May 25, 2007


Strong start for Purple Tigers

CHS cruises past Spartans

CHS Lacrosse

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Jay Hartnett of Cortland High brings ball upfield as Chris Perra of New Hartford defends. Purple Tigers opened up section play with a win.

Staff Writer

The Cortland High boys’ lacrosse team ran counter to a couple of pieces of conventional wisdom Thursday afternoon in its first-round Section 3 Class B contest with visiting New Hartford.
“Like everyone says, the hardest round of any playoff scenario is the first one,” said John Spallone, the coach of the third-seeded Purple Tigers. “It’s a whole different intensity level, and if you’re a little bit out of sync… we came in not having played in a week.
“We’d beaten New Hartford twice during the regular season, and they say that it’s hard to beat a team three times in the same season. They’re charged up if they get ahead, or if it’s close,” he added.
Cortland made all the old saws look like so much nonsense against the sixth-seeded Spartans (10-8), rolling to a 14-4 victory to improve to 17-2 and earn a quarterfinal date with No. 2 Carthage (18-1) in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse. The Comets were 15-7 winners over No. 7 Whitesboro Thursday.
Leading the way was senior midfielder Joel White, who scored four goals and added three assists as he and his classmates played their final game ever on their home field. After the hosts scored twice in the first 2:04 of the game — senior midfielder Theo Bishop from junior attack Nate Thomas 1:33 in, and White unassisted 31 seconds later from a scramble in front — New Hartford halved the deficit when senior midfielder Chris Perra tallied with 7:22 left in the opening quarter.
From there, though, it was all Purple Tigers, as they led 5-1 at the end of the first, 7-1 at halftime and wound up scoring the next eight goals overall to go up 10-1 with 3:16 left in the third. White was instrumental in the surge to end the first quarter, assisting on the first of three goals by senior attack Taylor Brown and then scoring the last two goals of the period himself.
“This team has been together for awhile,” White said, “but it seems like every game we need a jump start. We need to have a guy be the leader. That’s why I jumped up and down after our first goal, to bring the other guys up. Then everything flows so much better.”
White took a hard hit, one of a number he absorbed on the day, after the final goal of the first quarter,_and was a little slow getting up, which caused some concern among the crowd, which included Syracuse University coach John Desko, who White will be playing for next_season.
“I got hit after the shot, when I was on my heels, and my head whip-lashed and hit the ground,” White said. “I was seeing stars when I opened my eyes and things were blurry. I still have a headache. But when a goal goes in, it’s worth it.”
“Joel, Theo, Taylor, and (senior goalie) Zach Zayac all stepped it up,” Spallone said. “You have to expect your top guys to lead the charge, and then everyone else will fall in.”
All told, in addition to White and Brown, Bishop had two goals and an assist, junior attack Nate Thomas two goals, junior attack Jack Spallone a goal and an assist and midfielder brothers Jay and Mike Hartnett one goal each.
Zayac made 11 saves, and junior Travis Carruthers topped two more shots over the final 2:54, as Cortland enjoyed a 47-18 shot advantage. The Cortland defense made numerous interceptions and steals as the young Spartans were frustrated time and again in their offensive zone. Freshman starter Pat Alcott made eight saves and junior Sagar Patel three more for the visitors.
“Dick Penoyer (Cortland assistant coach and defensive coordinator) has said numerous times that Matt Marks, Chris Fernandes and Jesse Brown (all juniors) have picked off, knocked down or broken up more passes than anyone we’ve had in a long time,” Spallone said. “I was also happy that we were able to elevate our transition game in the second half.”
New Hartford, which won the sectional B crown last season, lost a lot from that team but did show signs of what will be to come with some nice interceptions and stickwork of its own, most of which seemed to be closely followed by a bad bounce or an outright mistake.
“I think that first you have to give them credit for that first,” Spartans coach Dan Pope said. “They were the better team than us today, and they have been three times this season. All three times the score was about the same (13-6 and 12-3 in the two regular-season games); our kids played hard, but they’re better, more athletic and faster.
“We got some clean looks but couldn’t finish, and you can’t get away with that against a team like them.”
Despite having beaten Jamesville-DeWitt once this season and losing in overtime in the other game, and the fact that J-D easily handled Carthage, the Purple Tigers were seeded third behind the Red Rams and Comets, respectively. J-D, which beat No. 8 Nottingham 16-8 Thursday to improve to 16-3, will face No. 4 East Syracuse-Minoa (12-7) at 3 p.m. Saturday at C-NS in the other B semifinal. The championship game is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, also at C-NS.
“I have no problem with the seeding, but I told the kids, if you feel slighted all you need to do is come out and assert yourselves with your play,” Spallone said. “All of the teams left are good, or they wouldn’t be here.”
“Being the third seed gives us some extra incentive,” White said. “We said, ‘OK, let’s go out and show that we’re the top team.’ We want to win them all no matter who we play.”
“I thought that Cortland could have been the number one seed, and that J-D is the only team that can play with them,” Pope said. “I think it will be Cortland and J-D in the final, and they should have another barn-burner.”




Class A firsts for Bishop, Wilson

Cortland High and Homer Central each had a first-place finisher at Thursday’s Section 3 Class A meet at East Syracuse-Minoa.
Purple Tiger junior Deanna Bishop, competing in the pentathlon for only the second time for CHS, won the event with 2,228 points.
Trojan junior Heather Wilson won a stirring stretch run to capture the 800-meters in 2:20.5. Another Homer junior, Jessica Bramhall, was third in that same race in 2:26.9, while Cortland’s Margaret Knight took third in the long jump at 16-04 and fifth in the triple jump at 33-1.75.
Cortland was 12th in the 15-team field with 18 points and Homer was 13th with 16. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill amassed 102 points to win the team title.
Both DeRuyter teams competed in their respective Class D meets at New York Mills on Thursday, and both finished seventh of 12 teams. The girls got two record-setting relay performances and totaled 27.5 points (Remsen won with 170), while the boys had 25 points to 127 for team champion Living Word Academy.
Bishop trailed by four points heading into the final event of the pentathlon, the 800 meters, which she easily won in 2:34.77 to finish first.
“Deanna put it all together. She’s a good kid and an outstanding athlete,” Cortland coach Ron Reed said. “She improved her shot put (23-0.75) by almost three feet from the league meet on Monday (when Bishop won her first-ever pentathlon with 1,883 points) and had a season-best high jump of 4-11.5.
“Margaret is really peaking at the perfect time,” he added. “She hadn’t reached 16 feet in the long jump, and three of her four jumps were past that. She went 16-0.5 on her first for a personal best, beat that at 16-4 on her second, went 15-11.75 on her third and 16-2 on her fourth.”
Bishop will compete in the pentathlon at Thursday’s Section 3 state qualifying meet at Cicero-North Syracuse, while Knight will be in both the long jump and triple jump (where she’d previously reached the criteria with a 34-2).




Cortland’s Koltz ousted after opening with win

UTICA — Cortland High’s Steve Koltz won one match before exiting Thursday’s Section 3 Interclass Tennis Championships held at the Utica Parkway Courts.
Koltz, who finished as runner-up at first singles in Class B, opened the day in this state qualifier by beating Class C-2 champion Charlie Vercillo from Manlius-Pebble Hill 6-4, 6-3. He then faced Class A champion Greg Kreitzer from Fayetteville-Manlius and was eliminated by scores of 6-0, 6-3.
“Steve definitely picked a good time to peak in his game,” Cortland coach Bob Walrath said. “He moved throughout this week better than I have ever seen him. He never gave up in either match. Several times, when either opponent looked like they had the point won, Steve would hustle at full stretch to get his racket on the ball to get himself back into the point.
“The situation certainly didn’t overwhelm him. As we looked at the draw of 16 singles players, there were only four seeded players who would give Steve a tough match. Unfortunately, by the bad luck of the draw in being seeded fourth, Steve drew the top-seeded player one round too early, although he kept him on the court under very hot conditions longer than he wanted to be out there.”
Koltz finished the season with a 12-3 record.
“What a way for Steve to end his senior season and his high school career,” Walrath said. “He has made a whole storehouse of memories for himself, to look back on for many years to come.”