October 20, 2007


Trojans rally past rival CHS


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central’s Victoria Lewis (19) and Cortland High’s Casey Marks (6) go up for a header in the first half Friday at rainy Buffs Field.Host Homer posted a 5-3 victory.

Staff Writer

It’s tough enough for neighboring rivals to play each other, but add some driving rain and heavy winds and things get real interesting.
That was the scenario Friday as Homer Central soccer girls hosted Cortland High at George Butts Field.
The Trojans overcame an early two-goal deficit and posted a 5-3 win in the OHSL Freedom Division regular season finale for both teams. Ironically, the two teams finish in a tie for third-place with identical 9-5 records and each sport 13-5 overall marks.
“Our girls showed tremendous character in coming back from two goals down,” said Homer coach Jim Baranello. “ I warned the girls that Cortland would come out hard in the first half and they did. We gave the Cortland players too much space in the beginning of the game and we talked about that at halftime. We made it harder for them to turn with the ball and that was a big difference in the final outcome.
“We had a game plan and we did execute very well,” Baranello continued. “That was why we were able to score five goals. This is the most goals that we have scored in a game this season and this is the time to start doing that. I was pleased with how the girls responded and how well they played in adverse conditions, which is something that we will have to deal with in sectionals.”
“You have to be prepared for anything in a game like this,” said Cortland coach Abbey Albright. “It really was an emotional roller-coaster for the girls.
“We suffered a little letdown after Homer came back and tied the game in the first half,” Albright added. “We fought back and did not have enough in the second half. We just made too many mistakes on defense and that led to Homer being able to score their goals.”
The turning point was a pair of well-executed goals by Homer freshman Kindrah Kohne. The first  was a hard blast that eluded Purple Tiger goalkeeper Katie Apley (five saves) with 26:43 left in the match for a 3-2 Trojan lead.
The second came with 15:33 remaining as Kohne drove the ball under the crossbar from 30 yards out for a 4-3 Homer advantage. Trojan senior Emily Swisher started the winning play with a long free kick that was knocked down by a Cortland defender 20 yards away. The ball rebounded to Kohne and she struck the ball perfectly and it sailed just over the outstretched hands of Apley. It was the fourth goal of the season for Kohne.
TROJAN SENIOR Erika Trivisonno gave the home team a little breathing room two minutes later as she delivered a clean shot into the net off an assist from Kaylee Benz. It was the second goal of the game for Trivisonno, who is tied with Benz for the team lead in goals this season with 12. She is one point (28) behind Benz (29) for the team lead in points.
“We did not get down on ourselves after getting behind,” said Trivisonno. “We settled down and did all the right things to come out on top.
“It was tough to focus today because of the weather,” Trivisonno added. “We have had trouble focusing as a team, at times, all season long. Our team leaders stepped up and got everyone going.”
It a steady rain falling as the game began, Cortland came out flying and used its speed on top to build a 2-0 advantage. Casey Marks settled a loose ball near the top right corner of the box and delivered a shot just inside the right post to start things off with 34:33 left in the first half. It was the 10th goal of the season for the Purple Tiger junior midfielder. The entire scramble for the ball came off a corner kick by Alexis Keeney.
The margin grew to two goals with 32:07 on the clock as Natalie Muka took a long ball just past the midfield stripe and out ran the Homer defenders to the ball. The senior striker broke free and raced towards goalkeeper Danielle Reygers (four saves). Muka was 15 yards out when she ripped the shot past Reygers for her 24th goal in 2007.
“It was tough to stay focused today,” said Reygers. “The wind and pouring rain really made the ball slippery during the beginning of the game. We were able to pull through.
“I was confident that we could win despite being behind,” Reygers stated. “I knew once we got up in their end we would be able to get back in the game and score goals. Cortland deserves a lot of credit because they really worked very hard to try to beat us.”
REYGERS HUNG tough the rest of the game and has really grown as a goalkeeper this season. The sophomore faced a lot of scrutiny as she was tabbed as the person to fill Hillary Simon’s shoes, who was the Trojan starter the past four years. Reygers has played 1,460 of the 1,500 minutes this season. She has 109 saves and her goals-against average is 1.10 with five shutouts through 18 games.
“I was nervous at the end of last season because I knew I had to step it up,” Reygers replied. “I think I have done a pretty good job this season. My defense really does a great job in front of me. I could not do it without them.”
Cortland continued to apply pressure, but the momentum started to swing towards Homer with 15 minutes in the half.
With 10:30 left in the half, Trivisonno sent a corner kick skipping along the top of the crossbar, but one minute later, she picked up the ball near midfield and raced down the left wing. From about 20 yards, Trivisonno used her left foot and stuck the ball in the upper right corner of the goal to get the Trojans on the board.
With 5:19 left in the half, Muka almost gave Cortland a 3-1 advantage when she split two defenders and sent a soft shot off the hands of Reygers, who slowed the ball down. Reygers then scampered back and covered the ball before it went in the goal.
Two minutes later, Homer tied the game at 2-2. Benz notched her lone goal of the game by collecting the ball in the box after a nice crossing pass by Jessica Parmiter and directing it into the goal.
Homer nearly put Cortland back in front five minutes into the second when. A back pass by a Trojan defender scooted by Reygers, who had to retreat 15 yards quickly and grabbed the ball just inches from the goal line.
The Trojans kept the momentum and the pressure going and finally took the lead on the Kohne goal.
TWO MINUTES later, Cortland pulled even at 3-3 when Katherine Hunsberger redirected a corner kick by Keeney inside the right post with 24:30 left as the rains returned.
It took nine minutes for Kohne to score the winning goal, but the Trojans remained in control and now head into sectional play on a winning note.
“It would have been tough to go into sectionals with a loss,” said Baranello. “We lost a tough game to CBA early in the week. The girls have been playing well, but we have been unlucky at times. It is good to have that win in your final regular season game and now we prepare to move on in sectionals.”
“I told the girls to remember the feeling of a loss,” said Albright. “The loss today hurts, but the next time we lose, it is the end of the season. That is something they should remember and it should help us get refocused for sectionals.”



Purple Tigers give top seed fits

Staff Writer

CARTHAGE — Regret over missed opportunities gave way to Grimm reality for the Cortland High football team Friday night against host Carthage in the first round of the Section 3 Class A playoffs.
Comet senior tailback Robert Grimm seized momentum back for his team with a second-quarter 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown moments after the eighth-seeded Purple Tigers had taken the lead for the first and only time in the game — which was played on a soggy but firm field as rain let up pre-game and then held off for the most part.
A pair of interceptions then thwarted two deep CHS drives, the top-seeded hosts clinging to a 14-13 halftime lead, and Grimm pretty much took over in the second half in what ended up a 28-13 Carthage victory.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said quietly as his players filed past en route to the buses after the setback that dropped their overall record to 3-5. “They came up here and battled hard. We should have been winning at halftime. They got their TDs on a 45-yard run (by Grimm) and the kickoff return. We did all the playing and were still down 14-13. But Grimm is a good back. They have tough kids, and play well up here.
“We have tough, good kids, too. They’ve worked hard all year, and they’re getting better.”
Cortland dominated the first-half statistics, picking up 213 yards, 124 in the air, to just 69 for Carthage, all on the ground. Grimm opened the scoring when he went off tackle on the left side, cut back toward the middle of the field and rambled 45 yards to make it 7-0 after the first of senior Cody Brotherton’s four conversion kicks.
It didn’t take long for Cortland to answer back. Senior quarterback A.J. Meldrim found classmate Levi Walrath, in a new role as a receiver, wide open on the right side for what ended up a 49-yard scoring hookup on the second play after the ensuing kickoff. Walrath added the conversion kick to tie the score just past the midway point of the first quarter.
After stopping the Comets on their next possession, the Purple Tigers embarked on a16-play, 81-yard drive that ended when junior Josh Morehouse, who was used as both a fullback and tailback in the contest, crashed into the end zone from four yards out. Walrath’s kick was blocked, and Cortland was up 13-7 with 5:42 left until halftime.
CARTHAGE GRABBED the lead right back on the ensuing kickoff, Grimm fielding it at the 11 and going up the middle all the way to the end zone to put his team up 14-13 after the Brotherton kick.
The hosts’ defense, which came into the game having allowed only 48 points all season, then took over, as on the next two CHS possessions Meldrim was intercepted by sophomore Jolyon Davis at the Comet 13-yard line and, in the waning seconds of the half, junior Sherman Nelson, who snagged a pass in the right corner of the end zone intended for Walrath. The latter drive was set up when Grimm fumbled and Cortland junior linebacker Jake Bryson recovered at the Carthage 23.




Cincy Christian boys fall short

Cincinnatus Christian Academy soccer boys saw a chance to earn a spot in the Empire Christian Athletic League playoffs slip away on this rainy Friday afternoon.
The Eagles gave up two late goals as host Baldwinsville Christian pulled out a 4-1 victory in a clash of teams battling for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Lewis Caster scored the go-ahead second half goal to break a 1-1 tie and finished off the scoring in the final minutes as Baldwinsville moves on to face top seed Cortland Christian in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Cortland Christian will host two semifinal games, the second seeded girls taking on third seed Cincinnatus Christian at 2:45 p.m. followed by Baldwinsville Christian boys taking on the Saints immediately following.
The title games are slated for this coming Saturday at Casey Field in Homer. The girls will play at 10 a.m. and the boys at 11:30 a.m.
Cincinnatus Christian girls warmed up for the playoffs by beating Baldwinsville Christian Academy yesterday.
Cortland Christian teams also rolled in regular season finales, the girls beating visiting Emmanuel Baptist from Penn Yan 9-0 and the boys coasting to a 7-0 victory over Emmanuel.
* After falling behind 1-0 in the opening half while giving up an own goal, Cincinnatus Christian (2-8 ESCAL, 3-11 overall) tied the game when Jordan Harris scored off an Aaron Blanchard assist five minutes into the second half.
Caster scored a minute later to put Baldwinsville Christian (4-6 ESCAL) ahead for keeps, the hosts adding two late scores against the tiring visitors.
Cincy Christian girls coasted, finishing 5-2-3 in league play and 9-2-3 overall. Hannah McGowan, Rachel Hicks and Caitlyn Blanchard each tallied twice for the Lady Eagles. Baldwinsville Christian (1-9) did not get off a shot in the loss.
* Cortland Christian girls finish 7-2-1 in the league standings and are 10-2-1 overall after beating Emmanuel, as Courtney Hall had two goals and an assist to become the school’s career scoring leader.
Hall now has 61 goals and 33 assists, surpassing the school record set a year ago by Emily Scheffler.
Melissa Scheffler, Emily’s younger sister, had three goals in the win over Emmanuel (1-9), while Larissa Miller had two goals and an assist. Charity Nelson also scored in the victory.