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October 11, 2008

 

CHS can’t spoil Homer’s party

Homer

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Dencil Daniels (8) of Cortland High winces as he hits the ground after colliding with Luke Pedersen of Homer Central Friday night at Butts Field. Host Homer was a 3-1 winner over its soccer rival.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

It was a night to honor the coach and 10 Homer Central senior soccer players at George W. Butts Field Friday night.
In the end, it was one of those seniors, Paul Armideo, who scored the go-ahead goal with 12:30 left in the first half to help lift the Trojans to a 3-1 victory over visiting Cortland High in a non-league contest.
Homer improved to 8-5-3 while Cortland falls to 2-11-3.
“We wanted to gets some wins and build some momentum heading to the playoffs,” said Armideo, who had both goals in a 2-0 win at CHS earlier this season.  “We had a lot of injuries early in the season. We are starting to get everyone back and we are playing better now.”
During warm-ups, Trojan coach David Shiffman was honored for his 200th win, which came this past Monday against Manlius-Pebble Hill. He received a trophy donated by Suit-Kote Corporation, a gift certificate from the Homer Athletic Boosters and a jacket from Graphics Plus.
In 19 seasons, Shiffman saw his record improve to 201-139-22.
“I want to thank all the ex-players over the years,” Shiffman said. “Some of them were here tonight. Dave Duncan, probably our greatest goalkeeper ever, was here. Some of the parents, like the O’Sheas, the Hayes and the Klotzs, have done so much for this program, were here. The gifts and everything were nice, but it would not have mattered as much as if we lost. It is nice career stuff to look at later, but this is this season. This is a special group of kids and we still have some things to accomplish this season. This is their senior year for 10 players. That is want this is about right now.”
After the ceremonies honoring Shiffman and the seniors, it was Cortland that came out flying. Back-to-back shot in the opening 35 seconds tested Homer goalkeeper Jack Kissel quickly, but he responded with the two of his five saves.
The repeated pressure finally resulted in a Purple Tiger being pulled down in the box for a penalty kick. Kyle Cute delivered the kick inside the right post and Cortland led 1-0. The goal was the third for the Cortland senior this season.
“We have been getting better this season,” said Cortland coach Nick Kline. “The first 20 minutes of this game proved that. We were a little flat near the end of the first half, but we picked that intensity back up in the second half. We just did not capitalize on some second-half opportunities.”
“Give Homer a lot of credit,” Kline added. “They battled back and made some great runs. They worked hard and got the lead They did the right things at both ends of the field to win the game.”
That goal seemed to snap the Trojans out of the pre-game funk and they began going to work.
“IT WAS A slower start,” Shiffman said. “A lot of that had to do with Cortland. That was not the same team we played earlier in the season. They came out flying and took it to us. They really earned that penalty kick because they were playing faster than us.
“The good thing was that this was the second time we were down, but came back,” Shiffman continued. “We kind of took over after Cortland scored that first goal.”
With 13:24 left in the half, a loose ball scramble found Jason Rogers delivering a ball to Brett Stokoe. The fired a shot from the 18-yard mark that found the back of the net and knotted the score. It was Stokoe’s seventh goal of the season.
Less than a minute later, there was more pressure after Brendan L’Hommedieu sent a through ball to Armideo, who split two defenders. Armideo rifled a shot towards the left post, but Darby made a great kick save. Armideo followed the loose ball and delivered the rebound into the goal for a 2-1 Trojan advantage with 12:30 left in the half. It was his team-leading ninth goal and 24th point of the season. The goal also moved Armideo into a tie for eighth-place on the Trojan all-time scoring list with 64 points (20 goals-24 assists). He is tied with Ricky Klotz (1998-2000) and he trails his older brother, John (2001-2003), by nine points.
“Brendan did have a nice through ball,” Armideo said. “I wanted to keep up with the play and reward his effort.”
Homer’s pressure earned six corner kicks in the first half, but there were never any big threats. Two crossing passes generated nothing and Darby grabbed the ball on two other occasions.
THE SECOND HALF was more of the same. Homer applying pressure with Cortland trying to respond on the counterattack. With 29:17 to go, the hustle of Stokoe got the Trojans a big insurance goal. Paul Zimmerman sent a through ball down the right wing. Stokoe beat the Purple Tigers to the ball, went on the attack and laid it back to Luke Pedersen. In one step, Pedersen struck the ball hard from the top of the box and the shot sailed into the goal. Pedersen’s eighth goal gave the Trojans a 3-1 cushion.
Darby stayed alert in the Cortland goal and two more great saves kept Homer from increasing its advantage. The first big save was on a redirected ball by Corey Hess form about 10 yards out. The other involved Hess again. This time, Hess got a step on the Purple Tiger defense and delivered on a wide-open look at the goal. Darby came out of the goal and made the initial save before his teammates cleared the ball away.
“Ben Darby has come up with some huge saves every game,” Kline said. “Tonight was no different. He has helped to keep us in a number of games this season.”
Cortland High will make the trip to Phoenix Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. OHSL Freedom Division clash. Homer  will return to action Wednesday when the Trojans travel to Solvay for a 6:30 p.m. Liberty Division match.
HOMER JVs got a clutch goal from Spence Hartnett on a corner kick from Tae-Ho Ryu 3:23 into overtime to finish off a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Cortland. Ryu lofted a hooking kick towards the goal and Hartnett headed the ball past goalkeeper Chad Timmons (12 saves) for the game-winner at Butts Field.
“It was all about heart,” said Homer coach Chad Totman after his team improved to 5-7-2. “We had a meeting during the week and I asked the guys what it would take for them to play hard from the opening whistle. The guys thought about it and, tonight, they came out fired up and wanting to win.”
Cortland (8-5-1) took a 1-0 lead 9:12 into the match off a corner kick piece. Colby Reagan lofted a ball into the box. Dan Southwick went up and headed the ball into the goal. It would be the only shot to escape Taylor Withiam (5 saves).
As the second half wore on, Cortland began to wear down while the Homer boys remained fresh.
“We had a couple of guys roll their ankles and we have been fighting a bug that is going through the school,” said Cortland coach Tom Dovi. “We hustled hard and played well, but this was our first time of turf this season and this is a bigger field than we are used to playing on.”
Dovi praised the play of Austin DiIorio, one of those players who rolled an ankle. DiIorio opted to keep playing, though hobbled, during the second half.
Homer tied the game at 1-1 with 22:59 remaining on a play similar to the winning goal. The roles were just reversed. Hartnett delivered the kick and Hartnett connected on the header.