November 20, 2007


Depth should be a plus for Purple Tigers


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Chelsea Tollner is one of the players returning for Coach Mary Lou Bordwell this volleyball season.

Staff Writer

A good mix of veterans and newcomers has made for some interesting times already for the Cortland High girls’ volleyball team, which opens its season by hosting Nottingham at 7 p.m. this evening in an OHSL Freedom Division match.
“The kids coming in have a great attitude, and with so many girls on the squad they all know that at any time they can go in or be taken out,” Purple Tigers coach Mary Lou Bordwell said of her 14 players, eight of them newcomers. “It has made for some interesting practices.
“Our strength is depth, and we also look strong in the attack area, with lots of strong hitters and blockers. We can put a number of combinations in and they should work.  The kids also know the responsibilities of their positions, so I really don’t have to go over much of that. Now it’s a case of developing advanced skills and concepts.”
The fact that the team is split fairly evenly between rookies and vets is something of a concern, according to Bordwell. “If we have a weakness, it will be lack of playing time together,” she said, “things like counting on a girl to be in position and not take a ball that isn’t hers. The setters will have to work hard to get to balls and put up good sets at the beginning, when things can be tough.
“The fact that there are so many girls that there will be a difference in people and knowing each other and who will get to what is important. We want to start the season strong, and preparing mentally for a match is very important because we need to play well from the beginning. Our goals would be to win the league and improve individually on one thing every day.”
Among those back from last year (5-10 league, 5-11 overall) is captain Amanda Cheetham, a senior setter who Bordwell noted “is smart, has lots of experience and played through a back injury this year.” The alternate captains are seniors Rachel Pisa (setter), Lisa Frare (libero-utlility) and Alissa Claiser (outside hitter).
“Rachel was our third setter last year, but went in to pass many times as she is a great passer, so that she has walked into the setting position this season,” Bordwell said. “I can see Lisa playing a lot of defense again — she did a bit of libero last year and was a bit of a utility player — and Alissa played quite a bit last year, has been hitting and serving very well and quietly goes about her job, playing very consistently.”
The other returnees, with Bordwell’s comments, are juniors Katie Owens (outside hitter-serving specialist; “She hasn’t lost her serve and her hitting has improved. She works hard, I can see her getting a lot of time”) and Chelsea Tollner (libero; “She was a defensive specialist last year and I can see her doing that again this year. She played a lot last season, so she is familiar with the game plan; she can also set and outside hit.”).
The newcomers are juniors Julie Bush (middle hitter), Caila Clayton (setter), Sarah Curtis (middle hitter), Hannah Dovi (middle hitter), Ammarie Hill (all-around), Casey Marks (middle hitter) and Nicole Wageck (outside hitter) and sophomore middle hitter Lisa Dovi (middle hitter; Hannah’s sister).
“Julie is a very consistent hitter and server and is tall,” Bordwell said. “Caila has great skills and will come in as needed, Sarah is playing very smart in practice and deserves to play with the varsity, and has the ability to adjust to sets and keep the ball in play. Hannah has great timing on blocking and has been hitting well in practice.
“I hope we can get Ammarie in a setter/defense/outside hitter spot; she’s a good athlete so should be able to do it all. Casey is a very good blocker and hitter, and is good at defense, where she can cover the floor. Nicole has improved greatly in the hitting aspect of the game and will come in as needed, and Lisa’s timing and blocking are good, and she wanted the challenge of playing at a higher level. I think she can handle it, and will contribute.”
Lost to graduation were the team’s only two players to win league honors, setter Kim Natoli and middle hitter Katelyn Anderson, both second-team selections and the team’s co-MVPs. Also gone are middle-outside hitter Brittany Babcock, last year’s Most Improved Player on the team, and outside-middle hitter Kaitlyn Glover, who won the team’s Coaches’ Award.
As for the league, Bordwell said: “Fulton and Mexico are always good. Mexico has (senior) Caitlin Santore back, who is a great hitter, and Fulton won the league last season. I would see Homer as a strong team, with (junior outside hitter) Katie Wick.”
Stacy Steingrabe will once again coach the junior varsity team this season, with Cheri Drake the eighth-grade coach and Maureen White the seventh-grade coach.




Trojan catcher selects Colgate

In front of a crowd of 50 that included family, friends and some former coaches, Homer Central senior Stephanie Hartquist signed her national letter of intent to play Division I softball at Colgate University Sunday in a ceremony at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
Among those is attendance were her varsity coach at Homer, Cris Colasurdo, and her travel team coach from Binghamton, Bob Clinton. Cathy Stage softball director Roger Sager and Homer varsity assistant coach Dusty Stillman were among the other invitees.
Hartquist said the decision was a tough one, but one that she is glad she made.
“It really came down to Colgate or Cornell,” said Hartquist. “In the end, I know it would be a good fit for me. I liked the coach and the team. It is good to have the decision out of the way so that I can enjoy the rest of my senior year.
“I was really surprised at the number of offers I received,” Hartquist explained. “I was nervous because it was hard getting to a number of the showcases and tournaments so people could see me play. ”
In addition to playing Homer, Hartquist has traveled around the country as the member of some very successful competitive travel teams, including the Bad Apples from the Binghamton area.
The decision meant that Hartquist will head to Hamilton, not Ithaca, where her grandfather, Bill Butler, is an assistant softball coach with Cornell’s Big Red. He has spent many hours working with his granddaughter.
“I grew up at Cornell in many ways,” Hartquist stated. “Grandpa was very supportive of whatever decision I made and the full scholarship was really a big factor in my decision. He did not put any pressure on me. He wanted what would be best for me and parents.”
While Hartquist has mainly been a catcher for the Trojans, she is comfortable at a number of positions and that works to her benefit. Hartquist has played on the varsity team at Homer since eighth grade and this will be her fifth, and final, season in the spring.
Her powerful bat, in which she has hit over .600 in OHSL Freedom Division the past two seasons, will get her in the line-up. She is a multi-time league first-team all-star and league MVP selection that past two seasons as well. She also possesses a very strong arm and a good sense for the game for all the tournament play she has been involved with.
Colgate finished 25-24 last spring and is currently playing a fall schedule for ninth year head coach Vickie Sax.
“I will really play anywhere,” said Hartquist. “Coach said that I could be at shortstop, third base or centerfield. It will be where the team needs me. It really does not matter to me.”





Three victories for Pee Wee Flames

The Cortland Flames Pee Wee Travel youth hockey team won all three of its games over the weekend, 6-0 over host Mohawk Valley and 4-0 over visiting Ithaca in a pair of Saturday games and 6-2 at Center State on Sunday.
Jared Levine made seven saves against Mohawk Valley and six more against Ithaca, splitting time with Zach Randall (four saves), in the two shutouts. Jordan Zehr scored twice against Mohawk Valley, while Drew Wojcinski, Alex Rosato, Mike Lavere and Eustan DiIorio had one goal each. Wojcinski, Zehr, Lavere and DiIorio scored once each against Ithaca.
DiIorio had two goals, Rosato a goal and two assists and Wojcinski a goal and an assist against Center State, while Zehr and Dakota Baylor scored once each. Randall made 20 saves.
Cortland blanked host Valley 8-0 on Sunday. Jayson Wojcinski had two goals and two assists, while Ben Gravel and Matt Pelowski scored twice each and Dylan Cooper and Emily Krebs each had one goal. No goalie statistics were reported.
The Huskytown Auto and Truck Repair team beat visiting center State 2-1 on Saturday, Lee Riley and Curtis Howland scoring once each while goalies Cory Broyles and Brandon Paquin made 11 and 12 saves, respectively.
In a 3-2 Sunday loss to the visiting Scranton Junior Knights, Casey Bergeron and Riley were the goal-scorers while Paquin turned aside 14 shots and Broyles 10.
The Rick & Rich/Economy Paving/Homer Logging team fell to visiting Elmira 4-2, John Burhans and Matt May the goal-scorers while goalie Gage Eldred made 15 saves.
Cortland beat host Center State Sunday as Alex Sanford and Nick Swartz scored once each and goalie Ryan Gabriel stopped 18 shots.
Ali Pace from Cortland had a goal and an assist and Dryden’s Marissa Ramos scored once as the Ithaca Shooting Stars 14-Under team beat the Ithaca Youth Hockey Pee Wee UNYHL team 3-2. The 14-Under squad also lost to the Rome Grizzlies 14-Unders 5-1.