May 12, 2010


Purple Tigers hold off Whitesboro’s late rally


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High goalie Eric Burch (13) strayed from his crease to fire a pass past defender Evan Manna (32) in the third quarter of Tuesday’s OHSL lacrosse contest. That set up a Phil Potter goal in Cortland’s 10-9 victory.

Things looked good for the Cortland High boys’ lacrosse team Tuesday afternoon heading into the fourth quarter of its OHSL B Division game against visiting Whitesboro.
The Purple Tigers, of the strength of an 8-3 scoring advantage over the second and third periods, took a 10-5 lead into the final 12 minutes. The never-say-die visitors, however, scored four times to make it interesting, and the Purple Tigers held on late to escape with a 10-9 win.
“It was an uncharacteristically tough fourth quarter for us, but the kids are pretty resilient,” CHS coach John Spallone said. “At the end we executed our keep-away offense pretty well against their double-team, but did well in the last 3:25 in terms of execution.“It was a tough day here,” he added, CHS teacher Kathy Ferris having passed away earlier in the day. “Wee wore pink chin straps in her memory. And we found out shortly before the game that Josh Tomko was unavailable due to illness. We also hadn’t played a game in a week, and in the first quarter it looked it. We didn’t have a game-long good competitive edge. It was there in spots. Hopefully we’ve gotten that of our system.”
What turned out to be the winning goal came with 25 seconds left in the third quarter, junior attackman Phil Potter taking a pass from senior goalie Eric Burch, who came down the field on a clear, and putting the ball behind Whitesboro netminder Nolan Puleo.
Two of the visitors’ fourth-quarter goals came from man-up situations, and after they pulled within one with 3:25 left they had a couple more possessions but were thwarted. Cortland played a possession game down the stretch, foregoing scoring attempts even when the Warriors went a man down for two minutes on a double slashing penalty soon after pulling within one.
“We tried to use time and end the game,” Spallone said, noting that “It was a good mental process” when junior attackman T.J. Bardsley passed up a one-on-one opportunity with Puleo to keep the ball with just over a minute left.
Potter led the Purple Tigers, now 7-2 in the league (in second place behind unbeaten Jamesville-DeWitt) and 10-3 overall, with three goals and an assist, while junior attackman Dave Fernandes had two goals, senior attackman Brandon Planck a goal and three assists and junior midfielder Austan DiIorio, senior attackman-midfielder Dan Miller and freshman attackman-midfielder Andrew Potter one goal each. Dan Barry, Chris Gibbs and Dominick Tucci scored twice each for Whitesboro (4-6, 7-7).
Burch made 16 saves to 10 for Puleo as the Warriors had a 28-25 scoring advantage. “Eric played a great game, and was hot in the second quarter (when Cortland outscored the visitors 5-1).”
Spallone noted that sophomore defenseman Clay Fickenscher, back from injury, did well on groundballs (CHS with a 27-25 advantage) and cited Andrew Potter for his faceoff success, taking most of them as the hosts had a 12-9 advantage.
The Purple Tigers visit Fulton Thursday and host East Syracuse-Minoa Saturday in a 10 a.m. start.