September 13, 2013
Good week for CHS
Purple Tigers add Trojans to list of victims
It’s been a very good week for the Cortland High boys’ soccer team.
The Purple Tigers opened up with a 3-2 victory over Jamesville-DeWitt on Tuesday and then remained perfect in OHSL Freedom National Division play with a resounding 7-0 shutout of neighboring rival Homer Central Thursday night at George Butts Field.
Justin Prentice scored two goals and added two assists in toppling the Trojans, while senior captain Kristian Reynolds also netted a pair of goals to improve Cortland to 4-0 against Freedom foes and 4-1 overall.
Homer falls to 1-2 in league play, 1-3 overall.
“It was a good game,” junior forward Prentice said after the Purple Tigers rolled. “A key is the play of Kristian and Eamonn Mahar. They both give us a lot of good through balls.”
Reynolds gave Cortland a 1-0 lead six minutes into the match with a great shot. He settled the ball in a crowd and fired a low strike into the lower left corner from 35 yards out.
“I was actually surprised that the ball got through there,” Reynolds said. “I just took the shot and it found the goal.
“We are excited about the season. This is two big wins for us this week,” he added.
“That was a great shot by Kristian,” Cortland coach Brain Rozewski said. “When he shoots he is pretty accurate. He has a great shot and great vision. He is a great all-around soccer player.
“Give Homer some credit,” he continued. “They played us tough in the first half. They have a young team, but a .lot of talent coming up. We just kept grinding away and the goals came up.”
BOTH TEAMS HAVE a lot of juniors, but a number of the Cortland 11th graders came to the varsity as freshmen and have that valuable game experience.
“It helps to have the varsity experience,” Rozewski said. “We have the one sophomore, Ryan O’Neil, who’s with us now and played as a freshman last year. We started young and to build the program and now it’s starting to pay off.”
“Cortland was certainly the better team tonight,” Homer coach Dave Shiffman said. “They played a good game and kudos to them.
“I actually thought we played better tonight than we did against J-D,” he added, referring to an 8-0 road loss this past Saturday. “We did switch some things around in the second half. We tried some people in different spots. That still takes nothing away from Cortland. Our kids just showed a better intensity and physical presence. There was some growth there that doesn’t show in the final score.”
Homer hung tough despite constant pressure by the Purple Tigers. Homer goalkeeper Alex Djafari faced 11 shots in the first half and made seven saves.
There were six minutes left in the first half when Cortland got its second goal. Prentice sent a crossing pass into the box that Scott Schlenker directed into the goal.
Three minutes later, Eamonn Mahar sent a corner kick into the box left the left side. Sage Brown made a run towards the ball and took a shot while in midair that found the mark under the crossbar for the 3-0 lead.
“Sage has been stepping up big and coming on for us,” Rozewski said. “He plays the center of the field as a stopper very well and knows when to come forward.”
Shiffman did make a change in goal at halftime. It was not a punishment to Djafari, but a learning experience.
“ALEX DIDN’T DO anything wrong in the first half,” Shiffman said of keeper Dafari. “I just wanted him to see the game and to watch the Cortland goalkeeper (Tracey Shelley). I wanted Alex to see how he moved and how he comes out early to get the ball. Alex said afterwards that he was glad he was able to sit and watch. I was pleased with Alex’s attitude to do that.”
Cortland scored four more goal in the second half. Prentice scored at the 30:32 and 26:53 marks, Brett Timmons assisting on the second goal. The final two goals came 31 seconds apart. Reynolds found the net off a Prentice pass with 3:54 to play and Michael Thomas converted a Nisarga Paul pass.
Shelley wasn’t tested much. Of his six saves, only two were real good scoring threats. The first was in the third minute when Hiland Bush got a little space on a breakaway. Bush shot towards the left corner, but Shelley made a nice smothering stop and corralled the rebound. The second was a quick release by Bradley Keith, that Shelley knocked down. The ball came free, but Collin Lake drove the rebound over the cross bar.
Most Trojan offensive pushes where stopped by the quick defensive back line of Victor McCutcheon, Michael Thomas and Brian Litzenberger.
“They do a great job for us,” Rozewski said. “Kristian and Eamonn deserve a lot of credit for the through balls that help push things forward as well as the crosses by Justin and Scott Schlenker. Both have amazing speed on the outside and switch up nicely.”
Shiffman did praise the play of junior marking back Danny Turck, who continues to grow in his first year of soccer.
“He did a nice job tonight,” Shiffman said. “Nick Yarnell was a little quicker at sweeper, but he is just a sophomore. I did see some growth tonight. We have to build on that.”
IN THE JV PRELIM, Cortland and Homer played to a 0-0 tie in a shortened contest. With the game starting late because of lightning and thunder, both halves were shortened to 30 minutes.
Homer (1-1-1 overall) controlled much of the play holding a 10-4 advantage in shots and a 5-4 edge in corner kicks. Eduardo Engst-Mansilla made four saves for Cortland (0-3-1). Lucian St. John stopped three shots for the Trojans.
Cortland teams will host Cazenovia Saturday morning at 10 o’clock, with the JV match at Barry Elementary School.
Homer ‘s varsity returns to action Saturday hosting Jordan-Elbridge at 1 p.m. on George Butts Field, while the JVs are in Chittenango Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. match.
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