September 1 , 2008


Purple Tigers trip Trojans in title tilt

Trojans Tigers

Rich Barnes/Contributing Photographer
Cortland High’s Katherine Hunsberger (5) dribbles upfield and blocks the sight of Homer Central’s Kourtenee Kohne during Saturday’s tourney title game at Butt’s Field. Hunsberger had a goal in 2-0. Purple Tigers win.

Staff Writer

It was the ability to capitalize on opportunities that guided Cortland High to a 2-0 win over Homer Central in the championship game of the Inaugural Homer Girls’ Soccer Tournament at George W. Butts Field Saturday night.
The Purple Tigers only got two scoring chances in the first half and took advantage once to take a lead they would never surrender while improving to 2-0 overall at the expense of their neighbor and rivals.
The Cortland High junior varsity squad also beat Homer, taking a 2-0 victory in their consolation game.
Rome Free Academy won the varsity consolation game over New Hartford 3-1 and also claimed the JV championship with a 1-0 overtime win over New Hartford.
Aubrey VanGorder scored four minutes into match on her way to earning the Best Overall Player Award for the tournament and gave the Purple Tigers a 1-0 lead. She took a centering pass from Jenna Phelps, quickly settling the ball.
VanGorder created some space with a spin and quick half-step to clear the defense by splitting two defenders before firing the shot past Trojan goalkeeper Danielle Reygers (six saves) from near the 18-yard mark.
“I really did not expect the award,” VanGorder said. “We really played well as a team. We played together and we got better each game. It was nice to come out a win this.”
“I’m pleased with the outcome of the game,” Cortland coach Abbey Albright said. “The girls really stepped it up, especially in the second half. Our play was a little stronger in the second half.
“All the girls in the back really helped each other out,” Albright continued. “Their communication amongst each other was good. They played smart, knowing when to pass the ball back to themselves or to the keeper. Kelsey Faberzak did a very nice job in just her second varsity game. Caitlin Cattone and Emily VanGorder were right there in the middle and read the plays very well.”
Homer coach Jim Baranello agreed with Coach Albright.
“You have to credit those seniors of defense for Cortland,” Baranello said. “Caitlin Cattone and Emily VanGorder were key to preventing us from getting good shots. Give Cortland a lot of credit. They are a good team and they were the better team tonight.
“The toughest part of the night was giving up that goal in the first           10 minutes,” he continued. “We have done that in three of the last four matches against Cortland. Aubrey did make a nice play and that was a great goal that she scored.”
The only other real scoring chance for Cortland in the first half came with 19:30 left in the period when Van Gorder struck a low shot that Reygers grabbed quickly.
Cortland kept the intensity up in the second half and really had Homer playing a defensive game. Even though the Purple Tigers did not score, for a long time, they were able to wind the clock down.
Forced to push forward defensively in an effort to tie the match, Homer became more vulnerable to the counter-attack and Cortland got a huge insurance goal with 7:48 remaining. Katherine Hunsberger broke through the middle of the Trojan defense and dribbled towards the Trojan goal. Reygers tried to start out to cut down the angle, but Hunsberger poked a shot into the lower left corner from 15 yards out. Hunsberger was named the tournament’s Offensive MVP.
“I’m not sure how Katherine got the ball near the circle and was able to beat two defenders,” Albright said. “She really kept her composure and put a nice shot into the corner of the goal.”
Homer got the ball in the offensive third more frequently in the first half, but, despite good possessions, did not get many shots off. The few shots that reached the goal were gobbled by Hannah Polanko-Baker, who made seven saves in the shutout.
The first dangerous chance was a breakaway by Emma Porter, but she got late pressure from the Cortland defense and shot wide of the right post. Twice the Trojans got rebound shot attempts off a Purple Tiger defender, but Polanko-Baker made the save.
“We saw the problem beginning to surface in the New Hartford game the day before,” Baranello said of not getting good shots. “We have been able to possess the ball, but we seemed to have trouble getting shots. We will need to address that concern.”
Reygers was named the Outstanding Goalkeeper while teammate Morgan Osborne was named the Defensive MVP of the tournament.
“Dani did play well both games,” Baranello said. “I thought Kindrah Kohne did a nice job at midfield as well.”
Rome Free Academy 3, New Hartford 1: Hilary Baker scored a pair of second-half goals as Rome Free Academy posted a 3-1 victory over New Hartford in the varsity consolation game Saturday. Baker broke the 1-1 halftime tie six minutes into the second half after a nice centering pass from Sarah Southwell. Baker clinched the match with 2:58 left by converting a pass from Erin Thomas.
Elizabeth Stanek gave New Hartford a 1-0 lead with 27:52 left in the first half, but it would be the only advantage the Spartans (0-2) had all day.
Rachel Reid tied the match for the Black Knights (1-1) eight minutes later as she converted a pass from Chelsea Holz.
Cortland 2, Homer 0: Jaquie Clark gave Cortland JVs the only goal they would need in the eighth minute during a 2-0 victory over Homer in the consolation game Saturday.
The Purple Tiger JVs got an insurance goal with eight minutes remaining in the match from Rachel Prentice.
During the majority of the match, it was Cortland applying pressure to the Homer midfield and back line.
 “We played much better,” Cortland coach Brian Rogers said. “We are starting to work the ball around by passing and resetting the offense. That improvement in passing helped us possess the ball for longer periods. We really played more as a team today.”
Rogers cited Clark and Stephanie Rogers for controlling the midfield play while Ashley Behrenfeld was strong on the front line.
Amanda Shelley made two saves for Cortland while Jessica Mitchell was busy making 18 saves for Homer.
Despite the loss, Homer coach Allison Cook was encouraged by what see saw as well.
“We played a much better game today,” Cook said. “We learned a lot from Friday and applied it in today’s game. We are still feeling our way. I was much happier with our effort today.”
Rome Free 1, New Hartford 0, OT: Jenna Gillen scored with 8:52 left in the second 10-minute overtime to lift Rome Free Academy to the win in the JV championship match.