November 24, 2006


Rockets ready to defend title

Lions, Eagles look to challenge


Cortland Standard
DeRuyter junior Chelsea Way is among the returning players for Coach Gary Burdick as the Rockets chase after a third straight CCL title.

Staff Writer

The DeRuyter Central girls’ volleyball team will try to make it three Central Counties League championships in a row this season. Meanwhile McGraw and Cincinnatus, both with a large number of returning players, will try to move up in_the standings.
There are now five teams in the league, Stockbridge Valley returning after a year’s hiatus to rejoin the three local teams and Brookfield.
DeRuyter opened the season earlier this week, losing 25-17, 25-23, 10-25, 25-19 to visiting Tully on Tuesday.
Kristi Custer had eight kills, three acres, four blocks and 13 assists for the Rockets, while Jen Cizenski had five kills, two aces and seven assists, Brandi Henry five kills, five aces and a block and Aubrey Schelah seven kills and two kill blocks. The Rockets will next see action Saturday at the Onondaga Tournament.
Coach: Gary Burdick
The Rockets return six players from last year’s team, which went 6-0 in winning the league for the second year in a row and, also for the second year in a row, lost to New York Mills in the sectional Class D championship match to finish the season 15-3 overall.
Senior setter-hitter Kristi Custer, an all-league first-team and All-Section 3 Class D pick, each for the second year in a row, as well as an all-state Class D selection, is back. The team captain led the league in assists with 113 and aces with 41 while also collecting 74 kills, second-best in the CCL. Senior outside hitter Polly Gallerani returns after being named first-team all league last season (honorable mention in ’05), when she had 37 aces to trail only Custer in the league in that category.
Also back are senior middle hitter Aubrey Schelah (honorable mention the last two seasons), senior middle hitter Brandi Henry and junior outside hitter Chelsea Way. The newcomers this season are juniors Megan Stevens (middle hitter), Kate Vosburg (outside hitter-middle_hitter) and sophomore setter-hitter Jen Cizenski.
Gone to graduation is a pair of first-team all-league, All-Section 3 Class D and all-state Class D selections in setter-hitter Tracy Fuller (second in the league in kills with 102) and middle hitter Amanda Lawrence (league-high 89 kills and 19 blocks), plus outside hitters Megan Marshall and Heather Foster.
“We’ve got a new setter (Cizenski), which is always pretty critical, and it depends on how she develops,” Burdick said when asked about the keys to his team’s success this winter. “She was called up for sectionals but didn’t get much varsity experience last year, then worked hard in the summer, played in the summer with most of the team in a league in Tully, and has developed a lot. Also important will be how well the younger kids develop, and how much the veterans show that they are veterans.
“We’re not quite where we need to be with our passing, and need some work on that as well as on finishing around the net, and blocking. We have strong setters, and our serving is pretty decent; some of the girls aren’t real strong servers, but we are consistent.”
As for goals, Burdick said that “We look forward to doing well in the league, and I think we can. We’d really like to be able to do well in sectionals, and be in the finals; they say the third time is the charm. But that depends on how well the team develops. As for the league, it’s hard to say; McGraw looks pretty tough, Cincinnatus didn’t lose anyone and Brookfield is always strong.”

Coach: Andy Smith
Smith, an assistant coach at SUNY Cortland the last two seasons, takes over a squad that was second in the CCL at 4-2 last season and wound up 11-4 overall after falling to Mew York Mills in the sectional Class D semifinals. Due to the Eagles’ run to the state girls’ soccer semifinals, he saw the team for the first time last week (Nov. 20).
The team is led by senior co-captains Jen Rutan, an outside hitter who was an all-league first-team pick and also selected to the All-Section 3 Class D team, and Sarah Bilodeau, an outside hitter who was accorded all-league honorable mention last winter. Also back are seniors Julie Hewes (outside hitter, honorable mention), Diane Ralyea (middle hitter) and Annie Atroshenkova (outside hitter) and junior setter Monica Byron.
New this season are junior setter-middle hitter Lisa Soshinsky and sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Hayes.
Lost to graduation were middle hitter Alaina Hurlbert, a three-time all-leaguer plus an all-Section 3 Class D pick and a third-team all-state Class D selection, plus first-team all-league setter Ashley McAdam and outside hitter-libero Natasha Ignatowski.
“Serving will be important to us this season, as well as defense,” Smith said. We want to keep the ball in play and wait until the other team makes a mistake. We have experience, and a group of girls who have gelled with each other and communicate well on the court.
“But I think we’ll struggle to be real strong on offense; I don’t know how much of a power game we’ll have on the front line.”
Smith, as a newcomer himself, wasn’t familiar enough with the league yet to talk about the upcoming season, but did say that “I want all the girls to have fun and enjoy the season. I think we can do just as well as last year, if not a few games better. We want to go at least as far as we did in sectionals last winter.”
Coach: Macy Cobb
Junior setter-hitter Kortni Wright (team assists leader last year) and sophomore outside hitter Jolene Eaton (team leader in aces and the defensive spark, according to Cobb), both first-team all-leaguers last season, head up a solid core of six returnees from a squad that went winless in six league matches and 17 contests overall in 2005-06.
Also back are seniors KaraBeth Eaton (setter-hitter, Jolene’s sister, second on the team in assists and strong defensively, according to Cobb), Rachel Smith (middle hitter, led the team in blocks and kills) and Melissa Randall (outside hitter), plus sophomores Deanna Frink (middle hitter) and Jonelle Eccleston (setter-hitter). KaraBeth Eaton and Smith were all-league honorable mentions last season and this year’s team captains.
This season’s rookies are senior outside hitter Sandra Vroman, junior outside hitter Amanda Cross and sophomores Veronica Rowe (outside hitter) and Dusty Fisk (middle hitter). Cross is back after a year away from the game, and the other three were all on the JV squad last season.
“Last year was a rebuilding year for our team,” Cobb said. “We had no seniors, so we are looking forward to this season,” Cobb said. “We have grown tremendously and have added some talent to our ranks. Our biggest hurdle will be to overcome the stigma of not winning last season, but we are looking strong as a team in covering the court and our offense has really improved. Our goals are modest, but we would like to be a contender for the CCL title and I believe we will surprise some of the teams we meet.
“It’s hard to tell from year to year about the league. DeRuyter lost some key players last year, but there are still young strong players reinforcing his losses. McGraw also had a strong team and has some good returnees. I think the title is up for the taking again this year.”



Seniors step up for CHS

Staff Writer

The Cortland High girls’ volleyball team returns only four players from last year, when the Purple Tigers were 7-9 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 8-11 overall after a first-round Class A sectional loss to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.
But those returnees, all seniors, are making a good impression_on 23rd-year coach Mary Lou Bordwell, whose team opens its season by hosting Fulton at 7 p.m. Monday.
“I’m happy with all four,” Bordwell said of middle hitter Katelyn Anderson and Brittany Babcock, outside hitter Kaitlyn Glover and setter Kim Natoli. Babcock was a second team all-league section last winter, while Natoli was an honorable mention choice.
 “They played all summer long and are all far beyond what they were at the end of last season — they’re much quicker, and their passing is much better. It’s also a group of leaders. They’re holding the others on task,” said Bordwell.
Natoli is the captain of this year’s squad, with Anderson and Babcock the assistant captains.
The others are the eight newcomers on this year’s squad. The list includes juniors Amanda Cheetham (setter), Alissa Claiser (outside hitter), Lisa Frare (outside hitter), Natalie Stiles (defensive specialist) and Rachel Pisa (setter), sophomore Katie Owens (outside hitter) and Chelsea Tollner (all-around) and senior outside hitter Stacey Hilliard.
“We have to stay healthy,” said Bordwell, who noted that Cheetham, Natoli and Pisa are all nursing injuries from fall sports. “We also have to have consistency, and I’m hoping that Kim and Amanda bring a winning spirit from soccer. They’re want-to-win people, a key will be those_two getting the others to go along with them.”
The CHS girls’ soccer team was a state-ranked Section 3 Class A runner-up this fall.
“Leadership is one of our strengths, and since the girls have come in ready we’ve been able to start at five or six rather than zero and are a week or two ahead of last season. They’re also not afraid to point out each other’s errors and praise each other for good plays. All of them are good at taking criticism and praise,” said Bordwell.
On the other hand, the CHS coach acknowledged that her team is young and will have to start gelling fast, with at least some_of the new players seeing time right away.
“Amanda is a natural leader, Alissa has a great serve and is staying in the mix at this new level of competition while Katie has looked very good and serves well, and Chelsea passes very well and can hit,” Bordwell said. “Kaitlyn, who missed most of last season (due to injury), is a backup middle hitter too. But we want to mix it up this season; we were middle-heavy last season. All-around we’re stronger than last year.”
Gone from last year are first-team all-league libero-outside hitter Florina Bacuta, who would have been a junior this year and whose family moved; her sister Costina, an outside hitter-libero; hitter Emmalon Davis and all-around players Megan Eves and Christine Leuthauser.
Bordwell said that she wants this year’s edition of the Purple Tigers to be “a team that attacks and plays to win. I want us to pick it up. Mexico has won the league the last five or six years in a row, and Fulton was up there last year. I’d like to be more competitive with them.”
Stacy Steingrabe is the new junior varsity coach, while Breck Aspinwall is the new eighth-grade coach, returning after a few years away, and Maureen White will coach the seventh-grade team.




Haas ‘Player of the Year’ candidate

SUNY Cortland senior defensive tackle Adam Haas has been announced as one of 10 finalists for the 14th annual Gagliardi Trophy, which is presented to the NCAA Division III outstanding football player of the year.
Haas is one of two players from the NCAA’s East region among the 10 finalists.
Four regional finalists will be chosen and_announced on Dec. 5. The national winner will_be announced on Dec. 12, and will be presented two days later prior to the national championship game.
The first Cortland player to earn national finalist status, Haas led the Red Dragons this fall with 71 tackles in 10 games. He also led the team with 15.5 tackles for lost yardage, including 7.5 sacks.
He recorded 10 tackles in each of his last three games – a 14-7 overtime loss at Rowan, a 23-20 overtime win over Ithaca and a 26-7 ECAC Northeast Bowl loss to Rensselaer.
A starter in all 40 games during his collegiate career, Haas concluded his career with 246 tackles. He made 60.5 tackles for losses, including 34 sacks.
As a junior, Haas earned first team All-America honors from both and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and was the New Jersey Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
This season, Haas has been chosen this season to compete for the American Football Coaches Association  Division III all-star team that will represent the United States against the Mexican National Team in the 2006 Aztec Bowl on Dec. 16 in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Active in the community as well, the childhood education major reads to pre-schoolers twice a week, has assisted with Math Night at a local elementary school and has served as an assistant coach for a 7-and-under softball team. He is also a team representative on SUNY Cortland’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The Gagliardi award honors excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award program is sponsored by Jostens, Inc. and conducted by the J-Club of Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.
The award is named for Saint John’s University head football coach John Gagliardi, the first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the winningest coach in college football history with 442 career victories in 58 seasons.
The 10 finalists for the 2006 Gagliardi Trophy are:
Tom Arcidiacono, running back. Union College; Josh Brehm, quarterback, Alma College (Mich.); Tom Brew, linebacker, Case Western Reserve University (Oh.); Kirby Carr, linebacker, Bethel University (Minn.); Adam Haas, defensive tackle, SUNY Cortland; Ryan Kleppe, defensive lineman, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (Wis.); Kam Kniss, quarterback, North Central College (Ill.); Tristan Murray, running back, Wittenberg University (Oh.; Jordan Neal, quarterback, Hardin-Simmons University (Tex).; Cad Otte, safety, Wilmington College (Oh.)



Dragons’ Chatman in spotlight

SUNY Cortland sophomore middle hitter Tiffany Chatman is an honorable mention All-American for the second straight season by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
In addition, Chatman (Watertown) and sophomore setter Brittney Horton (Owego Free Academy) have been named to the AVCA All-New York Region team, while Chatman and senior outside hitter Daina Marsh (Cicero-North Syracuse) were All-SUNY Athletic Conference selections.
Chatman, who was named to the all-region first team, led Cortland (29-13) this fall with 2.8 kills and 1.5 blocks per game. She finished the season with 416 kills, 226 blocks (80 solo) and a .221 attack percentage. Through just two seasons, Chatman is ranked fifth at Cortland with 414 career blocks, 76 short of the record.
Horton, an honorable mention all-region choice, set a school single-season record this fall with 1,577 assists. She averaged 10.3 assists per game, led the Red Dragons with 76 service aces and ranked third on the team with 113 blocks (0.7 per game) and 310 digs.
Marsh concluded the season with 333 kills (2.4 per game), 43 service aces, 270 digs and 64 blocks. She registered a .206 attack percentage and ranks 12th at Cortland with 809 career kills, including 706 over the past two seasons.
Cortland finished the season with a 29-13 record. The Red Dragons won their fourth consecutive SUNYAC tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.



Finnerty catches on in Ernie Davis game

ENDICOTT — Dryden High senior wide receiver Tim Finnerty caught three passes for 69 yards during a 24-0 West Squad loss to East Squad during the 17th Annual Ernie Davis Classic football game at Ty Cobb Stadium in Endicott Wednesday night.
Finnerty and Purple Lion classmate Rex Hollenbeck, another wide receiver/defensive back, were part of the annual showcase of football athletes as selected by Section 4 coaches.
The East defense stood out in the contest, scoring on a safety and a fumble return by Joe Nicholson of Chenango Forks for the only second half points.
l The Carrier Dome on the Syracuse University campus will be hosting New York State title games starting today, where Auburn out of Section 3 and Corning East from Section 4 are the lone local schools in action.
Auburn is staging a remarkable post-season run after backing into the Class AA playoffs in Section 3, earning a spot only after Corcoran High in Syracuse had to forfeit games for using an ineligible player during the regular season.
The Maroons then knocked off three teams en route to a Section 3 title, including topping Rome Free Academy in the title game at the Carrier Dome. State tournament wins over Union-Endicott and Rochester Marshall followed.
Now Auburn (9-3) will take on No. 1 ranked Monroe-Woodbury (12-0) out of Section 9 at the Carrier Dome at 3 p.m. Saturday. That game will be televised live by Time Warner Cable, channel 26 locally.
Corning East (12-0) is in action today, taking on Cornwall (12-0) from Section 9 in a 7 p.m. Class A title game. The game will follow the opening contest that will crown a Class D champion, Oakfield-Alabama (11-1) from Section 5 taking on Tuckahoe (9-1) from Section 1.
There are three contests on Saturday’s state title slate, starting with the Class C final sending Falconer (10-2) against Dobbs Ferry (11-0)_at noon. After the Auburn game against Monroe-Woodbury, the Class B title game featuring Geneva (10-2) from Setion 4 against Albany Academy (12-0) from Section 2 will finish off things at 6 p.m.
All five games will have live audio webcasts, which can be found by logging onto or