April 21, 2012
Total team efforts tops Lakers
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central’s Casey Cleary scores a goal in the first quarter up against Skaneateles’ Jack Dawley (14) Friday at Butts Field. Cleary had two goals in 13-5 Trojans victory.
Without its top two face-off performers, it seemed to be a taller than usual order for Homer Central boys while playing host to Skaneateles in Friday’s non-league lacrosse outing at George Butts Field.
What transpired was the best team game displayed by the Trojans all season.
Aaron Zimmerman and Sean Ferrito each netted three goals and a Homer defense led by Alec Sovocool and goalie Jonathan Cottrell helped the home team score an impressive 13-5 victory.
Homer improves to 5-2 overall while Skaneateles dips to 4-3.
“It’s tough to play good defense without good offense and vice versa,” Homer coach Tom Cottrell said. “Because we competed in all phases of the game at both ends of the field — from great goaltending to good, solid defense, strong aggressive middies and real smart decision-making on attack — it’s a good outcome because both ends of the field played well.”
With Conner Johnston nursing an injury and Chris Birchenough unavailable, Zimmerman and Jake Gray were two of the guys tasked to battle at the face-off x. Skaneateles won 14 of those 21 battles, but the Trojan duo got key wins while Sovocool and his defensive mates got a number of nice strips to work the ball free and scooped on ground balls for a 35-27 advantage.
When tested, Cottrell responded with seven saves including a handful in the second half.
“Everybody was on the same page tonight,” long-stick standout Sovocool said. “Everyone played well. I think a key was our clears were better and we got the ball into the offensive zone.
“It’s fun when everyone plays together,” he added. “You can take some chances and I was able to strip the ball a few times.”
“The offense made things easier for me,” goalie Cottrell stated. “They were making the smart decisions with good dodges and smart shot selection. Every individual on defense did their job. Good team defense is what makes me look good. It’s really those guys.
“I’m more comfortable in goal this season,” he added in reference to his second season as the varsity starting goalkeeper. “The first year helped me adjust to the faster pace at the varsity level. It makes this year more fun and I can relax a little more because I now know what to do. I’ve improved my clearing a lot.”
THE LAKERS TOOK a 1-0 lead 58 seconds into the match when Connor O’Hara scored his first of two goals. Casey Cleary answered less than two minutes later as he unassisted tally came with 9:25 left in the quarter. Cleary scored twice for the Trojans.
With 5:01 left in the opening quarter, Skaneateles took its final lead of the game. Jack Fabrizio found the back of the cage. This was the third shot of the game between the two teams and the third goal overall.
Gray pulled the Trojans even at 2-2 with 1:05 left in the quarter off a Brandon Maxson assist. Zimmerman won the next face-off and 24 seconds later, Ferrito put Homer in front 3-2, which was the score at the close of the quarter.
The Trojans had the momentum and scored the next three goals in a nine-minute span to build a 6-2 cushion. Cleary (10:28) and Ferrito (3:08) each notched their second goals. Eight seconds after Ferrito’s tally, Beau Riley collected his first goal off a feed from Zimmerman, who had won the face-off, and the four-goal margin was established with three minutes left in the half.
Skaneateles tried to rally and scored two goals in a 1:10 span to trim the Homer lead to 6-4 with 49 seconds left in the half, but Maxson launched a dagger into the Lakers’ heart. Off a Trojan timeout, the Lakers’ defense backed off a little and Maxson threw a low shot at the cage from 29 yards out. The ball settled into the cage, just inside the near (left) post, with 1.3 seconds remaining as the stunned Lakers found themselves down 7-4 at the intermission.
“It was nice to see one of those go our way,” Coach Cottrell said of the last-second goal by Maxson. “I don’t think it would have matter if we were up 6-4 or 7-4, the key was to come out and played good solid lacrosse at both ends of the field in the third and fourth quarters.”
HOMER CONTROLLED most of the second-half action. The Trojans scored six times, three in each quarter, while Skaneateles got it lone goal with 10:29 left in the match. Zimmerman scored all three of his goals in the half. Riley, Ferrito and Austin Recor tallied once.
“This was our most complete effort so far,” Coach Cottrell said. “I still think we can play better, but this certainly was out best effort top to bottom to date. The guys earned this because of their commitment they made the last two days in practice. They knew we they needed to do and worked on it. That result of those practices showed on the field today.”
Ryan Higman made seven saves for Skaneateles an allowed 12 goals. Max Smith came on with 7:44 to play and made one save while allowing one goal.
Homer travel to Jordan-Elbridge Monday for an OHSL Liberty Division match at 4:30 p.m.
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