April 23, 2012
Trojans finally tame Tigers
Gray sets Homer career scoring record
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Liza Ferro (right) gets chased by Mercedes Slade of Homer Central during Saturday’s ‘Stick It To Cancer’ lacrosse game at Moiseichik Field. Visiting Homer prevailed, 11-10.
Despite being ill, Katelyn Gray was feeling just fine, thank you, after she and her Homer Central girls’ lacrosse teammates had made all kinds of history Saturday afternoon against host Cortland High at Moisiechik Field in the teams’ “Stick It To Cancer” Game.
In scoring two goals and adding an assist, the senior midfielder had become the top scorer in the history of the Homer program. She now has 141 goals and 21 assists for 162 points, eclipsing the 161 points (125-36) posted by Lindsay Wilson from 2006-08.
In the process, Gray had played a big part, both by scoring and with draw controls, in the Trojans’ 11-10 win over the Purple Tigers. The result marked the first win for Homer’s girls over Cortland since 2006.
“I’m so happy,” Gray said, smiling and shivering at the same time on a wet, cold afternoon. “It’s been one of my goals since I was a freshman to be the top scorer, but I’ve have gotten nowhere if not for my teammates. They helped out a lot. I’ve been working on it for awhile. I got the goal record last year and since then I’ve wanted to get the points, too. I was hoping to do it in this game. It’s a relief.
“We haven’t been doing well the last few games, and I this will get us on track again. It will help us try harder and win more because this is a good win and now we know what that feels like. It’s the first time we’ve beaten Cortland in my four years on varsity.”
As noted, Gray also took draws for the visitors and won 10 out of 23 — to 12 for Cortland sophomore midfielder Liza Ferro. Gray secured seven of the 14 in the second half, with none was bigger than the last which Gray flipped up and caught herself with 16 seconds left after Cortland had pulled to within 11-10. The Trojans were able to run out the clock from there.
“I was nervous. Thank God I won it,” Gray said of that crucial draw control. “I try to flip it to myself if I can. I’m taller than most other players, But we work on set plays, having someone else to flip it to.”
“That was a huge draw, and this was a huge game for us,” Homer coach Ed Porter said, his team now 2-5 overall. “We’ve had a tough row to hoe recently, so we’re particularly pleased to beat Cortland for the first time in awhile. I was pleased with the team effort. I couldn’t be more pleased for or proud of them.
“Gray was sick the whole game but really played outstanding, and it was nice to have (Emma) Porter step up, too.” The coach’s daughter, a junior attack, led all scorers with five goals and two assists, and is in fourth place on the program’s all-time scoring list at 102 goals and 46 assists.
“We played in spurts again today, and Homer played aggressively for the entire game,” said Cortland coach Kim Pace, whose team is now 2-4 overall. “We have to find a way to pull together when we get down before we dig a hole that is too big to climb out of.
“The last six minutes of the game we turned on the intensity all over the field, but by then it was too late. We need to start out that strong. Today we made too many mistakes defensively and had too many missed opportunities on attack. We need to make better choices with our shots and look before we shoot.”
HOMER NEVER TRAILED in the game, Gray with the first goal unassisted just 12 seconds in before Cortland sophomore attack Taylor Thomas scored to make it 1-1 4:30 in. The game was also tied at 3-3, the goal that put the Trojans ahead for good coming from junior midfielder Sara Yonta 4:17 before halftime off an assist by Porter, who also picked up a helper on a goal by senior midfielder Mercedes Slade with just seven seconds left that gave the visitors a 5-3 halftime lead.
Porter scored twice in 15 seconds, assisted by Slade on the second goal, to give Homer its biggest lead of the game, 7-3, with 20:51 left. Cortland then got three goals in a row, from senior midfielder Maggie Brown, Ferro and junior attack Taylor Tabel, to pull to within 7-6 with 18:21 remaining.
Ed Porter had called a timeout after Ferro’s goal to settle his squad down, and after Tabel’s tally the Trojans responded, going on a 4-1 run. Emma Porter and senior attack Hannah Darr scored, the latter off the assist by Gray that tied her for the program points lead, to make it 9-6 Homer with 14:26 left. Ferro converted a free position play to make it 9-7 with 13:01 left, and Emma Porter then did the same with 10 minutes remaining before Gray got the record-setting point on an unassisted goal with 6:26 left to make it 11-7.
Brown scored her third goal of the game after a 30-yard solo run to make it 11-5 with 6:04 left before sophomore attack Taylor Thomas scored off a pass from junior midfielder Kelsey Quail with 4:35 remaining to make it 11-9. Gray won the resulting draw and Homer then worked the clock down with good ball control before the hosts finally regained possession. Quail then scored off a free position with just eight seconds left to make it 11-10 before Gray won the ensuing draw and the visitors were able to drain the remaining moments.
“It was my teammates, mostly,” Emma Porter, who now has a team-high 15 goals this season, one more than Gray, said when asked about her big offensive game. “They had a couple of nice assists, and set picks so I could get open. Katelyn has worked hard all year, and I’m very happy for her. It also feels really good to beat Cortland after they’d beaten us so many times. It will be a good boost for us.”
“We wanted to possess the ball and limit (Cortland’s) offensive opportunities,” Ed Porter said. “They’re a good team, well-coached, and can explode on you. They have some very powerful offensive weapons, especially Brown, Tabel, Ferro and Quail.”
IN ADDITION TO GRAY and Emma Porter, Slade had a goal and an assist for Homer, which got single goals from Emma Gutchess (her first at the varsity level), Yonta and Darr.
Brown led the Purple Tigers with three goals and now has 19 on the season, while Thomas and Ferro scored twice each, Quail had a goal and an assist and Tabel and junior midfielder Rachel Prentice each scored once. The winners had a 29-21 shot advantage, Homer senior goalie Hailey Sweeney making nine saves to 11 for Cortland sophomore netminder Mikayla Cerio.
“I was very pleased with the level of play of Liza Ferro, Kelsey Quail and Maggie Brown at the midfield,” Pace said. “They gave 100 percent up and down the field. Marissa Rabusin (sophomore midfielder) also gave us a nice spark. Kristy Litzenberger (senior defender) did a nice job of working the ball out of the defensive end of the field today after we caused turnovers.
“We continue to have different bright spots with each game. We just need to take what we do well in one game and build on it in the next game.”
Cortland donned special neon yellow-green jerseys and socks and Homer wore pink jerseys and socks, both teams with their regular shorts, for the special Stick It To Cancer game. Proceeds from the contest went to the Mariah Fund and the Ray Lilly Fund to benefit two local families facing difficult medical conditions.
Both teams are at home on Monday, the Trojans against Jordan-Elbridge at 5 p.m. and the Purple Tigers against New Hartford in a 6:30 p.m. start.
CORTLAND JVs rallied from a 10-8 deficit with the game’s final three goals, the last two off free positions starting at midfield by freshman midfielder Erin Brown in a seven-second span, to beat Homer 11-10 Saturday and improve to 5-1 on the season.
Purple Tigers freshman attack Monica VonDonsel made it 10-9 with 3:39 left off an assist by freshman attack/midfielder Danae Becker. After each team came up empty with a possession, Brown knotted the score with 55 seconds left and, after the Trojans were called for a charge, put the game-winner home with 48 seconds remaining. CHS eighth-grade attack-midfielder Shea Swartwout controlled the draws preceding each of the game’s last two goals.
Becker had three goals and an assist for the winners, while Swartwout had two goals and an assist, Brown and VanDonsel two goals each and sophomore midfielder-defender Kayla Holl and sophomore attack-midfielder Emily Saracene a goal apiece. Eighth-grade midfielder Kim Dieroff scored seven goals for Homer (0-5), while scoring once each were freshman attack Julia Brazo, eighth-grade attack Olivia Porter and eighth-grade midfielder Hannah Casey.
Freshman goalie Chickie Artis made six saves for the Purple Tigers, who host New Hartford at 5 p.m. Monday. Sophomore Libby Camp stopped three shots between the pipes for Homer, which next visits Syracuse Tech Central April 30.
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