May 23, 2007


Purple Tigers’ comeback falls short

CBA girls take 12-11 Class C lax victory


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Kimmy Natoli (22) keeps her eyes on the ball while being hounded by CBA defender Kristen Robinson (5) Tuesday afternoon. Visiting CBA ended the Purple Tigers season with a 12-11 win in the Section 3 Class C tournament.

It was another comeback by the Cortland High girls’ lacrosse team, only this time it came up just a little short.
The Purple Tigers, seeded third in the Section 3 Class C tournament, came into Tuesday’s quarterfinal contest with visiting sixth seed Syracuse CBA riding the crest of a 13-game winning streak. That success had turned around a season that started with three losses in the first four games.
On Tuesday the hosts, ranked 14th in the state in Class C, never led after CBA scored the first four goals of the contest in a span of 4:01 after the opening draw.
The Purple Tigers pulled to within one goal twice, including the final score of 12-11. A closing charge saw CHS score three goals in 55 seconds, the last with seven seconds left, to come up just short and finish the season at 14-4.
CBA, ranked 11th in the state in Class C, improved to 12-8.
“The biggest difference in the game was that we played in spurts and CBA played a full 50 minutes,” Cortland coach Kim Pace said. “They’re a very talented team and they came to play. When they scored four quick goals to start the game, we let our nerves take over. We started playing not to lose, instead of playing to win.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how the girls played. They each gave the team everything they had. They hustled and they played with their hearts. They definitely left it all on the field. Unfortunately, we didn’t play smart,” she added. “We didn’t use the clock effectively throughout the game and didn’t always make the best decisions with the ball. In sectional games, the team that makes fewer mistakes is going to come way with the win. We made more mistakes in this game that we had all season, and it cost us the game.”
The hosts trailed 7-4 at halftime, but scored the first two goals of the second half and trailed by just 7-6 with 17:55 left in the game. CBA then scored the next four, two by Brittany Brigandi and the other two by Rachel Ponge — her only two of the game — to make it 11-6 with 12:22 remaining.
Brigandi would lead the Brothers with five goals and three assists.
Cortland then scored five of the next six to close things out, with junior midfielder Janelle Stegeland scoring two of those and sophomore midfielder Katherine Hunsberger, junior midfielder Natalie Muka and fellow junior midfielder Bailey Reagan one each.
CBA’s Katie Webster notched the eventual game-winner, her only goal of the game, with 1:14 left to make it 12-8.
The Purple Tigers then mounted one final impressive but futile rush, Muka scoring with 1L02 left, Regan converting a pass from junior attack Kim Hall with 21 seconds left and Stegeland rippling the net off a pass from senior midfielder Beth Cutia with seven seconds remaining.
“With seven seconds left on the clock we gained control of the draw, but didn’t have enough time to get it in our offensive end of the field,” Pace said. “We just ran out of time. Despite the final outcome; the girls deserve a lot of credit. It would have been very easy to give up at the very beginning, being down by four just five minutes into the game. Burt we fought back to pull to within three at the half, which should have been two after a late whistle on a goal by Kim Natoli that was called back.
“In the second half, when we were down by five with 10 minutes left in the game, I saw the Cortland team I have had the honor of coaching all season show up and take control,” she said. “All of a sudden, a spark was lit. We started thinking and playing our game. The defense played more aggressively, holding CBA to just one goal over the final 12:22, and that one came when we were in a pressure defense attempting to regain control of the ball. The girls also became more aggressive on the draw to gain control of the ball and allow us more scoring opportunities. ”
Hunsberger led Cortland with four goals, giving her 23 for the season, while Stegeland had three goals and an assist, finishing the season with 53 goals and 18 assists for 71 points, team highs in all three categories. Cutia had a goal and two assists, Regan a goal and an assist senior attack Robin Barber and Muka one goal each.
Cortland had a 24-20 shot advantage, getting four saves from senior goalie Danielle DePerno before classmate Victoria Convertini came in for the final 12 minutes, during which she wasn’t called on to make any saves. Emma Taylor stopped nine shots for CBA.
“The girls just wouldn’t give up and walk away without a fight,” Pace said. “I am very proud of each athlete on the team and how hard they worked as a team to accomplish so much over the past three months.”
The Purple Tigers wound up sharing the OHSL Freedom Division championship (at 10-2) with Jamesville-DeWitt and east Syracuse-Minoa, beating both squads down the stretch after losing to both during the 1-3 start to the season. CHS scored 202 goals on the season, 11.22 a game, and allowed only 95, 5.28 a contest.
CBA will take on No. 7 Cazenovia (also 12-8) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Syracuse Henninger in the Class C semifinals. The Lakers ousted second-seeded J-D, with closed at 15-3, by a score of 13-9 on Tuesday.
In Thursday’s other semifinal, also at Henninger, No. 5 Westhill (13-7) takes on top-seeded Skaneateles (17-1) at 5 p.m.


Three CHS first places at OHSL Freedom meet

CHITTENANGO — The Cortland High boys’ track team won three events Tuesday to highlight the performance by local teams in the OHSL Freedom Division meet at Chittenango.
Senior Paul Novak stayed unbeaten in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, winning in 59.83. Also unbeaten is junior Keith Sherman in the discus, taking top honors with a throw of 129-10. Senior Judd Arnold won the pentathlon with 2,628 points.
Cortland finished seventh in the eight-team field with 40.5 points, followed by Homer with 28.
Mac Brown had the best finish for the Trojans, taking second in the pole vault at 11-0.
“Our team didn’t score a lot of points, but the three guys who have sparked us all season reaped the fruits of their labors,” Cortland coach Bob Vidulich said. “Paul ran another 59 (seconds) and has a great opportunity to come back Friday and face some stiffer competition at sectionals. It wasn’t Keith’s best (discus) throw of the season, which was 136 feet, but he’ll be ready for sectionals. He was also sixth in the shot put (at 40-5). Judd had a good evening in his five events, and we now have time to work on events that we know can improve.
“We had some other personal improvements. Bayshawn Barlow long-jumped 18-9 to take sixth, while the 1,600 relay squad of Nolan Ray, Paul Novak, Sam Narby and Geoff Peppel was sixth in 3:56.51. Brandon Casterline took fifth in the pole vault (10-0) and the 400 relay team of Bayshawn Barlow, Josh Houck, Brandon Casterline and Dyquann Barlow (an eighth-grader filling in at anchor for Kaywon Pittman) took third, timed in 47.47.”
Brown was one of three Trojans who placed at the meet.
“His performance placed him second overall and made him a second team all-league athlete,” said Homer coach George Schneider of Brown’s effort. “Mac was the only member of the boy’s team to earn all-league honors.”
Jackson Randolph and Andrew Gregg each posted third-place finishes. Randolph ran a personal best of 4:45.74 in the 1,600m run while Gregg totaled 2,287 points in the pentathlon for those top-three efforts. Randolph also placed fifth in the 800 with another personal best for the day.
Jon Allen posted personal bests in the 110 high hurdles, long jump and 200. Allen posted a PB time of 16.95 in the 110m high hurdles semifinal, but was a little slower in the finals as he placed fourth.
Frank DeAngles placed fifth in the 400 intermediate hurdles.
James McKenna (3,200) and Josh Bergmark (400 intermediate hurdles) also posted personal bests for the Trojans, but did not place.
“Mac Brown, Jon Allen, and Andrew Gregg will move on to sectionals,” Schneider said.
Cortland and Homer will both return to Chittenango Friday for the Class A sectional meet.
Cortland and Homer girls are at the Class A sectional meet on Thursday, East Syracuse-Minoa hosting that event.




V-V-S trips up Trojans in Class A

VERNON — “Valient effort by the varsity!”
Those were the words Homer Central baseball coach Rob Nasiatka used after his Trojans were eliminated in the Section 3 Class A first-round action Tuesday. Fifth-seed Vernon-Verona-Sherrill posted an 8-1 win over the visiting Trojans, who were the 12th-seed and fall to a 6-9 on the season.
“The V-V-S pitcher kept us off balance the whole night with an 85 mile an hour curveball and an outstanding fastball,” said Nasiatka of winning hurler Doug Doolen. “What a great team effort to win four out of the last five to get in.”
Doolen allowed just four Homer hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
V-V-S (15-6) from the Tri-Valley League took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Mark Dixon (2-for-3) and came around to score the first run of the game. Doolen reached first on an error with one out and stole second. Matt Sayles (2-for-3) doubled to score Doolen.
Homer cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the fourth. Anthony Brevetti hit a double with one out. Zach Morgan scored Brevetti with a two-out single.
V-V-S countered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. A single by Mitch Iseneker (2-for-4) and doble by Dixon put runners at second and third. John Dutchik drove both runners home with a triple. Doolen singled home Dutchik for a 5-1 advantage.
The home team loaded the bases again in the fifth to chase Homer starter Dan Miller. Anthony Brevetti came on in relief and got out of the inning with some great defensive help.
“He (Miller) was a little high in the zone and got hit hard in the fourth and fifth,” said Nasiatka. “Brevetti came in with bases loaded in the fifth and got a big play from Ryne Austin at third to get a force at home and a force out by Nick Biondi at first to get out of the inning.”
V-V-S added three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for an 8-1 cushion. One run scored on a passed ball and two more on a double by Iseneker.
“It was great that the seniors got to go to sectionals,” said Nasiatka. “It is encouraging for the classes coming up to have the experience of sectionals. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate earlier next year so we came settle into pitching and rotations. All in all it was a successful year and the program looks as if it we are moving in the right direction.”
Coach Nasiatka said that the Trojans will play make-up OHSL Freedom Division games with Jamesville-Dewitt after the Red Rams are eliminated from sectional play. J-D is 9-4 in division play while East-Syracuse-Minoa is 11-4.