May 31, 2007
Purple Tigers title quest falls short
J-D ends CHS winning streak in Class B finale
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Nate Thomas tries cutting off Jamesville-Dewitt’s Brian Karalunas (25) as he brings the ball upfield. CHS lost to the top-seeded Red Rams 11-6.
CICERO — The Cortland High boys’ lacrosse team’s program-record 16-game winning streak and season both came to an end in one fell swoop Wednesday night.
It was top-seeded Jamesville-DeWitt that did the swooping, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Purple Tigers 11-6 at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium and claim the Section 3 Class B championship.
“We felt good about the way things started,” said Purple Tigers coach John Spallone, whose third-seeded team ended its season at 18-3, having also set a school record for wins in a season. “But then we started picking up penalties, lost some of our offensive rhythm and they scored a couple. That gave them some life, and they started picking up every ball in the middle of the field.”
The Red Rams had a final 38-15 domination in scooping up ground balls.
“In addition to the penalties, we made too many mistakes with the ball, too many poor decisions — guys would be wide open and there wouldn’t be a pass,” added the coach. “We took shots that weren’t even close, missing the net a ton and shooting right to the goalie a ton. Stuff like_that doesn’t work in a game of this magnitude.”
Wednesday’s contest was the only one of this season’s three games between the two teams (which tied for the OHSL Class B league title) in which the end result wasn’t close. J-D won 7-6 in overtime at SUNY Cortland on April 5, and Cortland won 8-6 May 1 on the Red Rams’ home field. That latter result played a part in the latest outcome, according to winning coach Jamie Archer.
“Our guys were hungry after they came on our field and beat us,” he said, his squad now 18-3 and the winner of nine straight since that setback. “This game was a test for us, to see if we could step up. They came out tough, and we were nervous.
“Give our defense a world of credit,” he added. “After Cortland got off to its fast start, our defense was able to shut down a very good offense for the next two periods while our offense finally got going. To go in at halftime up by a goal after the way we played in the first half was a real lift. We were confident after that.”
After scoring three times in the first quarter, the Purple Tigers scored just once in each of the three remaining stanzas.
THE TWO TEAMS opened the game by trading goals, junior defenseman Jesse Brown going coast-to-coast to beat J-D senior goalie Zach Paz 3:02 into the game before Red Rams senior attackman Jim Marshall tied the score with 3:06 left in the stanza with the first of his game-high four goals.
Senior attackman Taylor Brown (Jesse’s brother) gave CHS the lead back 1:47 left in the opening quarter, lashing home a loose ball from a scramble in front of the net, and junior attackman Jack Spallone made it 3-1 when he scored off an assist by senior midfielder Theo Bishop 56 seconds later.
Cortland opened the second quarter two men up after a pair of late penalties on J-D. Taylor Brown capitalized for his second goal of the game (and team-high 58th of the season) 52 seconds in, on a pass from Spallone. J-D then got a man-up goal of its own, Marshall connecting at the 10:00 mark, and the momentum had started to shift.
As Archer noted, three more goals gave J-D a 5-4 halftime lead. However, Cortland senior midfielder Joel White, who was pounded and hounded all night by J-D’s rugged defense, showed his All-American form (see related story on page 13) by scoring an unassisted goal, his 55th of the spring, 1:55 in after a long solo run with the ball to tie the game.
It proved only to be a brief respite from Red Ram domination, though, as J-D scored the next four goals to make it 9-5 heading into the fourth. Senior attackman Christian Daly (two goals and four assists on the night) tallied 42 seconds after White’s goal to give his team the lead for good.
“We came back to tie it and instead of building on that momentum gave them an easy goal,” John Spallone said, shaking his head. “So many times the ball was bouncing around and we never seemed to get to it; they did. When we were down 5-4, one of their scores was man-up and the rest came from unsettled situations. We didn’t take care of the ball. We needed to assert ourselves more.”
Senior midfielder Michael Centra scored J-D’s third man-up goal of the night (3-for-12 overall to 2-for-10 for Cortland) with 5:47 left in the game to make it 10-5, and the teams swapped goals from there, Jack Spallone scoring his second of the contest (to go with the assist) and 43rd of the season with 3:59 left, assisted by senior midfielder Dan Leonard, to close out Cortland’s scoring.
J-D TOOK 43 shots in the contest to 28 for Cortland, Hobart-bound Purple Tiger senior goalie Zach Zayac closing out a brilliant high school career by turning aside 12 shots to 16 for Paz.
Mostly due to the efforts of Bishop, CHS finished with a 13-5 faceoff advantage.
White, who will play for Syracuse University next season, twice during the game drew two flags in succession on J-D, getting knocked down while in possession of the ball, and maintaining control in both instances before being leveled again. He also played virtually the entire game despite taking a beating from the rugged J-D defense and suffering leg cramps that forced him out for only a moment late in the contest, to a standing ovation from fans of both teams.
After the game, a scarred and bruised White, wearing a necklace given to him by his grandmother, Marian White, before she died May 3, gave credit where it was due.
“J-D played really well; tonight they were the better team,” he said. “Their pressure caused us to make too many mistakes, bad passes and shots, mainly. We came out strong, but it went downhill from there. We weren’t passing and catching; we let their defense control our offense. I hope they do well in the state playoffs.”
J-D journeys to SUNY Potsdam Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest against the Section 10 champion in the first round of state play. The Purple Tigers, meanwhile, are left with memories of a sparkling season in which their only losses were to sectional champions — twice to J-D and the other setback a 7-6 overtime loss March 31 to Class C king Syracuse CBA in the finals of CHS’s Guido Tournament. The Brothers shaded LaFayette 10-9 earlier Wednesday at C-NS in the C title game.
“This was a great team,” White said. “We had high expectations coming in, lost two tough ones early and went on from there. We only lost three games all season, so we can’t complain. Great teams beat us.”
“It’s been a great season,” Coach Spallone said. “Our seniors have done a tremendous job of leading us to another level of lacrosse, and they’ll be missed, both as players and individuals. This will hurt for the next day or two, then the seniors will move on while the juniors will get back to work.”
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Cortland midfielder White shines in national spotlight
Joel White isn’t just one of the top high school lacrosse players in the state, but the nation as well.
That fact was confirmed twice recently. The Cortland High midfielder has been invited to tryouts for the Under-19 national team that compete for the 2008 Under-19 World Cup. Those tryouts will take place July 12-15 in Baltimore.
White has also been named to 2007 class of Under Armour Lacrosse All-Americans, as named by the Under Armour Inc., along with Corrigan Sports Enterprises. The team is made up of 44 seniors, broken up into North and South squads that will compete in the 2007 Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic at 5 p.m. June 16 at Loyola College’s Geppi-Aikens Field, also in Baltimore.
The boys’ game is actually the finale of a day-long lacrosse festival at Loyola, which will also include an STX Lacrosse Youth Clinic at 9 a.m. open to all players 15 and under, DC vs. Baltimore Underclassmen Game at 11 a.m. (girls) and 1 p.m. (boys), plus the All-American (Senior) Girls Game at 3 p.m.
“Once again the ‘Best of the best’ has been selected to participate in the (second annual) Under Armour all-America Lacrosse Classic,” Corrigan Sports president Lee Corrigan said. “The Under Armour All-American label has distinguished itself as identifying the very best lacrosse players in the country, and that label will stick with these players for the rest of their lives.”
The North squad will be coached by Paul McDermott of Huntington, the two-time defending state Class B champion. The North won last year’s inaugural contest 17-14.
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Talented Memorial field at Stonehedges
GROTON — The 20th annual Stonehedges Memorial Golf Tournament will tee off Saturday, boasting a strong field of local amateurs.
The prestigious event is held in conjunction with the PGA Tour’s Memorial, which teed off this morning in Dublin, Ohio. It honors deceased members of Stonehedges Golf Course in Groton.
Three-time champion Don VanGorder will be paired with a new partner, Tim Lane of the Newman Golf Course in Ithaca.
Other tandems expecting to contender are the brother combo of Mickey and Cortland Mayor Tom Gallagher, Ed Volpicelli and Ken French, Marty Conner and Buddy Lang, past champions Bill Adams and Pat McCabe and the father-son pairing of Brian and Matt Robison.