May 8, 2009


Final spurt favors Tigers


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland’s Jacquie Clark (14) protects the ball from Mexico defender Heather Boyzuck (18) in the first half of Thursday’s OHSL Freedom Division lacrosse contest. CHS beat the visitors, 10-8.

In a game of scoring streaks, the Cortland High girls’ lacrosse team got the final word Thursday afternoon.
The host Purple Tigers broke a 7-7 tie by scoring three of the game’s last four goals in a 10-8 OHSL Freedom Division victory over Mexico. The winners, now 6-2 in the league and 7-4 overall, had scored the first five goals of the game and took a 5-1 lead into halftime.
Mexico scored four straight goals near the midway point of the second half — three off the stick of Steve Lombardoni — to tie the game with 14:24 left before the final CHS flurry. Jenna Phelps scored off a free position with 13:15 remaining, and 43 seconds later Casey Marks made it 9-7. Mexico then got a goal from Heather Taylor with 8:42 left to make it 9-8 before Marks fed Molly Bramschreiber for the game’s final goal 15 seconds later.
“Mexico came out strong looking to avenge an early season one-goal loss,” Cortland coach Kim Pace said, her squad a 6-5 winner at Mexico back on April 14. “They are a very physical team and we knew we would have to play hard and smart for the entire game and minimize our mistakes. The defense played very controlled but aggressive in the first half, forcing bad shots and causing many turnovers, giving up just one first-half goal.
“Our defense did a great job of communicating, picking up the cutters, and sliding on the drives. (Goalie) Caitlin Cottone had an outstanding game. With 12 first-half saves, she is the reason we had a four-goal lead at the half. Caitlin stepped up big today and led the team from the crease,” added Pace.
Molly Bramschreiber led the Purple Tigers with four goals and an assist, while Marks had two goals and an assist, Jenna Phelps a goal and two assists, Elle DePerno a goal and an assist and Maya Gebhardt and Carly Cunningham one goal each. Justine VanSant had three goals and an assist and Steve Lombardoni three goals for Mexico (2-6 league, 3-6 overall), while Taylor and Heather Boyzuck had one goal each.
Cottone ended up with 19 saves to 11 for the Tigers’ Cassandra DeLong, the visitors with a 27-25 shot advantage.
“Our midfield worked very hard today to move the ball before they were double- and triple-teamed by swarming Mexico sticks,” Pace said. “Elle, Jenna, Molly and Casey are starting to know instinctively where they can look to find their open teammates in transition. After VanSant scored her third goal of the game at the beginning of the second half, Emily VanGorder took over the job of marking her and held her scoreless for the remainder of the game. Emily is a fast, smart, disciplined defender and did a great job of shutting down one of Mexico’s leading scorers.
“Maya also stepped up today to make things happen in the midfield and offensively,” she added of Gebhardt. “She chased down many groundballs and had some great interceptions to help us regain control of the ball. Every day she is playing with more confidence. Jacquie Clark and Kaitlyn Drach continue to work hard in the midfield. Their endless hustle gives us more depth in the midfield.”
Pace also praised Haley Meldrim, noting that “she was all over the field and involved in just about everything that happened from draw controls, to transition, to settling the offense down and pressuring on our ride.
“Carly, Marissa Mastronardi and Kelsey Faberzak also worked hard offensively to create space and make good choices with the ball. We can always count on Carly to chase down any wide shot to help us maintain possession of the ball and give us second and third chances at scoring.”
Cortland hosts Whitesboro Monday at 5 p.m. with the JV game to follow.
CORTLAND JVs beat Mexico 13-6 to improve to 9-2 on the season.
“The tone of the game was established early, with 10 goals being scored in the first half,” Purple Tigers coach Phyllis Litzenberger said. “At one point five goals were scored within a two-minute time frame. We maintained possession and made smart choices with the ball. Many turnovers were caused by pressure in the midfield and getting groundballs. Mexico only took four shots (scoring on one) the whole first half.”
Julie Convertini made two saves and Taylor Grossi stopped three shots in the winners’ nets.
In a late report from Tuesday, the JVs beat New Hartford 14-11 in overtime. The game was tied 10-10 at the end of regulation, CHS coming back from a 6-5 halftime deficit.


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