September 23, 2009


Stick cheers, NFL tears

Purple Tigers hold off Warriors for narrow victory

Field Hockey

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Eleanor Polley (24) passes past Weedsport’s Amy Sanchez (5) in the first half of Tuesday’s field hockey match-up. CHS was a 3-2 winner.

The Cortland High field hockey team came out strong against visiting Weedsport Tuesday afternoon, then withstood a late charge by the Warriors to score a 3-2 OHSL Division II West victory.
“We came out early, won the battle off loose balls, and it made a difference,” said Purple Tigers coach Jamie Brown, whose team led 2-0 at halftime. “We knew Weedsport wouldn’t roll over and die, and they were very aggressive from the start of the second half. We stopped being aggressive and got a little passive.”
Senior midfielder Rose Speranza, who Brown noted “played her best game ever,” opened the scoring with an unassisted tally just past the halfway mark of the first half,. She controlled a cleared ball and scoring from the left half at the top of the circle.
Senior forward Christine Gutchess made it 2-0 with 6:13 left in the first with an unassisted goal, scoring from a scramble in front of the Weedsport net.
The Warriors’ Marybeth Diego halved the deficit when she tipped in a shot by Amy Sanchez 11:24 into the second half. Cortland re-established its two-goal advantage 4:25 later as Gutchess tipped home a blast by junior midfielder Izzy Wiitmaack, who controlled a clear near the top of the circle.
The visitors’ Gabby LaForce scored from close range off a free hit with 7:45 left to make it a one-goal game again, but Weedsport was unable to put home the equalizer.
“It got a little hairy, but we pulled it out,” Brown said, her team now 4-1 league and overall. “Our midfielders — Izzy, Rose, Julie Spaulding (senior) and Kay Kostuk (senior) — were active offensively.”
Cortland goalie Maggie Brown made two saves to eight for the Warriors’ Gabriella Barrigar as the hosts rolled up a 14-5 shot advantage. Weedsport is now 2-3 in the league and 4-4 overall.
CORTLAND JVs lost 1-0 to Weedsport in a game shortened by darkness.
“It was a back-to-back game with many scoring opportunities for both sides,” Purple Tigers coach Maureen White said. “Mikeala Poirier played her best game of the season (making 12 saves in the hosts’ cage), turning away many point-blank shots. She and her defense — Zakara Butts, Cassie Tollner, Alexis Kryger, Alex Pallassino and Chelsey Corson — made some great plays and cleared the ball out of our circle to keep Weedsport from some scoring chances.
“I was very happy with our play. We continued to play hard right to the last seconds. Our offense kept the game interesting, but couldn’t quite get a score.”
CHS is now 2-3 on the season.
Both Cortland teams host non-league foe Rome Free Academy at 10 a.m. Saturday, the varsity at the high school and the JVs at Randall Elementary.