May 4, 2011


Revenge tastes sweet for CHS

Knocks off state-ranked Trojans, 16-8

LacrosseBob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High goalie Casey Bergeron (9) makes a save on a point blank shot by Aaron Zimmerman (17) of Homer Central Tuesday night at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. Bergeron had 11 saves as the Purple Tigers beat their rivals, 16-8.

Staff Writer

It looked at the start like the boys’ lacrosse game between Homer Central and host Cortland High Tuesday evening at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex would be a close one.
CHS senior midfielder Colby Reagan scored unassisted 1:43 into the contest, and 23 seconds later Trojans senior attackman Hunter Osborne answered off an assist from junior Aaron Zimmerman. From then on, though, it was pretty much all Purple Tigers, as coach John Spallone’s squad scored the next seven goals to forge an 8-1 lead three minutes into the second quarter and went on to score a 16-8 OHSL Class B victory over the sixth-ranked Class C team in the state.s and Phil Potter. Fernandes scored five goals in the contest, four of them assisted by Potter (including three in 3:10 at the end of the first quarter and start of the second as CHS took control) and had an assist. Potter, who suffered a concussion in the first game between the teams and missed a subsequent game as a result, scored twice and had five assists in all.
“Phil did a good job of getting me the ball,” said Fernandes, who has scored a team-high 32 goals this season and also has eight assists. “It’s my job to put the ball in. Our midfield hustled after groundballs, and Casey (Bergeron, junior goalie) was great in goal. We had a tough practice after the Jamesville-DeWitt game (a 13-3 loss to the state’s top-ranked Class B team last Friday), and had a good mindset. We played tough.
“Revenge was definitely a part of our mindset, too. It was a great game for the last time for me at home against Homer. I love this team; it’s awesome, and we’re going to go somewhere.”
POTTER , WHO TOPS CHS with 44 points (18 goals
The result enabled the winners to avenge a 17-7 pasting they took in Homer back on April 7.
When asked afterwards if his team had actually improved that much since then, Spallone, his team now 7-2 league and 8-3 overall, said “Absolutely. I can’t say enough good things about how hard the kids have worked under ungodly conditions this spring. The rhythm of our practices has been fragmented beyond belief, but the kids have continued to work hard and improve.”The Purple Tigers have used a number of different locales without a home field to practice on during this soggy spring.
“We’ve developed offensive chemistry and gotten great play from our defensive unit, even down a starter like tonight,” added Spallone. “Casey Dailey (sophomore) played a great game, and Greg Congdon (senior) and Clay Fickenscher (junior) are vocal leaders. Homer is good team, but we were able to disrupt everything they wanted to do offensively. We ran the field beautifully, moved the ball well and had unselfish team play offensively.”
“It was even at the start, but it was a case of poor shot selection by us early,” said Homer coach Tom Cottrell, whose team is also 7-2 in the league, lost for only the second time in 11 games overall and had an eight-game winning streak snapped. “Everything we did to them in the first game, they did to us in this one.”
A key offensive connection for Cortland was between senior attacks Dave Fernande-26 assists), admitted to having a little extra incentive for the game given the circumstances of the teams’ last meeting.
“Yeah, it felt great,” he said with a smile. “The whole team was ready. They beat us so bad last time that we wanted revenge. The midfielders did a phenomenal job of hustling. We got the momentum in the first quarter and just ran with it. After the J-D game we wanted to show people that we can play, that we’re not a team that’s going to roll over.”
That became clear as the Purple Tigers, in large part due to the Potter-Fernandes connection, moved from the 1-1 tie to an 8-1 lead three minutes into the second quarter. Homer senior midfielder Connor Ferrito then took matters into his own hands, scoring twice in the span of seven seconds, the first goal off an assist from Osborne, to make it 8-3 with 3:55 left in the first half. Cortland then got goals from senior midfielder Austan DiIorio, senior midfielder Colby Reagan (off an assist from Fernandes) and senior midfielder T.J. Bardsley (assisted by sophomore midfielder Andrew Potter, Phil’s brother) to make it 11-3 at halftime.
“We only had three goals at halftime against J-D,” Cottrell said when asked if his high-scoring squad had been held to a halftime total that low this season, that in a 12-6 home loss back on April 1. “Take nothing away from them, but we didn’t play as well as we have been. Maybe that’s the coaches’ fault in letting them get complacent because things were too easy.”
It was still 11-3 when lightning halted the game for 30 minutes with 8:13 left in the third quarter. The Trojans then scored three of the four goals in the quarter, getting tallies from Osborne (from sophomore attack Beau Riley), sophomore midfielder Casey Cleary (from junior midfielder Conner Johnston) and Ferrito unassisted, to make it 12-6 Cortland after three quarters.
“After the break we started playing a little bit like we should have been,” Cottrell said. “But it was a big hole to dig out of.”
“We were concerned; we were rolling, and doing everything right,” Spallone said of the weather interruption. “We told the kids heading into the fourth to play our game, play to win and not get caught out of sync. The break got us a little conservative.”
IT WAS THE PURPLE Tigers’ turn to score in clusters in the final period, as they regained control and sealed the verdict with four of the first five goals of the stanza for a 16-7 lead with 4:03 left. Fernandes started it off with an assist from Potter, who also got in on the goal fun along with senior midfielder Austan DiIorio and sophomore midfielder Pat McMahon.
DiIorio finished with three goals for the winners to give him 21 goals to go with three assists this spring. Ferrito scored four times and Osborne had three goals and an assist to lead Homer. Ferrito has scored 35 goals this season and has a team-high 48 points, while Osborne has 27 goals and eight assists. Bergeron made 11 saves before yielding to senior Alex Stevens, who stopped two shots in the final 1:34. Sophomore Jonathon Cottrell made 14 saves for the Trojans, like Bergeron with a number of sparkling stops on challenges from point-blank range. Cortland had a 39-26 shot advantage.
Spallone had specific praise for the midfield unit of Reagan, DiIorio, Bardsley and McMahon, and also had praise for his staff.
“We played zone defense a little the first time against Homer, and it didn’t work well,” he said. But Dick Penoyer’s defensive game plan got the defense working very, very well. and Jon Bang, a former player here, works with the faceoff guys and has done a phenomenal job of helping Andrew Potter with the moves he needs. It’s made a real difference.”
Potter took all the faceoffs for Cortland Tuesday evening, and went 17 of the 28.
Both teams are at home Thursday night, Cortland against East Syracuse-Minoa at 5 p.m. back at the Stadium Complex and Homer against Chittenango at 7 p.m. against Chittenango on Coaches vs. Cancer Night with all proceeds going to that organization.
HOMER JVs rolled past visiting Cortland 10-1 to improve to 8-2 on the season as Josh Maxson scored two goals and added four assists, Bryan Cavellier and Jimmy Durkee added two goals each, Chris Brown had a goal and an assist and Josh Maxson, Nate McLyman and Tyler Forshee one goal each.
Dylan Knecht scored the lone goal for Cortland.
Jack Connery made nine saves in the Trojan nets, while Kevin Parker made six saves and Quin Mulherin three for Cortland, whose Team Hustle Award went to Zaverius King. The winners controlled 11 of the 15 faceoffs.
Homer’s JVs host Chittenango at 5 p.m. Thursday, prior to the varsity game, while Cortland’s JVs visit ES-M in a 4:30 p.m. start.


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