October 17, 2011
Needy Trojans snatch away victory over CHS
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
P.J. Mahar (10) of Cortland High and Nate McLyman (6) of Homer Central battle for the ball Saturday at Moiseichik Field. Visiting Homer won, 2-1.
By TANEY BEAUMONT
The team that wanted the game more took it on a windy, rainy Saturday afternoon at Moiseichik Field as Homer Central scored a 2-1 non-league boys’ soccer victory over Cortland High on the hosts’ Senior Day.
Needing to beat their neighbors to the south and then win their last two games of the regular season to qualify for Class B sectionals, the Trojans, now 5-9 overall, scored the first two goals of the game and controlled the second half after the Purple Tigers (6-7-1) got their only tally with just over 11 minutes left in the first half and had the wind in their favor in the second.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Homer coach Dave Shiffman said. “They’ve had some tough losses that could have gone either way where they’ve come back, only to lose when something fluky happened. But they’ve worked hard all season, and they did today. In the second half it showed; they won a lot of balls, and it made a difference.
“At 4-9 coming in on Senior Day here and under tough conditions, the kids did well. The players from both teams all know each other and play with each other (in the off-season). We went from a 4-3-3 in the first half to a 4-4-2 in the second to adjust to the conditions.”
“They just outhustled us,” Cortland coach Brian Rozewski said. “They beat us to every 50-50 ball, and just played with more intensity than we did. They played better soccer, and if they keep playing like that I see no problem with them getting to sectionals. And we have to get one more win to get in; I don’t want to back in.”
“I don’t know what our problem was; it seemed like we were flat-footed. It was the same thing against Cazenovia (a 3-2 home loss on Oct. 1), on another cold, rainy day, I don’t know if it’s the weather, or if we should use a different pre-game warmup. Every ball they could win they ran through, while our guys stood there and let it happen.”
Trojans junior striker Andras Tozser opened he scoring with 19:53 left in the first half when he took a pass from junior center midfielder Zac Moore on the left side and sent a low shot just inside the far post past Cortland senior goalkeeper Chad Timmons from around 10 yards out.
“Zac gave me a great through ball, I saw the keeper come out and I went far corner,” Tozser said of his team-high ninth goal of the season. “Hard work was the key for us today, together as a team. Everyone on the field was working hard, and to beat Cortland makes it even better. Now we have to win the last two, and this is a great platform to build on.”
Junior outside midfielder Austin Smith made it 2-0 for the visitors off an assist by Isak Nilsson at 14:56 on a high shot that went under the crossbar on the near side for his first goal of the year.
“I was very surprised that we didn’t get another one or they didn’t tie it up,” he said of his game-winner. “We worked hard and really focused on defense. Hopefully we can win the next two make sectionals and see how far we can go. This win could change the whole attitude of the team.”
As noted, Purple Tigers sophomore midfielder Eamonn Mahar sawed the Homer lead in half when he scored his second goal of the season from close range off a feed from freshman forward Justin Prentice. the goal capped a wild sequence that started when senior midfielder P.J. Mahar, Eanmonn’s brother, put a shot off the crossbar that sophomore midfielder Kristian Reynolds chased down on the right side to keep the play alive and was able to get to Prentice for the eventual assist.
Cortland senior forward Vinnie Bellardini rocketed a shot just over the bar from the left side 1:30 into the second half, and Homer junior keeper Ian Heath was able to corral a shot that originally bounced off his chest with 9:10 left in the game.
Timmons came way out to clear a dangerous ball at the 30:35 mark of the second half, and made a couple of diving saves in the first half to help keep his team close.
In all, Heath made seven saves and Timmons 10 as each team finished with 14 shots.
Shiffman had individual praise for Smith, Moore, senior defender Aaron Zimmerman, senior center midfielder Drew Christopher, junior defender Nate McLyman for the marking job he did on P.J. Mahar, strikers Dylan Shattuck (junior) and Taylor Withiam (senior) both coming off the bench.
Homer hosts Cazenovia Tuesday in a 7 p.m. start at Butts Field and closes out the regular season by visiting Solvay Friday at 4:30 p.m. Both are OHSL Liberty Division games. Cortland, meanwhile, closes out the regular season with OHSL Freedom American contests at Chittenango, Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Phoenix, Friday at 4:30 p.m.
“I’m disappointed and at a loss,” Rozewski said. “We’ve got to figure something out before we head to Chittenango on Wednesday.”
CHS SENIOR were honored, along with their parents, in halftime ceremonies. Also, a moment of silence was observed before the game in honor of Phoenix football player Ridge Barden — who suffered a head injury in Friday’s game at Homer and passed away later that night.”
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe