May 9, 2007
Purple Tigers able to pull away
Overcome penalties to surge past Homer
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central defenseman Joe May (25) was flagged for a penalty on this third quarter check on Dan Leonard of Cortland High Tuesday night at Butts Field.Visiting CHS was a 13-5 winner.
There were all the trademarks of a typical Cortland High-Homer Central lacrosse contest — with plenty of exciting action, some very physical play and the slight hint of an upset.
At least an upset was a possibility until four and a half minutes were gone in the third quarter. That is when the visiting Purple Tigers of Cortland took command, turning a narrow 6-3 advantage into a 13-5 triumph in this OHSL Class B Division battle with the Trojans at George Butts Field Tuesday night.
Cortland improved to 10-1 in the division and 13-2 overall while Homer fell to 3-7 in the division and 3-11 overall. It was the first Cortland sweep in the annual two-game series since 1999.
“We started well,” said Cortland coach John Spallone. “Homer made a run, but we made some corrections at halftime. We were able to move their defensive slides and that opened some holes for our midfielders to get good looks at the goal. Penalties really hurt our offense more than anything.”
“Our kids do play hard,” said Homer coach Tom Cottrell. “We may not be the most skilled team, but we always come to play hard. Cortland did open the door by taking some penalties and our man-up scored a couple of times. Cortland is a very talented club and that is why they were able to pull away. We did play a much better game than the first time we met and that was all I could ask of these guys.”
The Purple Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening 90 seconds as Jay Hartnett scored his first of his three goals. Cortland made the score 2-0 when Dan Leonard scored an unassisted goal with 5:51 left in the quarter, but it was four minutes later before the visitors found an opening on Trojan goalkeeper Kyle Crosley (16 saves).
Jack Spallone netted his first of two goals with 1:51 left in the quarter and Taylor Brown added his only tally with 32 seconds left for a 4-0 advantage.
The Purple Tigers increased their lead to 6-0 as Joel White assisted on goals by Theo Bishop (11:10) and Nate Thomas (9:18).
Homer got on the board with a man-up goal as Bretts Capps converted a nice pass from Shawn Cleary with 6:18 left in the first half. Less than a minute later, Kyle Metzger took a pass from Paul Armideo and fired a shot past Cortland netminder Zach Zayac (11 saves) to trim the deficit to 6-2.
The Trojans got a couple of man-up chances in the final four minutes of the half, but could not convert. The best chance came with 17 seconds left when Erich Lindhorst ripped a nice low shot, but Zayac deflected the ball away to maintain the four-goal advantage.
Homer began the third quarter with great intensity, but Zayac would not waiver until Armideo found an opening and tucked a shot under the crossbar after a pass from Cleary. The man-up tally with 9:50 left in the quarter cut the deficit to 6-3.
The Purple Tigers regrouped and scored three times within a 2:20 span to open-up a 9-3 lead. Hartnett scored of a feed from long-sticker Jesse Brown at 7:31. Brad Rogers scored off a Leonard feed with 5:39 left and White scored 20 seconds later as his pass in front of the Homer goal missed his teammate, but found its way by a stunned Crosley for the goal.
Play turned very physical over the remaining five minutes of the quarter with each team absorbing some one-minute penalties for illegal checks, unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct. Homer did score with 32 seconds left as Will Connery threaded a pass to Lindhorst for the man-up tally as the Trojans trailed 10-4 with one quarter left.
Cooler heads finally prevailed as play in the fourth quarter unfolded. Hartnett (8:51), Bishop (4:41) and White (3:03) helped the Purple Tigers pull away to a 13-4 advantage.
Travis Carruthers relieved Zayac after the final Purple Tiger goal and made one save before surrendering a goal to Talon Sprouse with 29.6 seconds left in the match.
Cortland led in most statistical categories. Homer was able to convert 3-of-10 man-up opportunities and Cortland was 1-for-2, but it was the balanced scoring attack that proved to be the difference for the Purple Tigers.
“We have been getting more balanced scoring lately,” said Spallone. “I want that to be our scenario. It will make defending us tougher if we get more players involved in the scoring. Part of that success does come from our long-stickers, who have the quickness to get our transition game going. We really have a very talented group and I am promoting the use of a more high-speed transition game.”
“Mark Brenchley did a fantastic job tonight,” said Cottrell. “Joe May did a good job defensively and Kyle (Crosley) really stood-up (in goal) and played like a senior tonight. I was really proud of everyone. We scored five goals tonight and one of our best players (Steve Schillo) was standing on the sidelines with a cast on his leg.”
Cortland High will return to action Thursday as the Purple Tigers host New Hartford at 5 p.m. Homer also plays Thursday, traveling to Chittenango for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Resurgent CHS stickers roll past Trojans
Watching the Cortland High girls’ lacrosse team in action these days, it’s hard to imagine that it’s the same team that began the season by winning just once in its first four games.
The Purple Tigers made it nine wins in a row since that stumbling start Tuesday night, rolling past rival Homer Central 11-3 at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
“There were several things that led to the slow start,” said Cortland coach Kim Pace, whose team is now 7-2 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 10-3 overall. “The major factor is the weather. Prior to our first game at East Syracuse-Minoa, we hadn’t practiced on a grass field, having spent two weeks in the gym or on a parking lot,” she added, CHS opening with a 6-4 loss at East Syracuse-Minoa on the last day of March. “Prior to the game at Jamesville-DeWitt (a 10-7 loss April 5) we hadn’t practiced on a field lined for girls’ lacrosse, so it was very difficult to run our offense. And we played that game in a blizzard, so it wasn’t a true reflection of either team’s skill level.
“In the Cazenovia game (a 13-11 loss April 7) we were doing a great deal of position shuffling due to the many injuries suffered against J-D. So I attribute our early-season losses to things out of our control. The other factor was under our control, in that we were looking too far ahead to where we wanted to be at the end of the season instead of taking each game as it came. Now we take one day at a time, never looking past the upcoming game.”
Junior midfielder Janelle Stegeland led the way for the winners on Tuesday, scoring four goals to give her a team-high 35 this season. “We’ve been playing together really well,” she said. “Now we’re playing a passing game and playing much more like a team. The midfield and attack are playing great together.”
Cortland came out strong, scoring the first three goals of the game, as Stegeland tallied just 1:51 in off an assist from senior midfielder Beth Cutia before junior midfielder Bailey Reagan scored her 17th goal of the season at 20:18 and sophomore midfielder Katherine Hunsberger her 16th at 17:19.
Homer then made things interesting with a pair of goals in the span of 2:25, junior attack Lindsay Wilson scoring her 42nd of the season at 16:01 before senior midfielder Meghan Marchetti scored at 13:36.
Cortland then closed out the first half with four straight goals, and scored the first two of the second half to take control for good.
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Trojans reward: First win
DeWITT — All the hard work has finally paid off as Homer Central boys picked up their first tennis win of the season. The visiting Trojans swept all three doubles matches en route to a 5-2 OHSL Freedom Division victory over Jamesville-DeWitt.
The Trojans now stands at 1-6 in division and overall play while the Rd Rams fell to 1-7 in league action and 1-9 overall.
“Awesome win tonight,” said Homer coach Nancy Cavellier. “I’m so proud of all the guys tonight. They all played hard and didn’t give up.”
Keegan Mastroe and Reilley Mastroe posted a 6-4, 6-4 win over Jon Conlon and Cooper White at first doubles. Jon Southwick and Dan DiGiovanna rallied from a 4-6 loss in the first set to down Reed Hollinger and Nate Lee 6-2, 6-0 in the final two sets of their second doubles match. Andy Saraceno teamed with Stefan Haugen to post a 6-2, 6-3 win over Devan Ramachandrian and Dennis Zhou.
“The Keegan duo had focus and determination,” said Cavellier. “Jon and Dan came back after a slow start to give Homer their second point. Jon and Dan play to win the point. Very smart tennis.”
In singles competition, Chris Bauer was a winner at first singles thanks to a 7-6 (7-5) win in the third set. Jeff Eves made his first singles competition and responded with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win at fourth singles over Ken Koseki.
“It took a while for Chris to pull out the win but when he did, it looked pretty good for the fourth point coming from Andy and Stephan,” Cavellier stated. “To put icing on the cake, Jeff Eves fought hard to come back to give Homer its fifth point. Jeff has ice in his veins, losing is definitely not in his vocabulary.”
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