November 8 , 2006


Homer season ended in overtime

Freshman’s goal topples Trojans in Class A battle

Homer Soccer

Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lakes’ Amanda Malono sails through the air as she battles Homer Central’s Kaylee Benz (19) and Laura Buerkle (3)during Tuesday’s Class A state tourney game in Chittenango. Section 3 champ Homer lost 1-0 in OT.

Staff Writer

CHITTENANGO — While a golden opportunity escaped Homer Central girls in regulation time, the Trojans had to feel good about heading into overtime against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Tuesday night in the New York State Public High School Athlete Association Class A regional soccer semifinal.
Though the ninth state-ranked Trojans had won three of four previous overtime encounters this season, it was the tournament-tested Spartans from Section 2 who prevailed 1-0. The winning goal came when freshman Monica Wolf floated a shot from 18 yards out over the outstretched hands of goalie Hillary Simon 1:20 into the second of the mandatory 10-minute overtime segments at windy Chittenango High School.
It was the first time all season that the Section 3 champions (19-2-1) had been shut out.
Meanwhile, the victorious Spartans (14-7-1), who played primarily against Class AA schools in the Suburban League like highly-ranked Shenedehowa and Bethlehem, hit the road for the regional finals Saturday against Massena. Section 10 champion Massena was a 2-1 winner over Beekmantown from Section 7.
“I wasn’t sure where the shot would actually end up, but I knew it would be the upper 90 the way I hit it,” said Wolf of her winning shot into the wind off an unsettled situation near the top of the box. “I think the wind did help to knock the ball_a little.”
“Monica has started every game this season for us at midfield,” said Burnt Hills coach Brian Bold. “She has made mistakes and she has gone through the growing pains. As a coaching staff, we have stuck with her, knowing it could pay dividends down the road. I know that there were a lot of kids who could have come through for us tonight and I am glad that she was the one.”
Both Wolf and Coach Bold firmly believe that playing such a tough regular season schedule is an advantage for the Spartans, who have reached the state finals two of the past three years with one title.
“The Double-A schedule really does help us for the post-season,” said Wolf. “We aren’t taken lightly by anyone we play and that really helps us come out and play hard every game.”
“It is not only a tough schedule, but we play three top Double-A teams ranked in the top 20 all season long,” Bold added. “We are one of the smallest A school in our area. We figure that if we can stay healthy through those 18 regular-season games, it can only help us play better at this level.”
Overall, the stats would bear out how close the game really was. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake enjoyed a 15-14 edge in shots while Homer had a 3-1 edge in corner kicks. Both Simon and Spartan goalkeeper Teegan Kelly made seven saves.
HOMER CAME VERY close to tying the game with 4:30 left in the second overtime when senior forward Meghan Finn got open and fired a shot towards the left post from about 25 yards out. Kelly dove and knocked the ball down.
The ball rolled free and Finn got a second chance. While the shot was not as strong as the first, it rolled towards the open net. Sophomore midfielder Georgina Farrow hustled back and cleared the ball away inches from the goal-line to keep the Spartans in front.
The Trojans did get one more chance 30 seconds later, but a corner kick from senior Laura Buerkle hooked across the crease and out-of-bounds past the right post.
Burnt Hills successfully killed most of the remaining time with long passes down the field and kicking the ball out-of-bounds.
The Spartans had two scoring chances in the third minute of the first overtime. The first was a chip shot from 20 yards out that sailed over the crossbar by Amanda DiSorbo. The other was an unsettled situation off a corner-kick. The shot from the crowd bounced off the crossbar and the rebound was eventually grabbed by Simon.
The Trojans best chance in that overtime was a rising shot by Finn, who settled the ball 15 yards out and hit a rising shot that Kelly stopped with a nice leaping grab.
BURNT HILLS HAD the wind in the first half and kept the ball in the Homer defensive zone much of the 40 minutes. Using a couple of long shots and three attempts to chip the ball over Simon, the Spartans kept the pressure on. The best scoring chance came with 20 minutes left in the half. Farrow centered a ball from the left flank that Heather Hahn one-touched over the cross bar.
Homer’s best chance in the first half came with 10 minutes to play as Finn took a through ball from Victoria Lewis and moved up the left side of the field. Near the box, Finn crossed the ball to Emily Swisher for a quick shot that the goalkeeper covered.
The Trojans had three strong scoring chances with the wind in the second half. Swisher hit the left post on a direct kick with 31 minutes Finn had two chances towards the right post off cornerkicks from Buerkle. The first chance with 20 minutes left saw Finn whiff on the first shot after settling the ball, but she recovered to push the rebound shot just wide of the right post. The second chance came four minutes later with another shot just outside the right post.
The Spartans had one good chance in the second half to avoid overtime. With 14 minutes left, Kelly Hotaing chip a ball over Simon, but a Homer defender filled in and cleared the ball away.
“I though that if we survived the wind in the first half, we could control things,” said Homer coach Jim Baranello. “I think we did that. The goals just weren’t there. We hit the post. They (Burnt Hills) cleared a ball off the goal line. I am terribly disappointed for my kids because they worked so hard and had a great season.”
FOR SIX HOMER seniors, this was their final game. Three of those seniors (Simon, Molly Siwula and Meghan Marcehtti) have been four-year varsity players and they leave with a career record of 64 wins-15 losses-3 ties. Finn and Erin McSherry have been on the varsity squad three years with Beurkle two years at Homer after two years on the McGraw varsity team.
“We had our chances to win tonight,” said Siwula, one of the Homer tri-captains. “We did get caught numbers down a few times on defense, but we recovered. Up front, there were chances to score, but we just could not get the ball in the goal.
“This was the best team that I have ever played on,” she added. “We said that everything after the sectional championship would be icing on the cake. I am really proud of everything that we did accomplish this season. I have been a varsity player for four years and this was a great experience. We were really close as a team this year and I was proud to be a part of it.”




Olympians pass state ‘road test’

MILTON — All season long, Tessa Knapp has worked hard to get her scoring chances around the cage for Marathon Central girls.
All the hard work paid off Tuesday night as the sophomore forward netted all three goals as the Olympians defeated Pine Plains from Section 9 by a 3-1 count in New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C field hockey regional semi-final round action at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton.
“Tessa has been discouraged this year because she has missed a number of opportunities around the cage,” said Marathon coach Karen Funk. “She was looking for the ball tonight and she found it. I was happy for her and I was happy that the team won tonight.”
Marathon (21-1 overall) took a 1-0 lead with 8:27 left in the first half when Knapp deflected a shot by Hannah Griep just inside the left post.
Pine Plains tied the game with 1:12 left in the half as Natalie Fieldsine scored an unassisted goal.
Frustrated by the fouling tactics of their opponent, the Olympians got off 11 of their 13 shots during the second 30 minutes.
“We had control of the game,” said Funk. “We could get the ball down the field, but Pine Plains did not have the stick skills to stay with us, so they fouled us, a lot.
“We had control of the game,” Funk added “We were able to overcome their style of play and put the game away. I really would have liked the shutout, but I will take the win. We really played a much better second half and we moved the ball better. We had some adjustments to make to the field and the environment, which we did.”
With 3:49 left in the match, Knapp gave Marathon a 2-0 cushion_as Marta Malmberg got the ball to her teammate during a penalty-corner sequence.
Knapp got her hat trick with 1:23 left through great second-effort.
“I think Meghan Dean took the initial shot,” said Funk. “The goalkeeper made the save, but the ball rolled just behind her. Tessa saw the ball and nearly jumped over the keeper to get her stick on it and knock it into the goal.”
Knapp, Dean, Griep, Malmberg and Sammy Parker all received post-game praise from their coach.
“Meghan was double and triple-teamed a lot,” said Funk. “They also marked Hanna and Marta. They all drew the attention from the defense and that left Tessa open. She really took advantage of that. Sammy played another very solid game on defense for us as did our goalkeeper Roni Allen.”
Allen finished with two saves while Sarah Pitcher recorded five saves for Pine Plains.
As for playing under a dome, Coach Funk was less impressed with the facilities.
“For off-season stuff, I think it is a great place,” said Funk. “But, it is not the kind of facility that is suitable for state-level tournament play. The parents are just two yards away from the field in bleachers. The officials barely had enough room to move on the sideline and they had to stop the clock several times to retrieve the ball from under the bleachers. The lighting was strange as well.”
Marathon will travel to Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak Saturday for a regional final showdown with Section 1 champion Bronxville (14-1-1) at 7 p.m. That will be the final game of three contests pitting Section 4 against Section 1.
The Olympians rolled to a 6-0 win over Bronxville in their last meeting, the 2001 Class D state title game at Alliance Bank Stadium. Tiffany Marsh scored five goals in her final game as the Olympians (24-0) won their first of three consecutive state championships and were in the early stages of their 87-game winning streak.
In two other games Section 4 champions were also winners. Greene shutout Pine Bush in the Class A match 2-0 while Maine-Endwell remained undefeated after a 3-0 Class B victory over Red Hook.
Greene (15-3) will meet host Lakeland H.S. (21-0) at 3 p.m. with Maine-Endwell (18-0) squaring off against Rye (18-1) at 5 p.m. The Saturday winners advance to the Final Four at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse November 17 and 18.



Dragons head to regionals

SUNY Cortland women have some momentum heading into their 20th NCAA Division III volleyball tournament appearance.
It will be the fourth consecutive season the Red Dragons have been in the NCAA field, this trip earned with a solid showing at the SUNY Athletic Conference tournament this past weekend.
Cortland swept past host Brockport in the semifinals and Geneseo in the title match to advance into an eight-team NCAA regional that gets underway Thursday at Stevens Tech in Hoboken, N.J.
The Red Dragons (28-12) are the third seed and will face sixth-seeded Skidmore College (23-12) in the first round.
The opening day of the regional will also feature fourth-seeded Vassar (25-11) facing fifth-seeded Washington and Lee (Va.) (27-7) at 1 p.m., top-seeded New York University (32-6) against eighth-seeded Hunter College (26-7) at 3:30 p.m. and second-seeded Stevens (31-5) versus seventh-seeded Baptist Bible College (Pa.) (23-13) at 8:30 p.m.
The Cortland-Skidmore winner will play the Stevens-Baptist Bible winner in the regional semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. The regional final is set for Saturday at 7 p.m., with the champion advancing to the Elite Eight at the Salem Civic Center in Virginia Nov. 16-18.
Under second-year head coach Pam Hoerup, Cortland won its 15th SUNYAC title this past weekend. The Red Dragons have advanced to the national quarterfinals seven times, most recently in 2000, and have made it to the regional finals each of the last three years, losing to NYU each time.
Sophomore middle hitter Tiffany Chatman leads the Red Dragons with 2.8 kills and 1.5 blocks per game this season. Freshman outside hitter Michelle Gaufman averages 2.6 kills and 3.0 digs per game and is the teams front-line leader with a .230 attack percentage.
Sophomore setter Brittney Horton, the SUNYAC tournament MVP last weekend, averages 10.4 assists per game and is the teams leader with 73 service aces. Outside hitter Daina Marsh, the teams lone senior, averages 2.4 kills per game, junior outside hitter Kelsey Muka averages 2.3 kills per game and junior middle hitter Alice Kahrs is second on the team with 0.8 blocks per game.