September 25, 2006


CHS booters back on track

Coach Law wins 100th game beating Homer 3-0


Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Luka Starmer (left) runs through the leg of Jack Kissel (21) of Homer during Saturday’s OHSL soccer clash. Starmer had a goal in 3-0 CHS victory.

Staff Writer

With all the reverie that came with Dan Law’s 100th win as boys’ soccer coach at Cortland High — a 3-0 whitewash of visiting archrival Homer Saturday in a non-league game — there was an aspect of the game that was much more important to the Purple Tigers’ head man.
“The 100th win is nice, and I appreciate everything the parents and kids did,” said Law, who is now 100-73-8 nearing the middle of his 10th season and was still wet from a post-game water bucket shower, courtesy of his players. Signs, chalk messages in the parking lot, a commemorative booklet and various gifts — such as pennies, Pokemon cards and candies in increments of 100 — were part of this special occasion.
“But all of that isn’t as important to me as trying to get this team going in the right direction. I think today that it happened,” Law added.
Cortland was coming off two less-than-stellar overtime contests earlier in the week, a 3-2 win at Mexico Tuesday and a 3-2 loss to visiting Marcellus Thursday in a game CHS had led 2-0 at halftime.
“The main objective was to bounce back and play like we should be playing, to avoid the things that happened the last couple of games,” said Law, whose team is now 5-3 overall this season. “They were more difficult than they should have been.”
The first half, at least, of Saturday’s game was not. The Purple Tigers attacked Homer with a fervor that led to a 10-3 shot advantage over the first 40 minutes and nearly total territorial domination. The first real dividends came 10 minutes in, when senior back Dan Leonard took a service from junior midfielder Derek Allen and flicked the ball with his head to senior midfielder Joel White to put past Trojan goalie Joe May from close range.
Just over 14 minutes later, senior back Joe Casson sent in a high ball that White headed home, and the final goal came with 2:13 left until halftime when senior striker Theo Bishop flicked to White on the near right wing. White’s header looked to be going in, and junior midfielder Luka Starmer made sure by toe-poking it into the twine.
“All three goals came off service, when balls were sent across from the wing,” Law said approvingly.
“Everyone wanted to be an official on that play,” Homer coach Dave Shiffman said of the final Cortland tally. “They thought the play was offside, but it isn’t until the whistle blows. If you’re down 2-0 at halftime you’re in it. I told (the Trojans) at halftime that they had to play faster and harder — some weren’t going full-speed — and that we’d had too many defensive lapses.
“We put another player forward — once you’re down by three goals you have to adjust and go for more offense — and we played better in the second half. Our energy level was better, and we played up better in the second half and kept things calmer for the goalie,”he said. Only two of May’s eight saves came in the second half.
Shiffman, whose young team — with six seniors on a 17-player roster — fell to 2-6 overall, also noted that while you never tell a team it can’t win, “(Joe) told them, ‘If you keep playing the way you are you can’t win,’ and he was right. One of our bench players remarked about how the legs of the Cortland players were just going faster than ours, and you could see it. There’s a lot of things we have to work on as a team, but running shouldn’t be one of them.”
“When we play Homer, it’s a whole different-looking field,” said Law, whose Cortland teams have won their last seven games with the Trojans and gone 8-0-1 against them since last losing to their neighbors late in the 2002 season. “They did some good things out there, and played a much better second half. We had a cushion, but there were still moments in the second half when I was nervous.”
“We had a tough game Wednesday, and all we wanted to do was come out today and play better,” said White, who now has 12 goals and three assists on the season. “The shots finally came in the first half, though in the second half we didn’t get any in. They pressured our backs more in the second half and their sweeper moved up more and pushed us back.
“I think we kind of let down (against Marcellus), and after we dropped that one we had a regrouping practice yesterday. We played together today, which was our main goal. The 100th win was in the back of our minds. It’s nice, especially against Homer.”
All told, the Purple Tigers had an 18-6 shot advantage, keepers Judd Arnold and Ryan Wiehl making three saves each (to the aforementioned eight for May) to share the shutout.
“The biggest thing is that I can’t believe I’ve been doing this long enough to get 100 wins,” Law said with a laugh when asked for his specific thoughts on reaching the milestone, which makes him easily the winningest coach in the 25-year history of the program. “I’m fortunate to have worked with a lot of great athletes and families. All of the things people did for me today were nice, and they didn’t have to do them.
“I’m very pleased to have that support from the families and the community, as well as having great kids to work with. It’s a very enjoyable job and it’s been lots of fun.”
Cortland has a tough week ahead, starting Tuesday when it hosts Fulton, the defending league and Section 3 Class A champion and defending Class A state co-champion, at 6 p.m.
The Purple Tigers then visit East Syracuse-Minoa, which they lost to 2-1 in their season-opener, Thursday and close out with a road game at Class B power Westhill Saturday.
The Trojans are off until Thursday, when they visit OHSL Liberty Division rival Phoenix in their only game this week.
HOMER JVs won 3-2 in overtime as Brett Stokoe chipped the ball up and over Cortland goalkeeper Ben Darby (six saves) after receiving a throw from Brendan L’Hommedieu that landed in the box one minute into the second overtime period.
Stefan Haugen started the scoring for Homer when he sent a shot off Darby from 35 yards out 10:40 into the game. 
Cortland evened the score at 27:41 when Logan Marks put the ball in off a Josh Tomko direct kick.
Stokoe took a shot for the top of the box that went to the top right corner to give Homer a 2-1 lead 6:35 into second half play, but Cortland tied the game when Jon Podoliak delivered a shot that Homer’s goalkeeper Matt Compton (three saves) fell into the goal with.



Red Dragons roll past Bengals

BUFFALO — Outside of one slight first half hiccup, the undefeated SUNY Cortland football team had little trouble opening up New Jersey Athletic Conference play with a victory on Saturday.
The Red Dragons would get a career-best three touchdowns from senior tailback Matt Rickert, and three touchdown passes from junior quarterback Alex Smith, in a 38-20 victory over Buffalo State.
The host Bengals, playing their first game as a NJAC football-only member, did respond to Rickert’s first end zone visit with a 73-yard touchdown pass. Quarterback Dan Aquilio hooked up with Jason Brown to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter, Brown getting a couple of key downfield blocks to help out.
But the rest of the afternoon belonged to the Red Dragons, who scored the next 31 points to pull away at Coyer Field while improving to 3-0 overall.
Rickert had all three of his touchdowns by halftime, as the Red Dragons led 31-7. And Smith’s third scoring strike, a 41-yard touchdown pass play to wide receiver Keith Greene with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, upped the lead to 38-7.
Buffalo State (1-2) would get two fourth quarter touchdowns against Cortland reserves, including a 55-yard interception return from Peter Nguyen of a pilfered Smith pass. It was Nguyen’s second interception, the junior defensive back with a team high eight tackles.
Senior linebacker Bill Hauser led the Red Dragon defense with 11 tackles, with senior defensive tackle Adam Haas in on eight stops. Inside linebacker Matt Montpetit forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had an interception to go along with six tackles.
And for the second straight week, SUNY Cortland special teams played a huge role in the victory. Senior safety Stef Sair set up the first two Red Dragon touchdowns with punt returns cover 36 and 35 yards. He returned three punts for a total of 104 yards to be named the NJAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Cortland just out-gained Buffalo State 371-315, with Smith competing 16-of-24 passes for 241 of those yards. He found tailback Rickert and fullback Mike Emard out of the backfield for second quarter scoring pass plays before teaming up with Greene with this third TD toss.
The Red Dragon ground game picked up 130 yards, Rickert with 46 yards on 10 carries. Andrew Giuliano covered 43 yards in 11 trips in a back-up role.
Cortland returns home Saturday, hosting William Paterson in a 1 p.m. NJAC outing.
In other key Division III match-ups in Upstate New York —
St. John Fisher 34, Ithaca 10: In Pittsford, Mark Robinson rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns as St. John Fisher beat Ithaca.
Ithaca (3-1, 1-1 Empire 8) opened the scoring ten minutes into the first quarter with a one-yard touchdown by James Davis and followed up in the second with a 22-yard field goal.
The Bombers were leading 10-0 early in the third quarter when Robinson got the Cardinals on the board with a 56-yard touchdown run. Robinson then threw a 20-yard touchdown to bring St. John Fisher (4-0, Empire 8 1-0) to 14-10 lead.
Rob Kramer threw a 5-yard touchdown pass at 5:01 in the third and followed up with a 2-yard touchdown pass early in the last quarter. With just over 5 minutes left, Kramer threw a final 65-yard touchdown pass to give St. John Fisher the 24-point win.
The Bombers were held to just 59 rushing yards, compared to St. John Fisher’s 171. Dan Juvan was 21-of-24 for 175 yards with four sacks for Ithaca, and Bryan Gardner punted four times for 142 yards.
Hobart 24, RPI 17: At Troy, Doug Blakowski rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns as Hobart beat host Rensselaer. Hobart finished with 147 rushing yards and 115 passing yards while RPI pulled in 228 passing yards and 94 rushing.



McGraw tops Groton

GROTON — McGraw Central girls were controlling things in the early stages of Saturday’s non-league soccer test, only to fall behind 1-0 to host Groton.
Kellie Rongo converted on a penalty kick to provide a boost for the home side.
The defending Central Counties League champions would not be rattled by that misfortune, however, and secured a 5-1 lead by halftime en route to an 8-1 victory over the Indians from the Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
“Our entire team picked it up at that point and we moved the ball well the rest of the game,” said Coach John Rutan of McGraw falling behind 1-0. The Eagles would score five times within an eight-minute span to take control.
Jen Rutan had three goals and two assists as McGraw remained unbeaten with a 9-0 record. Shawnee McAdam, Emily Williams, Alicia Giamichael, Jaimie Harriger and Diane Ralyea all found the net, with Nicole Law picking up a pair of assists.
McGraw would finish with a lopsided 24-1 edge in shots, Groton goalie Brittany Madigan with a busy 10-save outing.
The Eagles are off until Fabius-Pompey pays a Thursday non-league visit.
Jordan-Elbridge 5, DeRuyter 0: DeRuyter was unable to get much offense going at Jordan-Elbridge in a Saturday non-leaguer, the victorious Eagles prevailed behind three goals from Tia Segretto.