October 17, 2008


Mission accomplished for Cortland

Purple Tigers earn first win ever over Brothers


Joe McIntyre/staff phtoographer
Cortland High goalie Hannah Polanko-Baker covers up this CBA scoring chance in the final seconds of the first half of Thursday’s OHSL Freedom Division soccer showdown. CHS upended the league leaders 3-1 for its sixth straight victory.   

On a special night, the Cortland High girls’ soccer team earned a special accomplishment Thursday.
It was Senior Night for the Purple Tigers, who went on to upend visiting OHSL Freedom Division leader Syracuse CBA 3-1 to extended their winning streak to six games.
With the victory, the surging Purple Tigers concluded their OHSL Freedom Division schedule with a 10-4 second place record and improved to 13-4 overall.
The first-place Brothers lost for the first time in 14 league games and are now 16-2 overall.
“This is the first win over CBA for the Cortland High girls’ soccer,” coach Abbey Albright said. “At the beginning of the season, one of our team goals was to defeat them. The girls wanted to have their Senior Night against CBA, and I’m glad they walked away with a win.
“Before the game, the six seniors — Caitlin Cottone, Hannah Dovi, Katherine Hunsberger, Casey Marks, Jenna Phelps and Emily VanGorder — were honored. After the ceremony the team was ready to play,” added Albright. “This was very apparent from the start, as we had the kickoff and immediately got a shot on goal. We had the ball in their defending half for the first 10 minutes of the game.”
That early pressure paid off a mere 9:34 in as Hunsberger received the ball on the right side in CBA’s defending third, beat a defender on the dribble and scored on a low shot taken with two defenders on her.
Hunsberger earned an assist just 1:01 later as she came up the middle to the field to the Brothers’ 18-yard-line and, once the defense converged on her, got a through ball to Aubrey VanGorder, who converted a low shot with the visitors’ defense packed in the goal mouth.
Taylor Reynolds made it 3-0 Cortland with 17:42 left in the half, heading a bouncing ball off a long high cross into the goal area by Phelps up and over CBA keeper Ashley Walsh, who was coming out to get the ball.
“At halftime we talked about how this was a game that wasn’t going to be won in the first half, that there was still a second half that needed to be played and that we needed to play as a team in order to come away with a win,” Albright said. “The girls did just that. Throughout the field they supported and communicated with each other.”
CBA got its only goal with 10:09 left as Chloe Zmolek passed from just outside the 18 on the right side to Alexis Koral, who, while making a lateral run across the box, scored on a low shot with Cortland keeper Hannah Polanko-Baker coming out.
“Hannah had her best game of the season tonight,” Albright said. “She was very smart coming off of her line, and made some great saves to help secure the win. There were so many superb efforts from individuals. The outside defenders — Kelsey Faberzak, Kaylee Gebhardt and Morgan VanGorder — did a tremendous job of defending CBA’s girls up top. They wanted to play over or through our defense to the outside, and those girls (outside defenders) weren’t going to let that happen.
“At central midfield, Casey Marks and Alexis Keeney helped to close out many CBA scoring opportunities, and Jenna Phelps played a tremendous game at outside midfield. The opening kickoff went to her on the left side, she beat two of their defenders on the dribble and got a great cross to the far post that almost resulted in a goal. Katherine Hunsberger and Aubrey VanGorder applied great pressure to CBA’s defensive back.”
Polanko-Baker made seven saves in the game to four for Walsh as CBA had a 17-11 shot advantage.
Cortland closes out the regular season by hosting Auburn in a non-league game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The sectional seeding meeting then takes place on Sunday, the Purple Tigers set to defend their Class A championship.
CORTLAND JVs finished their season Thursday with a 1-0 win over CBA, midfielder Jacquie Clark scoring the only goal unassisted in the second minute of the game. Goalie Amanda Shelley made three saves in recording the shutout, the winners with a 17-3 shot advantage. CHS closed with a 14-2-1 record, having scored 32 goals and given up only four, with 13 shutouts, including each of its last three games and in seven of its last eight.
“We played top-notch soccer,” Purple Tigers coach Brian Rogers said. “The girls put everything they learned together and really stood out today; we controlled the game. It was a great finish to a great year.”
Roberts cited forward Rachel Prentice and midfielder Haley Cheetham for their individual performances.