September 10, 2009


Late goal secures 3-1 Purple Tigers victory —

CHS turns back Trojans


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Homer Central goalie Katie Sinclair boots away a shot by Sarah Hartnett of Cortland High during Wednesday’s field hockey match-up. Visiting CHS was a 3-1 winner at Butts Field.

For 59 minutes, it was still anybody’s game with Cortland High clinging to a one-goal lead while Homer Central was putting on the pressure in an attempt to tie things up.
Then one quick CHS counterattack fast break led to Kaitlyn Drach scoring with 1:06 remaining to ensure a 3-1 Purple Tiger field hockey season-opening win over the host Trojans in an OHSL Division II West opener.
Homer, who lost to Newark Valley to start its season last week, falls to 0-2 overall. It was the season debut for rival Cortland.
Drach took a loose ball deep in the Cortland defensive end and raced 50 to 60 yards on the George Butts Field turf before firing the shot into the goal from the top of the circle.
“You don’t see many runs like that,” said Cortland coach Jamie Brown. “It was a great effort by her.
“The best thing in this game was we didn’t panic,” Brown continued. “Homer scored early and it caught us a little off guard. We kept our composure and were able to tie the game up before the end of the half.”
“It was an evenly played game,” said Homer coach Ellen Garrett. “Both teams had good runs. There was good goalkeeping by Katie (Sinclair) and Maggie (Brown). There was certainly some intensity at times as well.
“We were pushing up,” Garrett continued in describing how Cortland got the fastbreak. “We were trying so hard to score the tying goal and didn’t have anyone back on the fastbreak. Even after that, we still a couple of good runs in the closing seconds. I was proud of the girls and their effort.”
Homer took a 1-0 lead in the opening five minutes. Ashley Barnard showed a lot of hustle and defected a loose ball past Brown (eight saves) for the early advantage.
“It was good second effort by Ashley,” Garrett said. “There was a crossing pass to get the ball in the circle. It rebounded off someone and Ashley put the goal in the goal.
“All the girls went after the ball better than we did last year,” she added. “But Maggie does such a good job of coming after the ball. She is aggressive in the circle and that makes her a good goalkeeper.”
Cortland tie the game up with 13:07 left in the first half. Christine Gutchess finished off a nice run by taking a pass from Sarah Hartnett and flicking the ball by Sinclair (10 saves).
The Cortland keeper made one big save late in the half that kept the game even.
Brown stopped a penalty stroke shot by Abbey Phelps and gave the Purple Tigers some momentum heading into the second half.
“That was a big play for us,” said Brown. “Maggie made a nice save. If Homer scored that goal. It would have given them a lot of momentum.”
“We really did play a good first half,” Garrett said. “We got some early momentum and that helped us score the first goal. We kept that momentum up, but we started to lose it and Cortland came on. It was great to see our girls keep battling though, even late in the game. That should be a confidence booster for us.”
Midway through the second half, the Purple Tigers got the go-ahead goal. With 14:18 remaining, Hartnett scored an unassisted goal. It was another unsettled situation off a penalty corner. Those are the first varsity points for the young sophomore.
The game remained tight with Homer looking for the tying goal until Drach gave Cortland the added insurance tally.
“It was an up-and-down second half,” said Brown. “There were not as many scoring chances. Homer really played hard. We got the lead on Sarah’s goal and worked on protecting that lead from then on.
“We did take a lot of shots, which is something we haven’t done as much of in the past,” she continued. “It increases our odds of scoring by taking more shots. Credit a lot of that to our midfielders seeing the ball well and becoming more active in the offense.”
Brown also praised the defensive play of Carly Cunningham and Maddie Forrester as they are back with Maggie Brown protecting the defensive third.
Coach Brown also had some nice words about Sinclair’s goalkeeping,
“Katie did a real nice job for being in pads just 12 days or so,” said Brown. “She is very athletic and shows lots of potential.”
While she was proud of the entire team, Garrett did single out some players for the hard work.
“Heather Ryan did a good job at center back,” Garrett said. “Colleen Gardner had an awesome game at left back and Abbey Phelps showed good leadership on the field. Abbey controlled the ball well and made some very nice passes.”
Cortland High will host Cazenovia at 4:30 p.m. Friday, with the JV game to follow. Weedsport visits Homer at 6 p.m. Friday, with the JV game set for 4:30 p.m.
CORTLAND JVs beat Homer 2-0, with both goals coming in the first half. Taylor Thomas opened the scoring just under 10 minutes into the game, taking a pass from the top by Kristi Litzenberger and finding the back of the cage from near the post on the left side. Lydia Polley then took a cross from Hannah Bistocchi and scored with 17:37 left until intermission.
Purple Tigers goalie Chelsea Corson made one save in recording the shutout as the winners had a 6-3 shot advantage. Homer goalie Chris Stadler stopped three shots.
“We’ve worked hard in the preseason, and are ahead of where we were at this point last season,” CHS coach Maureen White said. “The girls play well together; we have a small squad, with just 14 players, and only had 12 for this game, so with one sub and the heat we did well.”