April 7, 2010


Trojans burst topples Tigers

LacrosseJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central’s Conner Johnston (5) tries to outrun Cortland High’s Brandon Planck (17) in the first quarter of Tuesday’s lacrosse rivalry. Visiting Homer won, 12-8.

Staff Writer

A burst of offense late in the first quarter and early in the second stanza was the difference Tuesday afternoon as the Homer Central boys’ lacrosse team stayed perfect in two OHSL Class B games and four contests overall by beating host Cortland High 12-8.
The teams were tied 2-2 after Purple Tigers junior attackman Phil Potter scored with 2:45 left in the first quarter.
Trojans senior attackman John Sciera scored the first of his game-high six goals (giving him 15 on the season) just 50 seconds later, however, and before the quarter was over Carl Zimmerman, another senior attackman, tallied with seven seconds left and Sciera put one home as time expired in the stanza to make it 5-2 for Homer.
The Trojans scored the first two goals of the second quarter, Zimmerman finding the net 2:25 in and senior midfielder Luke Pedersen doing the same with 7:11 left until intermission to give the visitors a commanding 7-2 lead before senior attackman Brandon Planck closed out the first-half scoring 15 seconds later.
“We did a better job of possessing the ball, which we weren’t aggressive enough with early,” Homer coach Tom Cottrell said when asked the key to his team’s game-deciding outburst. “Our defense did a nice job of moving their feet and eliminating some opportunities for Cortland. And with (senior) Aaron Darr and (junior) Connor Ferrito at midfield, and Zimmerman and Sciera on attack, that’s where our experience and leadership is.”
“When it was 2-2, we made defensive mistakes that led to their next two goals,” said Purple Tigers coach John Spallone, whose team is now 1-1 in the league and overall. “But the real killer was their getting the last faceoff of the quarter and scoring as the clock wound down. That was a little turn of the tide, as they got some separation.
“We didn’t take advantage of some offensive opportunities we had, shooting wide or right at their goalie,” he added, referring to Trojan junior Nick Larue. “Homer’s a solid club, and I’m glad we were able to defend them better than anyone has so far (the Trojans having scored 52 goals in their first three games). Their offense is very solid. With six or eight good players, they wear you down. They shoot well, attack all spots and had some pretty good stretches of possession. Plus, they’re strong on faceoffs.”
Homer won 15 of 22 faceoffs on the day.
PLANCK OPENED scoring for CHS 1:13 into the game, with Pedersen tying the score for Homer at 9:21 and Zimmerman giving the visitors their first lead at 6:02, before Potter knotted things up.
The importance of the visitors’ first-half outburst is underlined by the fact that the two teams played even in the second half, both scoring twice in the third quarter and three times in the fourth.
Sciera scored off an assist from sophomore midfielder Aaron Zimmerman, Carl’s brother, just 10 seconds into the third quarter. The Trojans made it 9-3 with 4:31 left before Potter scored twice in the span of 1:39, the second with 54 seconds left, to make it a 9-5 game after three quarters.
Sciera closed out his scoring with the first two goals of the fourth quarter, just 33 seconds in and with 2:05 gone. Cortland then got the next three goals, from junior Austan DiIorio at 5:10, Potter 56 seconds later and junior midfielder Colby Reagan at 1:53, before Carl Zimmerman got his third of the game and 16th of the season with 1:15 left to account for the final margin.
Carl Zimmerman ended up with three goals and three assists and, with 213 points (149 goals and 64 assists) is now just two points away from taking over from Mike Dugan (Class of 2006, now at Mercyhurst) as the third-leading scorer in the history of the Homer program. Pedersen finished with two goals and Ferrito had a goal and two assists. Planck and Potter had three goals and two assists apiece for Cortland, each now with four goals on the young season, while DiIorio and Reagan scored once each.
“We stress starting and finishing quarters and halves strongly, and we finished the first quarter and started the third and fourth well,” Cottrell said. “We weren’t as sharp on defense in the second half, but I also thought it was more what we didn’t do offensively rather than what we did do on defense. We didn’t pass or capitalize on scoring opportunities as well.
“Credit goes to Cortland. They played real well for the full 48 minutes.”
“FOR IT BEING our second game of the year, against a very good team, I was very happy with how hard we played,” Spallone said. “How we played as the game went on is an indication of where we can get to before the year is over.
“It was a good tough game, and both teams played hard. Each had some momentum going, maybe theirs more than ours, but we found some things we can do and some we need to work on, and can keep going from there.”
“I just had great feeds from everyone else,” Sciera said of his varsity career-high six-goal game. “They got me the ball, and I worked to get open and finish as many as I could. We’re moving the ball really well, and if we keep it up we’ll have a good season.
“I think Cortland came out fast, riled up because of the rivalry, and we didn’t come out the way we should have. We realized that if we kept playing like that they would play with us, so we had to play better. It wasn’t our ‘A’ game, but we got the win.”
The Trojans had a 34-31 shot advantage in the contest, with Larue making 11 saves — one more than Cortland senior Eric Burch — a number of them on point-blank shots. Cottrell said of his first-year varsity netminder that “I think Nick is getting better every game. He’s working hard to be a better goalie and is doing a nice job; I can see a lot of growth in him the last couple of weeks. He made some huge saves today.”
Cortland returns to action Thursday, visiting East Syracuse-Minoa in a 6:30 p.m. league game, while Homer next hosts LaFayette Saturday in a non-leaguer that starts at 3 p.m.
— The game was played with the flag at half-staff in honor of Paul Rose, who passed away recently. Rose was a long-time lacrosse coach, including stints at Colgate, Morrisville State, Clarkson and Geneseo State, and as a volunteer assistant to his son Brian, who founded the Hamilton Central squad. He also coached men’s soccer at Colgate.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Paul Rose Memorial Scholarship Fund may do so by making out a check to the fund and mailing it to Jeanne Rose, 8 Hamilton Street, Hamilton, N.Y. 13346.
CORTLAND JVs won a hard-fought 7-6 decision over Homer Tuesday at George Butts Field. The Purple Tigers are 1-0 early in the season. The Trojans fall to 2-2.
Homer grabbed a 2-1 lead in the first quarter, but Cortland three times in the second quarter to enjoy a 4-2 advantage at the halftime break. After each team scored once in the third quarter, Cortland sealed the win with two goals in the fourth quarter. The Trojans scored three times, but came up short.
Beau Riley led Homer with three goals. Casey Cleary added two goals to the Trojan offense while Austin Recor netted one goal and added one assist. Drew Christopher and Nate McLyman. dished out one assist each for Homer with goalkeeper Jonathon Cottrell making seven saves.
Cortland JVs play at East Syracuse-Minoa Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Homer JVs return to action Friday, hosting Chittenango Friday at 5 p.m.