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March 26, 2008

 

Trojans optimistic bunch heading into tough debut

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

There is a lot of optimism as Homer Central boys prepare for their season opening lacrosse game Thursday evening.
The Trojans, coming off a 2007 campaign where they went 4-10 in OHSL Class B play and 4-14 overall, will host a tough non-league foe in Westhill under the George Butts Field lights at 7 p.m.
“We have had a great pre-season,” said Homer head coach Tom Cottrell, who begins his eighth season at the helm. “The guys have been working very hard and they are looking forward to the 2008 season.
“We have 10 returning players,” Cottrell continued. “There are 13 players coming up from the JV team that was 14-1 and one freshman.”
Heading the list of returning players are senior captains Michael Carboine and Vic Marchetti. This talented duo will lead another strong defensive unit.
Also returning are seniors Brett Capps, Trevor Caughey, Shawn Cleary, Jake Phelps, Will Connery, Talon Sprouse and Lance Graffius, plus junior Paul Armideo, a second-team all-league selection in 2007 after leading the Trojans in scoring with 22 goals and 11 assists for 33 points.
“The senior class is the smallest, but they offer great leadership,” said Cottrell. “These guys have worked very hard in their careers and they are looking to finish on a strong note.”
On attack, Armideo is on the first line with sophomore Carl Zimmerman, who led the JV team with 50 goals and 23 assists in 2007, and either Capps (13g-4a) or sophomore John Sciera (JV 35 g-11a). Both have done a nice job and will see plenty of playing time according to Cottrell.
Also seeing time on attack will be Caughey and junior Kyle Hebert. Hebert, who had seven goals on last year’s JV squad, is currently on the sidelines with a broken hand and will be out of action for a while.
At midfield, the Trojans have a good mix of returning players and players up form the JV ranks.
The first line features Sprouse (18g-7a), Clary (6g-10a) and Connery (6g-3a) with Connery the primary face-off specialist.
The second line is made up of guys moving up from the JVs and include junior Bennett Quinlan (14g-17a), plus sophomores Aaron Darr (27g-10a), Luke Pedersen (15g-5a) and freshman Conner Ferrito. Junior Kane Hartnett (6g-5a) and Brendan L’Hommedieu (7g-4a) are also in the mix.
“This is a very athletic group,” said Cottrell. “They are all working very hard to become better offensive players.”
Carboine and Marchetti are the anchors on the defensive side, but the third spot is really up for grabs. Among those vying for the spot as both close defender and long-stick are Phelps, plus juniors Matt Sharpe, Mike Park, Kyle Griffin and Caleb Earl. The later four all played on the JV team in 2007.
“We have good size and athleticism,” said Cottrell.
The Trojans will have a new face in goal for the 2008 season. Graffius joined the varsity team during the 2007 season and junior Paul Zimmerman, the JV goalie.
“I am pleased with what Paul has shown,” said Cottrell. “He really did a great job last year. Lance came to us during the 2007 season and has been working very hard. The coaching staff has confidence in guys.”
The coaching staff remains intact with Nick Patriarco assisting Cottrell, along with volunteer coaches Jim Luchsinger, Dave Basile and Rich Cecconi, who comes over from the JV team. Geoff Sorenson is back as JV coach with Mark Ferrito coming over from the Junior High team to help out along with volunteer coach Joey Eells. Chad Totman is the head coach for the junior high team with Justin Teeter assisting.
“It is really great to have lots of folks willing to help out,” said Cottrell. “We did take a lot of the JV offensive punch and brought it to the varsity team, but Geoff and Mark are doing a great job with the JVs. They kids are working hard as well and will continue to improve this season.”
The OHSL Class B competition will be as tough as ever.
“Jamesville-DeWitt was the state champion last year and the co-champion champion in the division with Cortland,” said Cottrell. “Both of those teams will be strong again this season. New Hartford is also a good team. You also need to be ready to play against Chittenango, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fulton and Whitesboro. We have four tough non-league challenges as well with Westhill, Cazenovia, Jordan-Elbridge and Marcellus.”
“The kids are excited and ready for the challenge,” Cottrell added.
After facing Westhill Thursday, the Trojans continue the five-game home stand Saturday with a 1 p.m. non-league clash with Cazenovia. Homer opens league action April 1 by hosting Jamesville-DeWitt, Chittenango (April 3) and Cortland (April 5).