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October 19, 2010

 

Homer-CHS clash a scoreless standoff

By ALAN BUTLER
Sports Editor

Both sides were hoping for something better, of course.
That’s because if either Cortland High or Homer Central could emerge from Monday evening’s well-chilled girls’ soccer showdown with a victory, the winner would be in position to snatch away an OHSL Freedom American Division regular season title.
A win would also come in handy for seeding purposes when the Section 3 Class A playoff brackets get drawn up.
So this 100-minute scoreless standoff did not accomplish much of anything, as scoring chances were few for the two rivals in a 0-0 overtime exercise of futility conducted before an energetic and well-bundled crowd at Butts Field in Homer.
“It’s nice not to let them score. That was good,” was the consolation CHS coach Abbey Albright could take away from the proceedings, her squad having lost at home 2-1 to the Trojans back in September.
For Homer, playing overtime draws has become a frustrating habit of late. Over their last seven outings, the Trojans have one win, one loss and five ties — including a couple of nil-nil outcomes against first place Chittenango.
“It’s discouraging, and I guess I’d be really discouraged if we weren’t playing so well,” said Trojans coach Jim Baranello. “We’re playing good soccer, we’re just not finding the goal.”
So with the regular season winding down, Chittenango is 6-3-2, Cortland 6-4-1 and Homer 5-2-3 atop the jumbled American Division standings.
CHS (9-4-1 overall) finishes up league play hosting Phoenix Thursday, with a non-league trip to Westhill Friday concluding the regular season.
Homer (7-2-5 overall) has two league contests left on the schedule, traveling to Mexico on Thursday afternoon before heading off to Fulton Saturday night.
Give credit to both defenses for making this a rather easy night for goaltenders, Cortland’s Amanda Shelley (four saves) and Homer’s Jessica Mitchell (two saves) not experiencing too much anxiety.
Haley Meldrim and Kaylee Gebhardt were top defenders for the Purple Tigers, who registered their seventh shutout of the season. Senior Kourtenee Kohne and her defensive mates were involved in the Trojans’ eighth blanking of the fall.
HOMER HAD THE better of the play in the first half, the best CHS chance coming when Jacquie Clark booted a crossing pass out of the air wide of the mark some 13 minutes into the game.
The Trojans did their best work after Kindra Kohne was moved from forward to midfield, where the diminutive and dangerous senior — who has a team-high 12 goals this season — could get more touches. The best Homer opportunity in the first half was a challenged shot from the top of the box Hannah Kristof lofted over the crossbar.
Cortland picked things up after intermission, though the Purple Tigers barely eluded trouble when Homer’s Jessica Parmiter nearly got to a perfect crossing pass delivered from the right flank by Jessica Walter. That ball skimmed untouched across the CHS goal mouth with just over 18 minutes left to play.
“In our first half we only had one shot on goal, so going into halftime we knew that in order to come out of here hopefully successful we had to pick that up, and the girls did,” said Cortland’s Albright.
“I think this was one of the most high-level games that my girls have played,” she added. “A lot of the time they say girls play to whatever the level of the competition is, and they certainly played to Homer’s level and that brought out the best in both teams.”
Bringing out the best in CHS and Homer just didn’t produce a goal.
The Purple Tigers applied plenty of pressure late in regulation, and Clark nearly made the Trojans pay for a defensive miscue with a minute to go with a bending shot at keeper Mitchell. In the two mandatory 10-minute overtime sessions, CHS keeper Shelley had some work to do getting to a direct kick from 30 yards out that Homer’s Emma Porter tried to sneak inside the left post.
“I don’t know what more we can do. We’re playing great soccer. We’re holding the ball, possessing it, moving it around,” said Homer’s Baranello. “We get no breaks, no lucky bounces. I can’t really complain though because we’re just playing great soccer.”
THE HOMER BOSS felt Hannah McEvoy played a solid game at left back, and that Walter was productive delivering balls from the right flank.
“She put two nice balls in the box. We’ve got to be on the other end of those, especially against good teams,” said Baranello of a pair of Walter crosses that went un-rewarded. “You have to take advantage of your chances. I’d be really disappointed, but we’re creating quality chances.”
CHS left the premises also feeling pretty good, Coach Albright singling out Clark and midfielder Taylor Reynolds for solid performances.
“A lot of the times we’re not too physical in the air, we don’t challenge for too many balls like that, and I think Jacquie did that today,” said Coach Albright. “And Taylor made a lot of runs from central midfield, which a lot of times she doesn’t do, but I knew she had to do that today. And defensively we just didn’t have any breakdowns.”
CORTLAND JVs were 2-0 winners over Homer in the preliminary contest at Butts Field, thanks to a pair of second half goals by Clara Tallman and Jordan Clark. The Purple Tigers out-shot their hosts 27-3, Homer keeper Lindsay Sears stellar with 11 saves in defeat.
Tallman broke a scoreless tie with 19:13 left in the game off a Kennedy Cook assist, and Clark added an insurance goal at 12:53 with Tallman assisting. Goalie Amanda Edwards earned the CHS shutout with a pair of saves.
“The girls played well tonight and controlled the ball most of the game,” said CHS coach Brian Rogers. “Our possession allowed us to get a lot of shots and we started finishing in the second half. Rae Dunn played an outstanding game today, making several plays that controlled the game.”

 

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