May 17, 2012
Caz claims 1st beating Homer
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s Sean Ferrito (1) maintains possesion of the ball while while being guarded by Cazenovia’s Joe Colligan (25) in the first quarter Wednesday night at Butts Field.
There is no substitute for speed and, make no mistake, Cazenovia has it on attack.
Juniors Connor Cannizzaro and Brad Nardella used their fleet feet to wear down Homer Central defenders as the Lakers secured the OHSL Liberty Division regular season crown with an 11-9 victory in Wednesday night’s first place showdown at George Butts Field.
The number-one Class C school in New York State improved to 11-0 in division play and 15-1 overall. The eighth-ranked Trojans fell to 10-1 and 13-3 overall on Senior Night.
Cannizzaro finished the night with three goals and two assists to keep his team in the game. Nardella scored three times to help Cazenovia take the lead for good. Defensively, goalkeeper Trevor Cross made 12 saves — a good chunk of those after the Lakers took the lead for good at 9-8 with 9:32 left in the contest.
“To our kids’ credit, they gave everything they had out there tonight,” Homer coach Tom Cottrell said. “Athletically we just didn’t make the plays that we needed to or mentally make the decisions we need to make at critical times. The things we did real well to come back and win Monday night (beating Syracuse CBA in overtime) we did not do as well tonight and that cost us.
“There’s no doubt, they are very athletic,” he continued, praising the Lakers. “We know who the best players are. We wanted to try and make the other players on the team beat us. Unfortunately, we did not take away their best kids. That’s the one thing we are going to need to do to be successful.”
Homer started well by taking a 2-1 lead in the first quarter on a pair of Conner Johnston goals. The first one at 9:19 was assisted by Beau Riley. Cannizzaro notched the one Cazenovia goal with 4:50 left in the quarter.
Cannizzaro tied the game at 2-2 just 51 seconds into the second quarter. Johnston tallied four minutes later and Aaron Zimmerman found the cage 19 seconds after Johnston for a 4-2 Trojan lead with 7:01 left in the half.
Cannizzaro struck again with a man-up goal at 3:19 before long-stick defender Doyle Judge beat Trojan goalkeeper Jonathan Cottrell (eight saves) 30 seconds later with the equalizer.
Homer closed out the half with two goals for a 6-4 advantage. Zimmerman scored with 1:52 on the clock and Casey Cleary scored with four seconds to go.
The Trojans increased their lead to 7-4 19 seconds into the third quarter when Johnston netted his fourth goal off a Zimmerman pass. Homer appeared to be taking control, but Cazenovia began to regroup.
Oliver Gates found the cage with 8:45 remaining in the quarter to pull Cazenovia to within two at 7-5. Five minutes later, Nardella notched his first goal with an assist from Ryan Cook. Nardella tied the game at 7-7 with a man-up goal as Cannizzaro assisted with 2:39 to go in the quarter. The Lakers took their first lead with 54 seconds left in the quarter on Cook’s unassisted goal.
Play entered the fourth quarter and Brandon Maxson scored on unassisted man-up goal to even the score at 8-8.
Nardella countered with a man-up tally as the clock showed 9:32 to play. Henry Mann scored less than a minute later for a 10-8 Laker lead and Cook struck again with 7:22 to play as Cannizzaro assisted.
Homer tried to battle back, but had very few possessions. Riley did get Homer closer with 5:12 remaining, but that would be it for the Trojans.
While Cazenovia assured itself the top seed for the Section 3, Class C Tournament which begins Saturday, Homer will wait to see if they held on to the second seed or maybe fall to the third seed after tonight’s seeding meeting. The Trojans could play Saturday afternoon or they may a couple days off an begin tournament play next week.
“There is no doubt that 13-3 is a great season and it’s great the way the guys have come together and played this season as a team,” Cottrell said. “There’s a lot to be proud of in the first half of the season.
“Now we go into season two, the post-season,” he added. “We have set ourselves up well to get a good spot to be seeded well. We have beaten everyone in the Cs except Caz. That should bode well for us. We want to set ourselves up for another game with these guys. It won’t be easy because the Cs are loaded. We’ll take Thursday off, see what happens with the seeds and begin working hard for the next game.”
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