March 31, 2007


Tough title game test for Cortland

Purple Tigers, Brothers roll into finals


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Jack Spallone fires shot past South Jefferson goalie Tony Behling in the opening round of the Guido Invotational last night at SUNY Cortland. Spallone had three goals in 14-4 Purple Tigers victory.

Staff Writer

Now for the good stuff.
The Cortland High boys’ lacrosse team scored its second easy victory of the season Friday night, 14-4 over South Jefferson in the first round of the Dave Guido Invitational at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
On the heels of Wednesday’s 20-0 season-opening romp over out-manned Johnson City, coach John Spallone’s Purple Tigers have had a pretty easy time of it at this early stage of the season.
That will change today, however when they collide with Syracuse CBA in the championship game of the event at 6 p.m. today. The Brothers, also 2-0, rolled past Niagara-Wheatfield 17-8 in Friday’s other first-round contest. South Jefferson (0-1) and Niagara-Wheatfield (1-1) were to play in the consolation game at 4 p.m. today.
So, what about the sudden step up in competition for CHS, which has faced CBA in each of the three previous tournaments, including last year’s title game, and has yet to win?
“Good, perfect, just what we want at this point,” said Spallone, whose team has high expectations to live up to this season, having lost only one starter after advancing to the sectional Class B semis last spring. “CBA is an excellent team that played a good game tonight; they’re very methodical. They’re both effective and efficient, and we’re excited about playing them.”
“We’re really excited,” said CHS senior goalie Zach Zayac, who made five saves, one more than junior Travis Carruthers collected in the final 5:38. “We’ve never beaten CBA since I’ve been here. I’ll have to be on my game, and our defense will be on its game. Everyone will have to figure out what to do; it should be a fun game to watch.”
“We’ll have to play hard, because CBA is always good,” said junior attack Jack Spallone, who scored three goals and added two assists. “We’ll have to play our hardest and hope things go well.”
That’s exactly what happened Friday night for the Purple Tigers, thanks in large part to a solid defense. “I think our defense was very impressive,” John Spallone said. “They kept South Jefferson’s offense on the perimeter all night, and didn’t allow them to get into areas where they’d get problematic shots. (Junior defensemen) Matt Pitcher, Jesse Brown and Chris Fernandes were all very aggressive in keeping them on that perimeter.
“We controlled both ends of the field. Our defense was able to slow their offense down, and good offensive work helped us control the other end.”
Senior attack Taylor Brown had three goals while senior midfielder Joel White had two goals and dished out five assists for the winners, who also got two goals from Jay Hartnett. It looked early on that the game might be closer than it ended up. In fact, John Spallone noted:  “It looked like it was going to be a battle. We knew they were going to be tough, and their goalie (Tony Behling, who made five saves) was phenomenal in the first, with three good saves. They got a goal late in the first on a mistake we made, so we knew they were opportunistic.
“It appeared we were in for a dogfight and would have to be more focused,” he added, the opening period ending with Cortland up 3-1 on goals by Taylor Brown, his brother Jesse and Nate Thomas. “We did a good job in the second and third periods. We gave up one goal at the end of the first, then ran off quite a few of our own.”
After Taylor Jennings got the North Country squad’s first goal, the hosts scored five of the next six, including the only three in the second quarter — two by Jack Spallone before White closed the first-half scoring. After South Jefferson’s Sean Mello notched a man-up tally 21 seconds into the second half, White and Theo Bishop scored for CHS. Mello then scored again before Spallone got his third of the game, Nick Becker and Brown adding single goals for an 11-3 Purple Tiger edge heading into the anticlimactic fourth quarter.
Taylor Brown scored in between two tallies by Hartnett, and the visitors’ Jennings got his second of the game to close out the scoring with four seconds left.
Asked about the Purple Tigers’ success so far, Jack Spallone noted that “I think it’s chemistry. We play together in the off-season, and that works well for us. But we can always do better.”
CBA 17, Niagara-Wheatfield 8: The Brothers got four goals and an assist from Craig Lange, three goals and two assists from Devin Daly, three goals from Jack Messe and two goals and three assists from Jack Harmatuk in rolling to victory and a berth in their fourth title game in as many Guido Invitationals.
CBA lost to East Syracuse-Minoa 8-5 in the championship game of the initial event, then took South Jefferson 10-3 for the 2005 crown and beat Cortland 14-10 in last year’s title game.
“We’ve had a pretty good run,” Brothers coach Jon McCoy said. “A few of our seniors have been here all four years, and now we have a chance to defend our title and go for the championship again.’
Zack Palmieri made nine saves and Griffin Ferrigan stopped six shots in the winners’ nets, while Mark Kovach had 10 saves for the Falcons.



Trojans capture opener

CENTRAL SQUARE — Homer Central girls were on target in their season opener. The result was a 15-10 lacrosse win over South Jefferson in first round action at the Central Square Tournament on Friday.
The Trojans will meet host Central Square in the championship game this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. Central Square handled Johnson City with 18-6 ease in the other first round match-up.
“The girls played a great game,” said Homer coach Jackie Reichert. “We met our first goal of the season, which was to finish the first half of the game on top. This was a great team effort. It was great to see how spread out the scoring was.”
Molly Siwula scored the first Homer goal of the season when the senior tri-captain converted a strong shot off a free position with 19:02 left in the first half. Senior midfielder Calley Weddle added a pair of first-half goals while junior Lindsay Wilson, junior Kaylee Benz and senior tri-captain Danielle Shattuck each added one goal as the Trojans led 6-5 at the intermission.
The second half was a back and forth affair as the teams traded goals. With five minutes left, the score was deadlocked at 10-10. Coach Reichert called a timeout before Homer reeled off five unanswered goals to pull away for the victory.
Sophomore attack Martha Riley led the nine-goal second-half assault for Homer with three goals with 18:12, 13:45 and 11:41 left to be played. Benz scored twice with Wilson, Weddle, Shattuck and Morgan Osborne each scoring once.
Weddle and Benz each finished the game with three goals and one assist with Riley also having her hat-trick. Wilson and Shattuck (one assist) finished with two goals each.
“By the end of the game, our defense really pulled together,” said Reichert. “Jisun Ryu and Heidi VanValkenburg played great defensive games. It was great to have three sophomores (Riley, Osborne, Van Valkenburg) really stepping up an taking charge.”
Krista Guy was good in her first varsity start as the junior goalkeeper made 10 saves.
Caitlin Fossi scored six goals for South Jefferson, but those were the only stats available for the Spartans.