April 4, 2011


Potent look to Purple Tigers

Staff Writer

There will be a familiar look to the Cortland High girls’ lacrosse team this season, which begins the season on Tuesday afternoon at New Hartford.
A total of 16 players return from the Purple Tigers squad that went 6-0 in the OHSL Freedom American Division, 12-2 in all Freedom Division games and finished 12-5 overall after a first-round loss in Class B sectionals.
Senior attack Carly Cunningham, a first-team all leaguer and an Academic All-American last spring, was the team’s second-leading scorer with 34 goals and 15 assists for 49 points and heads up the list of veterans. Also back are a trio of 2010 second-team all-leaguers — senior midfielder Taylor Reynolds (15 goals-7 assists), senior attack Haley Meldrim (9-8) and senior midfielder Jacquie Clark (10-7).
The list of returnees also includes three honorable mentions from a year ago in senior midfielder Kaylee Gebhardt (18-3, fifth), senior defender Isabel Wittmaack and senior goalie Julia Convertini (7.41 goals-against average, 141 saves).
In addition, those back include senior attacks Tricia Rosetti (3-4) and Kelly Knauerhase (1-0, moving from midfield) ; senior midfielders Kaitlyn Drach (back after an injury last year) and Julie Porter (3-2); senior defenders Melanie Phillips (2-0, moved from midfielder), Alex Charles 1-1, moved from attack) and Haleigh Zeches; junior midfielder Ashley Behrenfeld (3-2) and junior defender Kristy Litzenberger (0-1).
Gebhardt, Wittmaack, Rosetti and Drach are this season’s captains.
Up from last year’s 10-3-1 junior varsity squad are junior attacks Gabby DiSanto and Alex Pallassino, junior midfielder Stephanie Rogers, sophomore defender Alexis Kryger, sophomore midfielder Kelsey Quail and freshman midfielder Liza Ferro.
Despite the veteran-laden nature of this year’s team, four first-team all-leaguers were lost to graduation, including the team’s top scorer, attack Marissa Mastronardi (46-36), midfielder Elle DePerno (25-15) and defenders Kay Kostuk and Janesa Cornish. Second-teamer Maya Gebhardt, a midfielder (14-5) and an Academic All-American, also graduated.
“Fourteen seniors can offer a great deal of leadership,” said Purple Tigers coach Kim Pace, who is 69-23 in her six previous seasons. “The key will be them coming together to set a positive tone for the team, everybody recognizing their own strengths and their teammates’ strengths and taking advantage of them as well as focusing on one game at a time and always playing to our potential, regardless of the opponents’ level.
“We hope to compete for the division championship this season. East Syracuse-Minoa is a very strong team in our division every year. New Hartford has made great gains and has become competitive within the division. Last year the league was split into two divisions. There isn’t a league championship any more, but we always compete with Jamesville-DeWitt for what would be a league championship, as they are in the other division. We also want to progress further in sectional play than we have the past two years and come together and recognize team accomplishments.”
Fred Cutia and Bob Gambitta will assist Pace again this season, and Phyllis Litzenberger returns as the junior varsity coach.
Cortland ‘s home opener, Thursday against Homer, will be a Stick It To Cancer game as the teams will combine to raise money to donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Admission will be charged, donations will be taken and a 50-50 raffle will take place.


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