April 9, 2012
Quick-starting Trojans hold off CHS
Strong starts have been a habit for the Homer Central boys’ lacrosse team so far this season.
On Saturday morning, that was enough to outweigh a strong finish by host Cortland High as the Trojans earned a 10-7 non-league victory on the Moiseichik Field turf.
“Every team is different, with a little different personality,” Homer coach Tom Cottrell said after his OHSL Liberty Division squad had improved to 3-1 on the season. “These guys love playing together. They travel (in the off-season) and play all the time. They seem to get themselves ready to go.”
Asked if playing their rival helped his players in that respect Saturday, Cottrell noted: “Unfortunately, that hurts more than it helps. Sometimes you get out of what you need to do when you know the player you’re going against or are concerned about the rivalry. I’m sure it’s the same for them.”
“We always try to come out and play confident and strong,” said junior attack Sean Ferrito, who led the winners with three goals. “We try to get the advantage and see where the game goes from there. Today I just tried to go to the goal when spots were open, push my defender and look for open passes. I got a lot of open shots, and took them.”
“They played more physical and wanted it more than we did, especially on defense,” said Purple Tigers coach Matt Blaich, whose OHSL Freedom Division team is now 2-2 overall. “It seemed that we were a little to late, or sometimes early, on our slides.
“Homer is probably the most solid fundamental team we’ve played. They ran their offense, made good passes, found the passing lanes and beat us at the back door.”
The Trojans came out strong and were up 5-1 after one quarter, a lead they never relinquished. After Homer senior long-stick Anthony Contento opened the scoring 4:15 in and Cortland senior attack Chad Timmons equalized 1:44 later, the visitors scored the next four goals to take control.
Senior midfielder Aaron Zimmerman, who had missed the last two games with an injury, put the Trojans up for good with 5:02 left in the opening stanza when he scored from close range on the right-wing side off a pass from behind the net from junior attack Brandon Maxson. Senior midfielder Conner Johnson converted a feed 47 seconds later. Sophomore midfielder Jake Gray found the back of the net with three defenders draped on him with 2:50 remaining in the quarter and just 26 seconds later Maxson made it 5-1 from close range in front of junior Kevin Parker, CHS’s starting goalie, off an assist from junior attack Beau Riley.
TWO PLAYERS ACCOUNTED for all of the second-quarter scoring. Cortland junior midfielder Andrew Potter scored twice in the first 1:54, Timmons assisting on the first goal, to cut the hosts’ deficit to 5-3.
Homer than grabbed the momentum back with the other two goals in the quarter, both by Ferrito. The first came from the right side with 7:47 left, the second 6:04 before halftime.
“At halftime we told the kids to stay positive,” Blaich said. “We’ve been there before. They needed to do the right things by their teammates, being there for them setting picks and telling them where they were going to be. They didn’t get down on each other. I was happy with the fourth quarter, but Homer seemed to want it more at the end.”
The Trojans sandwiched goals by Johnston (assisted by Riley) and Ferrito, his third of the game (from Maxson), around a goal by Purple Tigers junior midfielder Pat McMahon to take a 9-4 lead into the fourth.
Timmons converted a feed from McMahon 2:37 into the final stanza and Potter came from behind the net to score with 7:29 left to make it 9-6. Zimmerman then went over half the length of the field with the ball and and notched his second tally of the game at 7:29 to complete the winners’ scoring. Cortland managed one more goal, Timmons assisted by Potter, with 3:51 left for the final margin.
“We don’t like losing any quarter, so that’s a little disappointing,” Cottrell said of the final 12 minutes. “Cortland did a nice job in the second half. They came out and did some of the things we like to do.”
In addition to Ferrito (who now has 10 goals) and Zimmerman (four), Johnston also had two goals to give him a team-high 12 while Contento and Gray each scored their first goal of the season. Potter had three goals (giving him eight this spring) and two assists, Timmons three goals (for a team-high 11) and an assist and McMahon a goal, his eighth of the year, and an assist for Cortland. Homer junior goalie Jonathan Cottrell made eight saves while Parker stopped 10 shots over the first three quarters and senior Casey Bergeron made two saves in the fourth for CHS.
“IT WAS GOOD TO be back,” Zimmerman said. “I hope to help the team out; plenty of guys stepped up when I was gone. (Being out) annoyed me, but now I’m back at full strength. It was a little disappointing to let hem come back; we didn’t play as well as we should have.
“The last two years we’ve won the first game and they’ve won the second,” he added “It’s a good thing we only play them once this year. It’s good to get this one out of the way and get the rivalry over with.”
“Most of us looked at this game, the third we’ve played against them in the last two seasons, as kind of the deciding game,” Ferrito said. “After the game it felt good. Even when you don’t play your best game, it gives you a boost to beat your rival.”
Both coaches downplayed that aspect of the non-league contest.
“Our rivalry in lacrosse is with teams we play in the (Class C) playoffs,” Cottrell said. “This is just a neighborhood thing. If we were a little tight it was because the loss to them last year (when both teams were in Class B) hurt us in seeding. We’re looking to win the games we should, and this was a game we should win.
“We’re looking to have a solid season; we hope we can contend in Class C and make some noise. There have been a lot of good C games already; it seems to be balanced. I didn’t think we played that well — Cortland did, and that was part of it — but we were still able to get the victory.”
Asked if he was concerned abut any effects the loss might have on his team, Blaich said he wasn’t, noting that “This wasn’t a league game, and we’ll get past it. We have four days to practice and get ready for the next game, a league game against East Syracuse-Minoa.”
That contest will take place Friday, starting at noon, at Moiseichik Field. Homer next sees action on Tuesday, hosting Tully in a non-leaguer at Butts Field in an 11 a.m. start.
HOMER JVs were 9-1 winners over host Cortland to improve to 2-1, Dean Riley with three goals. Bryan Cavellier added one and three assists while Brad Sovocool had a goal and two assists. David Augur, Anthony Basile 1 assist), Matt Suits and Danny Turck scored once each. Connor Caughey scored the only goal for the Purple Tigers, who fell to 2-2.
Homer had a 27-4 shot advantage, goalie Jack Connery with two saves to 12 for his CHS counterpart, Quinn Mulherin. The Trojans had a 34-30 edge in groundballs and won seven of the game’s 12 faceoffs.
The Homer JVs were to host Jamesville-DeWitt at 11 a.m. Monday at Butts Field, while ES-M visits Cortland in a 10 a.m. start Friday at Moiseichik Field.
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