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May 22, 2010

 

Purple Tigers end up goal shy in showdown

LacrosseJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Elle DePerno is pursued by J-D’s Liv Beville (19) and Morgan Freeman (4) during Friday’s OHSL lacrosse showdown.

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writer

The battle of the this spring’s two OHSL Freedom Division girls’ lacrosse champions came as advertised Friday afternoon.
Host Cortland High, which won the Freedom American crown, got two goals within 27 seconds from senior attack Marissa Mastronardi early on to open the scoring and never trailed in the first half, going into intermission on the long end of a 5-3 score.
Freedom National winner Jamesville-DeWitt turned things around in the second half, scoring five straight goals for an 8-5 lead before a late CHS rally fell just short in what ended up an 8-7 Red Ram victory.
“We slowed the game down in the second half trying to play possession and it took us out of our rhythm,” Purple Tigers coach Kim Pace said, her team having finished the regular season 10-1 in league play and 12-4 overall — good for the fifth seed in the upcoming section 3 Class B tournament. “We possessed the ball but weren’t able to get off many good shots before turning it over. They started pressing the ball harder, doubling the ball.”
“We started playing out game in the second half,” said J-D coach Phil Luckette, whose team, ranked 18th in the state in Class B, finished the regular season perfect in 12 league games and 16 contests overall and is the second Class B sectional seed. “Our players communicated better in the second half; they had mentioned themselves at halftime that communication was lacking. They also played better defense.”
So much so, in fact, that Cortland wasn’t able to score a second-half goal until just 2:53 remained in the game, shut out for the first 22:07 of the half. By that time J-D had its 8-5 lead, with senior midfielder Tori Nies getting the Red Rams’ first three second-half goals — at 21:54 (assisted by classmate and fellow midfielder Ashriel West), 11:27 (on a free position) and the goal that put the visitors on top for the first time and, as it turned out, for good, with 8:03 remaining.
“”I got a little made and stepped it up a little,” Nies said with a laugh of her scoring outburst, which gave her 34 goals on the season to go along with 28 assists, one of those also coming in Friday’s contest. “I tried to get everyone else pumped up. We all just had to step it up, and a really strong defense helped a lot. One of our key defenders, (senior) Katie Heil, was out sick, to the rest had to pick it up.”
“Tori is one of our pressure players,” Luckette said. “She’s thinking every minute of the game, and has the coolest head on the field.”
After Nies put J-D ahead, senior midfielder Ashriel West scored off an assist from sophomore attack Taylor Bierwagen at 7:18 and junior midfielder Lauren Swan tallied with 4:54 left to make it 8-5 Red Rams.
As noted, Cortland finally got on the second-half board with 2:53 left, on an unassisted tally by senior midfielder Maya Gebhardt. Junior attack Carly Cunningham’s goal with 1:47 left made it a one-goal game, and Cortland won the ensuing draw. The Purple Tigers swarmed the visitors’ net, but two free positions were blocked by defenders before reaching goalie Tara Prosak and J-D was able to regain possession and run out the clock.
“I was really nervous,” Nies said. “Up until now, our closest game was seven goals. It was exciting to finally play this team after the game was postponed twice. It was fun.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way the girls played,” Pace said. “Everyone left everything they had on the field; it was just a case of too little too late. We gave J-D the best game it’s had this season, and it showed us that we can play with anyone, starting next week.
“I thought Maya and (junior midfielder) Kaylee Gebhardt played outstanding games, Maya with second and third effort and Kaylee with non-stop hustle. Plus our entire defense was strong, and kept J-D on its toes. (Junior) Jacquie Clark and Taylor Reynolds also played very aggressively at the midfield, with numerous caused turnovers and groundballs. The entire offense did a great job of being very patient with the ball, made great choices and worked to set one another up for the shot.”
After Mastronardi opened the scoring at 21:42 (unassisted ) and 21:15 (off an assist from junior midfielder Taylor Reynolds), J-D senior midfielder Alexandra Loewy put one past CHS junior goalie Julia Convertini at 19:25. Mastronardi then got her third of the game, from senior midfielder Elle DePerno, at 14:58 to make it 3-1 for Cortland.
The Red Rams’ West converted an assist from Nies at 12:33 before Mastronardi assisted on a goal by Maya Gebhardt at 10:28 to make it 4-2. West tallied off an assist by Swan at 9:53, and Reynolds closed out the first-half scoring on a free position shot with 52 seconds left.
Nies and West each had three goals and an assist for J-D, Swan and Loewy with one goal apiece. Mastronardi had three goals (giving her a team-high 43 on the season) and an assist for Cortland, while Maya Gebhardt