April 22, 2016
Trojans secure needed victory
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s Dominick Natale (right) checks Cortland High’s Harold Pallone (left) in front of the crease in the first quarter Thursday night at Moiseichik Field.
The Homer Central boys’ lacrosse team got back on the winning track in a big way Thursday night, rolling past host Cortland High 14-2 in an OHSL Freedom National game on Moiseichik Field on the Purple Tigers’ Senior Night.
For Trojans’ head coach Tom Cottrell, though, it wasn’t about bouncing back or even beating your rival.
“We’ve lost two games, and I think the kids understand that we have to get better,” Cottrell said after his team — ranked 16th in the state in Class C — had improved to 4-0 in the league and 5-2 overall.
“We try to keep them focused on getting better every time out. What happened the last time against Cortland or in our last game is not important,” he added, referring to a 13-1 romp past CHS in Homer on April 12 and a 13-10 non-league loss to visiting Marcellus this past Monday. “We just need to get the win. It’s still definitely a process trying to get better. We just need to remind them of their losses if we need to get them down to earth.”
The Trojans were definitely flying for most of this one.
Senior midfielder Brody Urban opened the scoring with just under seven minutes gone off an assist from senior midfielder James Denkenberger, and 50 seconds later senior midfielder Jerrad Reiner converted a pass from senior midfielder James Denkenberger. It took just 35 seconds for the visitors to score their first man-up goal of the night as Urban fed sophomore attack Vincent Basile for the first of his three goals on the night.
Sophomore attack Dante Yacavone made it 4-0 with an unassisted tally to close out the first-quarter scoring with 1:36 left. Urban, Denkenberger and Yacavone scored in the second quarter as Homer went into halftime with a 7-0 lead.
Cottrell and his staff made sure than complacency didn’t set in at halftime.
“We try to break the game down into four quarters,” he said. We want to get all four. The halftime score doesn’t matter; we start over at 0-0 in every quarter and work off that mindset.”
For the record, Homer won the third quarter 3-1 and the fourth 4-1.
“THEY OUTHUSTLED AND fundamentally outplayed us,” Purple Tigers coach Matt Blaich, said, his team now 2-2 in the Freedom National and 3-4 overall. “We wanted to do a better job against them than we did the first time, but it didn’t work out that way.
“At halftime we told the guys that we were still in the game. We scored seven in one quarter the other day against East Syracuse-Minoa,” he added, that outburst in a 12-9 home win last Saturday. “We told them that they had to keep battling and do the little things.”
Basile and Reiner led the winners with three goals apiece. Yacavone had two goals, his team-leading 22nd and 23rd, plus two assists for 35 points, which also leads the Trojans. Urban and Denkenberger had two goals and an assist each, junior attack Jake Riley a goal and an assist and senior attack Drew Osborne one goal.
Cortland’s goals came from senior midfielders Joe Piedigrossi and Connor Caughey.
“It’s a great thing,” Cottrell said of his team’s goal distribution, “but I’d like to see us be more balanced game in and game out. We have a lot of guys with the ability; maybe a game like this will help build better confidence.”
“The coaches always tell us to come out hard,” Basile, who now has 13 goals on the season, said of Homer’s fast start. “We can’t overlook anyone and have to approach every game the same, especially when it’s Cortland. We always want to kick their butts. Once we started putting goals in they started yelling at each other and got down on themselves.
“It’s always nice to put up goals against Cortland. It’s a good feeling. We were able to move the ball around, get open looks and go for layups.”
THE VISITORS HAD a 41-20 shot advantage and got 17 saves from senior goalie Mark Suits while junior Cameron Aldrich stopped 12 shots before sophomore Ben Pallone came in and made three saves over the last seven minutes. Included in Suits’ save total were a pair of stellar point-blank saves in the last 1:15 of the first half.
“Suits is definitely the leader of our defense, and when they had some opportunities early he denied them,” Cottrell said. “The defense has grown up around him. We’re lucky to have him in there.”
“Cameron had some great saves,” Blaich said of Aldrich, “but they had too many opportunities right on the doorstep.”
Cottrell praised senior midfielder Ryan Gabriel for his job on faceoffs, winning seven of eight in the first half before stepping aside once the contest was in hand. Homer finished with an 11-8 advantage at the ‘X.”
Both teams are back in action Saturday. Homer hosts Tully in a non-leaguer at noon on Butts Field, while Cortland travels to Chittenango for a league game with an 11 a.m. faceoff.
“We need to bounce back quick for Saturday’s league game,” Blaich said.
In addition to Piedigrossi and Caughey, the Purple Tigers’ other Senior Night honorees were midfielder Bronson Gagliano, attacks Michael Dineen, Chris Dovi and Luke Lang and defenders Jonny Phillips, Harold Pallone and Nick Smith.
HOMER JVs beat Cortland 9-6 as sophomore attack Steven Walter led the way with three goals. Sophomore midfielder John Horner had two goals and an assist for the winners, now 3-5, while freshman midfielder Gabe Cline had the other goal and freshman long-stick midfielder Zach Mallory had an assist. Sophomore goalie Mike Turck made 13 saves.
Sophomore attack Alex Myers had all three goals for the Purple Tigers, assisted twice by sophomore midfielder Pat Hartnett, while freshman goalie Kirkland Case made eight saves. The Trojans led 2-1 after one quarter, 5-2 at halftime and 6-2 heading into the fourth.
“This was one of our best games in both effort and lacrosse execution,” said CHS coach Joe DiSanto, whose team is now 1-6. “With our difficulty scoring we have very little margin for error on defense. The shots are starting to come. We need better placement. We are not forcing the opposing goalie to make difficult saves. You should win most games giving up only six goals. However, you are not going to win many games scoring only three.”
Like their varsity counterparts, both JV teams next play on Saturday. Homer hosts Tully at 10 a.m. and Cortland visits Chittenango starting at 11 a.m.
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