May 11, 2011
Purple Tigers unable to keep up with Rams
DeWITT — Coach John Spallone was frank in his assessment of his Cortland High boys’ lacrosse team’s 17-5 drubbing at the hands of host Jamesville-DeWitt, the top-ranked Class B team in the state and the defending state B champion, Tuesday night.
“We’ve been playing well, and I don’t think we played badly tonight despite the final score,” said Spallone, his team now 8-3 in OHSL Class B play and 9-4 overall. “We really don’t have the numbers to stay with them. We got tired at midfield, their goalie made some saves, we didn’t get back a couple of times on defense and the next thing you know the game is feeling like it’s out of reach.
“When Clay took the shot to the ear it goofed us up defensively,” he added, referring to junior defender Clay Fickenshcer who was sidelined. “We lost a lot while he was out, and J-D will put pressure on you and will wear you down after a while.”
The Red Rams, now 12-0 league and 14-0 overall, and winners of 36 straight, including a 13-3 win over host Cortland April 29, took charge early, rolling to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter. Fickenscher was hit on the right earhole by a shot with four seconds left in the half and CHS already trailing by that four-goal margin. He sat out the entire second quarter, during which J-D scored five times and held its visitors scoreless to end what suspense there had been and add a more festive air to halftime ceremonies honoring the team’s 18 seniors — exactly half of the massive squad.
J-D outscored Cortland 6-2 in the third and 2-1 in the fourth, with reserves largely playing for both squads, for the final margin.
“You always have to guard against complacency; it’s easy to have, especially with teenagers,” J-D coach Jamie Archer said regarding the most difficult aspect of maintaining the winning streak. “They can tend to think that everything will come easy, and we try not to let that happen. Cortland lost to Homer badly the first time and beat them pretty good the second time. We used that to keep the kids intense.
“I think if we play our best game we’ll be in pretty good shape against any team. We keep after the kids to keep them motivated so they stay in the game.”
“OBVIOUSLY, THEIR KIDS took it to heart,” Spallone said of Archer’s comment. “They came out firing and we gave up a couple of quick goals. We just don’t have enough depth — we were down a starter again tonight and lost Fickenscher for awhile too — and we paid the price. The kids played hard, generated some offense played good defense at times and (junior goalie) Casey Bergeron made some nice saves.”
Bergeron made 13 saves in all, two less than J-D netminder Dan DiStefano, though the winners had a 38-21 shot advantage. Senior Alex Stevens played the last few minutes in goal for CHS and wasn’t called on to make any saves.
Senior midfielder Austan DiIorio scored Cortland’s only first-half goal unassisted with 2:48 left in the first quarter, making it 3-1 at the time, and also scored an unassisted goal in the third, giving him 28 goals on the season. Senior midfielder Colby Reagan (25th of the season), senior attack Phil Potter (20th) and sophomore midfielder Andrew Potter (seventh; Phil’s brother) scored once each for the visitors, with junior attack/midfielder Chad Timmons getting his ninth assist on the latter’s goal.
Junior attack McLaren Brady had four goals and an assist for J-D, giving him 26 goals and eight assists on the season. Sophomore midfielder Jordan Evans had three goals and five assists and now stands at 40-30, junior attack Deke Burns’s three goals and two assists improved his numbers to 50-20 and Syracuse University-bound senior midfielder Alex Hatem scored twice, giving him 31 goals to go with three assists.
“The last game with Cortland was never close, but we lost focus in the second half (when each team scored twice),” Brady said. “Not to take away from them, but our defense is mostly strong and can hold all their guys. The key to our success is hard work at every practice. When we have a great practice, we have a great game right after.”
“WE KNEW WE had to play hard and execute. We wanted to get all our players in,” Evans said. “Our second and third defensive lines are pretty good, along with our first; there was some miscommunication, but we’re happy with the game. I like to give and take feeds from behind the goal if a team is in a zone; when it’s fed to the crease or wing, usually a good shot comes out of it.”
Cortland closes out the regular season by hosting Chittenango Thursday at 4:30 p.m., New hartford Saturday at 10 a.m. and Fulton at 5 p.m. Monday on Senior Night. All three games will hopefully be played on the Purple Tigers’ regular field at the high school, according to Spallone, who noted that his team has been able to practice there a few times after the wet weather subsided.
CORTLAND JVs trailed J-D 2-1 at the half before the Red Rams exploded in the second half en route to a 13-2 victory. J-D tallied nine third-quarter goals while holding the Purple Tigers scoreless in that stretch to take control of the contest.
Nate Wright and Michael Thomas scored once each for CHS, which lost its 10th straight after a victory in its opener. Kevin Parker and Quin Mulherin made eight and four saves, respectively, in the Cortland nets. The Team Hustle Award went to Dillon Knecht. Jack DeLong led the Red Rams with three goals.
The Purple Tiger JVs host Chittenango Friday at 4:30 p.m.
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