.71 seconds. LaBarge was the third-place finisher in the 200-yard individual medley (2:13.62).
Three other Red Dragons were top-eight finishers. Junior Amy Jones was sixth in three-meter diving (367.55 points, 373.75 in prelims), freshman Samantha Buckley placed seventh in the 500-yard freestyle (5:22.83, 5:21.47 in prelims) and Molzan finished seventh in the 200-yard individual medley (2:16.81, 2:16.31 in prelims).