October 29, 2007


Saints denied ... twice


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland Christian Academy’s C.J. Burnett (left) tries to thread a shot through Cortland Christian Valley Heights defenders in the first half, including Redi Rose (8).

Cortland Christian Academy soccer teams were shut out in two bids for a league title, with the boys seeing a 38-game unbeaten streak also snapped on Saturday.
Luke Halberg scored three times as Valley Heights from Norwich upended the top-seeded Saints 3-1 in the second Empire State Christian Athletic League soccer playoff final played at Casey Field in Homer.
Regular season champion Cortland Christian (12-1-2) had not lost since Oct. 3 of 2005, a 4-2 setback against Valley Heights in Norwich.
That title game disappointment came after Cortland Christian girls were defeated 1-0 by top-seeded Port City from Oswego in the opening championship tilt. A goal by Jodi Kester with just over seven minutes left did in the second seeded Lady Saints (11-3-1).
l Cortland Christian boys dominated play, including a 35-12 edge in shots taken, but could not keep Halberg from doing damage — starting with a goal two minutes into the _contest.
Valley Heights (10-2) would take a 2-0 halftime lead and hold on from there.
The regular season champions hit the post twice in the first half, including a header by Caleb Kinney off a corner kick situation.
The Saints got to within 2-1 in the second half when C.J. Burnett converted a penalty kick, teammate Nathan Ploss having been taken down in the box. And moments later, Burnett came close to leveling matters only to have his shot glance off the crossbar and straight down.
Nothing else would get by Roger Rose, the active Valley Heights goalie who finished with 22 saves. Halberg then snuck past the defense for his third goal with 1:30 left.
Valley Heights scored nine times in three meetings with the Saints this season, and Halberg had all nine of those tallies.
l Cortland Christian girls also held a 13-8 shut advantage, but could not get anything past keeper Amy Laurion who made seven saves for the Oswego squad.
The Lady Saints had their best chances in the opening half, including a Larissa Miller shot that just sailed over the crossbar. Then late in the second half, Kester snuck a shot inside the right post off a Jordana O’Brien assist for the game’s lone goal with just over seven minutes to play.
Port City (9-1-2) packed in the defense after taking the lead, Cortland Christian with no dangerous scoring chances the rest of the way.
The ESCAL All-Star Game is this coming Saturday in Baldwinsville, where the all-star squads will be announced.




Dragons blanked by Lions defense

EWING, N.J. — How good was The College of New Jersey defense on Saturday afternoon in this first place football showdown?
Pretty darn good, as visiting SUNY Cortland discovered.
With a chance to secure first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III playoffs, the Red Dragons were instead shut down in a 30-0 loss at Lions’ Stadium.
It was the first time Cortland has ever been blanked by a NJAC opponent since joining the conference at the turn of the century. It marked the first time the Red Dragons have been held scoreless since a 14-0 loss to Brockport to open the 2000 season.
The College of New Jersey would force five turnovers and get 100-yard rushing performances from running backs Chase Misiura and Dan Dornacker to win a seventh straight game. The Lions stand alone in first place in the NJAC standings, improving to 5-0 in the conference and 7-1 overall.
Second place Cortland is now 5-1 in the conference and 6-2 overall, the Red Dragons seeing a five-game winning habit halted. Cortland closes conference play hosting Rowan this Saturday.
If the Red Dragons beat Rowan, they could still share first place in the conference for a third straight season if TCNJ loses at Buffalo State this Saturday or in a regular-season ending visit to Kean.
In other words, other teams now control Cortland’s destiny.
Cortland came into the game leading the NJAC with a 37-point per game average, but managed only 214 yards of offense — 100 of those coming from senior running back Dustin Bowser.
Junior quarterback Ray Miles had thrown only three interceptions all season long, but was picked off four times by the Lions including an 81-yard interception return by junior safety Dave Fontoura with 4:38 left to play that concluded the scoring.
Cortland also lost a fumble, which may have been the biggest play of the game.
Bowser was headed for the end zone after breaking free on 43-yard run on Cortland’s first possession of the game, only to have defensive back Jeff Bower punch the ball free inside the Lions’ 10-yard line. Chris Tranchina pounced on the loose football for TCNJ at the 4-yard line and any chance for early Red Dragon momentum was gone.
Cortland struggled offensively throughout, which is why Kyle Peterson was called upon to punt the ball eight times. Time of possession told the story, TCNJ with a dominating 37:55 to 22:05 edge in that department.




Luce hot foot as Lions romp

DRYDEN — Dylan Luce scored a three-goal hat trick as Dryden High boys posted a solid 4-1 win over visiting Greene in Section 4 Class B soccer tournament quarterfinal action Saturday.
The third-seeded Purple Lions (16-1-1) will travel to second-seed Lansing (15-1-2) Wednesday for a 3 p.m. semifinal match. The Bobcats edged seven-seed Watkins Glen 1-0 Saturday.
In other Class B quarterfinals, top-seed Susquehanna Valley (12-3-1) downed eighth-seed Trumansburg 2-1 and fourth-seed Chenango Forks (9-6-1) downed fifth-seed Binghamton Seton Catholic (5-8-1), 3-1. Chenango Forks will travel to Susquehanna Valley Wednesday for a 3 p.m. semifinal match.
In Class C quarterfinal tournament play Saturday, third-seed Candor (13-3-1) blanked sixth-seed Oxford while second-seed Spencer-Van Etten (15-2-1) nipped seventh-seed Elmira Notre Dame 2-1. Candor will travel to S-VE for semifinal action Wednesday at 3 p.m.
 In the other C bracket, rain and wet grounds postponed the two Saturday matches until today at 3:30 p.m. Fourth-seed Marathon (13-3-2) will host fifth-seed Southern Cayuga (13-3-1) while eighth-seed Odessa-Montour (12-4-2) will meet top-seed Delhi (16-0) in Afton. The two winners meet in the semifinal match at the higher seed Wednesday at 3:30.
Dryden 4, Greene 1: While Luce scored three times, Nick Lange assisted on all three goals and he scored the fourth Purple Lion goal.
“Dylan and Nick connected very well all afternoon,” said Dryden coach Laszlo Engel. “They could have scored a few others that the Greene keeper made some good saves.
“We moved the ball well and everyone played well for the conditions,” Engel added. “The field was very sloppy and influenced the play. It certainly made the game a bit more fun for the fans as they watched everyone slide around and a couple players fell into a sloppy puddle at midfield.”
Dryden scored two goals in each half with Greene getting its lone goal in first-half play from Alex Driscoll.
John Flanagan made seven saves for the Trojans. T.J. Weaver made four saves for Dryden before Christian Jenne came on and recorded one save.