December 19, 2006


Homer topples feisty CHS


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central’s Shannan Keefe (8) and Katie Wick (6) attempt to block a spike during Monday’s four-game victory over visiting Cortland High.

Staff Writer

For the first time this season, Homer Central girls’ took the floor after a volleyball loss. That was a concern for head coach Brian Fox as the Trojans were set to host neighboring rival Cortland High Monday.
At the same time, Purple Tiger coach Mary Lou Bordwell needed to shake things up after a loss to Chittenango this past Friday so she moved Kim Natoli to another position get better passing and gave Lisa Pisa a starting nod in Natoli’s old position. Both girls responded to their new starting roles as the match progressed.
Both coaches would be pleased with how their teams responded, though it would be the Trojans regaining their winning touch with a hard-fought 27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-23 OHSL Freedom Division win.
Homer improved to 5-1 in the division and 6-1 overall, while Cortland slips to 2-5 in league and overall play.
“It was hard to judge how the girls would come into the match tonight after the loss to Mexico,” said Fox. “We played Mexico tough, but lost. My biggest fear was that we would not play up to par. We did enough of the right things to get the win tonight.
“Cortland had great team balance in this match,” he added. “I don’t think we were ready for what they brought us. We were ready for what Cortland had done in the friendship scrimmage we played in after Thanksgiving. We knew what they would run, but their personnel was different. It was a good change in personnel for them. It took us until the end of the second game for us to adapt to those changes. That was a little longer than I had hoped, but that was because we did not play within our own system.”
THE FIRST GAME swung back and forth with each team showing some nervousness. Behind the solid hitting of Katie Wick and Jen Warren and a service ace by Mary Phelps, the Trojans build a 10-5 lead. After back-to-back killer spikes by Wick (20 kills, 15 digs), Homer seemed in control at 18-12, but Cortland began to claw their way back.
A big point-block by Brittany Babcock (seven kills, two blocks, two aces) helped Cortland climb back to within 20-17, the two teams traded points as Homer maintained a 23-19 advantage before losing serve at 23-20.
Kaitlyn Glover (four kills) put the next three serves in play and Natoli (five kills, three aces) added a key kill as the Purple Tigers tied the game at 23-23.
With the scored tied 25-25, Wick delivered another kill to give her team the lead and Shannan Keefe finished the game with a huge ace to the 27-25 win.
Riding the momentum of the big comeback in the first game, Cortland came out for game two with renewed confidence. Two kills by Natoli, one by Babcock, some missed communications by the Trojans and an ace by Pisa (eight assists) allowed the Purple Tigers to race to a 7-1 lead.
The Trojans closed the gap to 12-10, but the Purple Tigers got the serve back on a Trojan miscue. Babcock served up an ace for the next point as Cortland used a seven-point run to rebuild a 19-10 cushion.
Cortland stayed in control and took the second game 25-20, evening the match at one game apiece.
 “We had a lot of communication lapses in the second game and we had some trust issues,” said Fox. “We have talked all year about trusting each other. Once we started to regain that trust. We began to take some control back in the match.”
GAME THREE MIRRORED the first game, but it was Cortland holding a slim lead. The game was tied 10 times before Natoli delivered a kill for an 11-10 Purple Tiger led. Natoli then made a nice diving dig to keep the play alive as the Purple Tigers scored another point for a 12-10 edge. Cortland kept the momentum and Natoli would soon serve-up an ace for the biggest lead by either team in the game at 15-11.
A diving dig by Mary Phelps (19 digs) helped Homer close to within 15-13. A spike by Warren (10 digs, eight kills, seven aces) pulled Homer to within 15-16 and a Cortland miscue knotted the score 16-16.
It was the Trojans’ turn for mistakes and Cortland capitalized to retake a 19-16 lead, but it took another kill by Wick and a Warren service ace before Homer tied the game at 20-20. The Trojans finally took the lead at 22-21 on a Keefe ace. A net-ball by Cortland and a kill by Wick put Homer on top 24-21 before the Trojans prevailed 25-22.
Through three games, the team that scored the first point in each game had not won, so things did not look good for Cortland as the Purple Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the forth game, but they were also on the side of the court where the winning team had been each of those previous three games.
Again, things remained close through the opening points before a Keefe point-block gave Homer a 7-6 lead. That was enough to allow Homer some breathing room. With a 9-7 advantage after another big diving save by Phelps allowed Homer to regain the serve. Warren served up three more aces, Wick worked in another kill during a nice run as the Trojans lead grew to 14-7.
The teams traded some miscues and Homer built its advantage to 21-14, Cortland fought back one last time. Glover dropped in a nice passing shot for a winner to spark a big Purple Tiger run.
Mis-hits and another Glover kill closed the Trojan lead to with 21-19 and another mis-hit narrowed the margin to 21-20 before Warren found a seam and banged home crucial hit for the Trojans.
HOMER CLIMBED to within match point at 24-21 on a Keefe kill, miscommunication by the Trojan side of the net got the serve back for Cortland at 24-22. Natoli delivered her final kill of the night as Cortland was within 24-23, but Homer went to its power hitter and a big closing spike by Wick gave Homer the game win 25-23 and the match win, three games to one.
Despite the loss, Bordwell was pleased overall with her team’s effort.
“We had a new offense, a new defense and two girls (Natoli and Pisa) paying new positions,” said Bordwell. “I was happy with how our team played tonight. This was a much better match than we played the other night, so I am happy. Once we get more comfortable with t he changes, I think things will continue to improve.”
McKenna Riley had a solid game for Homer with 29 assists while Kaitlyn Anderson added four kills to the Cortland attack.
Cortland High will return to action after Christmas will tournament action at the Solvay Tournament on Dec. 28. Homer will battle Fulton in its next match Thursday.
CORTLAND JVs won the opening match over Homer by scores of 25-15, 25-21.
The Purple Tigers played with teamwork and great defense. Post-game praise went to Alexa Barker, Casey Marks and Josie Roberts.
Danielle Reygers had five assists and two blocks for Homer. Alexis Brown added four aces and three kills. Natalie Bush recorded two aces and two kills while Cady Spencer had two digs.


Honors pile up for Haas

SUNY Cortland senior defensive tackle Adam Haas has been chosen as a football All-American by three different organizations for the 2006 season.
Haas was selected to the Associated Press Little All-America third team and was a first team honoree by both the American Football Coaches Association and
The AP team features players from the NCAA Division II and III levels as well as the NAIA ranks.
Haas was also named the East Region Co-Defensive Player of the Year by and was one of five Cortland players named to their All-East squad. Senior safety Stef Sair joined Haas on the all-region first team. Senior linebacker Matt Montpetit was on the second team, and senior punter Jimmy Cunneen and junior kicker Matthew Mintz were on the third team.
Haas is a repeat selection as an All-American and regional Defensive Player of the Year by
The East Aurora native, who played for St. Francis School, is Cortland’s first AP Little All-American since running back Dave Cook earned honorable mention status in 1983. He is the sixth Red Dragon to earn AFCA All-America honors. Cortland’s last AFCA All-American was offensive guard Brian McAvan in 1997.
The 6-foot, 260-pound Haas led Cortland with 71 tackles, including 40 solo stops. He also led the squad with 15.5 tackles for lost yardage, including 7.5 sacks. By virtue of his AFCA honor, he was selected to compete in the Aztec Bowl this past Saturday in Mexico and made three tackles as the U.S. defeated a Mexican all-star team, 28-7.
Haas was also one of 10 finalists for the national Division III player of the year Gagliardi Trophy.
Sair made 54 tackles, 33 solo, in 11 games. A defensive presence who many times forced opponents to avoid throwing the ball in his direction, Sair intercepted one pass, broke up nine others and made 3.5 tackles for losses. He was a four-year starter and is Cortland’s career leader with 13 interceptions.
Montpetit finished with 64 tackles, 12.5 for lost yardage, despite missing one game due to injury. He recorded six sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. A four-year starter and two-time team captain, Montpetit finished his career with 297 tackles, five interceptions, eight forced fumbles and 12 pass breakups.
Cunneen averaged 37.0 yards per punt this season. A two-year starter who previously played at Nassau Community College, Cunneen pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 19 times this fall compared to only five touchbacks.
Mintz made 12-of-17 field goal attempts, tying a school single-season record for field goals made. He made all three of his field goal attempts, including the game-winning 40-yarder in overtime, in a 23-20 victory over Ithaca. Mintz was also a perfect 35-of-35 in point-after kicks and has made 44 straight PAT tries dating back to the 2005 season.
Cortland finished the season with a 9-2 record. Denied an NCAA tournament at-large berth, the Red Dragons earned a spot in the ECAC Division III Northeast Bowl for the program’s 12th postseason appearance.



Trojans hand out honors to fall’s finest on the field

Staff Writer

With all the post-season banquets finished, Homer Central School announced its fall student-athletes awards winners. Each sport held its own season-ending banquet this year where the announcements of Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player honorees for each sport.
The team members did most of the voting for the major awards.
Following are the Most Valuable Players and Most Improved Players for each varsity sport, plus any other special awards, with coaches’ comments on the MVP honorees:
* * * *
MVP: Mark Brenchley
MIP: Talon Sprouse & Joe Riley
Lineman of the Year: Zach Morgan
Mr. Offense: Mark Brenchley
Mr. Defense: Jon Morrison
Stephen Chrysler Coaches Award: Mike DiOrio
Bryan Czarnecki Award: Tristan Hartnett
Coach Gary Podsiedlik on Brenchley: “Mark has been a coach’s dream. His is everything that is right about high school football. Mark’s hard work, sincere team attitude, focused effort and willingness to trust his teammates were all huge in his becoming a tremendous player and respected leader. Mark proved to his fellow student-athletes that your will is far more important than your skill.”
Benchley led the Trojans in rushing (1,832 yards-second best in school history), touchdowns (22, tying the school record for a single season), scoring (132 points), kick return yards (432), punt return yards (173), quarterback sacks (8.8) and blocked one field goal attempt. He set a school record for touchdowns scored in one game (6 vs. Marcellus), posted the top-three best single-game rushing records in school history (410 vs. Marcellus, 322 vs. Solvay, 300 vs. Jordan Elbridge), finished fifth on the all-time career rushing list (2,118 yards).
* * * *
MVP: Joe May
MIP: Erich Lindhorst
Coach Dave Shiffman on May: “Joe was an excellent captain. He really kept the team focused and playing hard. Joe has good size, strength and quickness in goal and he really made some great saves. Joe’s leadership was very valuable to this team.”
May finished the 2006 season with a goals-against average of 1.97 with 129 saves, five shutouts and 30 goals allowed in 1,218 minutes played.
* * * *
MVP: none selected
MIP: Maureen DeAngles
* * * *
MVP: Ashley Brown, Jenae Griffith
MIP: Rachel Nachtrieb
Coach Kate Smith on Brown: “Ashley was very versatile in position playing. We switched our formation about halfway through the season and she played inside forward, wing and, at times, midfield.”
Coach Smith on Griffith: “Jenae was someone who, when you got her the ball, she would carry it 40-50 yards, dodging everyone on the way and would send beautiful crosses for other forwards to deflect into the goal.”
Coach Smith on her co-MVPs: “They each scored the most goals and had the most assists on the team.  They both moved the ball well with good speed and eye for the ball. They were both key players in our corner plays, they are very dependable, never missing practices and are great athletes all around.”
Brown and Griffith shared high-scoring honors on the team with 14 points each. Brown scored a team-high 12 goals with two assists. Griffith scored eight goals and also led the team in assists with six.
* * * *
MVP: Ryan Sullivan
MIP: Ross Pouliot
Coach Jim Baldwin on Sullivan: “Ryan excelled all year for us and turned in some great performances. He worked really hard and was a great team leader for the boys. He ran cross country for many years and it will be difficult to replace his dedication and sense of humor next year.”
* * * *
MVP: Heather Wilson, Laura Niederhofer
MIP: Caitlyn Baldassarre
Coach Baldwin on Wilson: “Heather had another great season even though she may not consider it one. She missed the State meet because she was sick during Sectionals, but her hard work and example of leadership shown through as she was one of our MVP.”
Coach Baldwin on Niederhofer: “Laura improved more than any other girl this year in my opinion. She worked really hard and consistently dropped times not only at meets but at practices as well. The coaching staff expects a lot of her next year. She has the potential of being a state meet caliber runner and represents the key to our girls team.”
* * * *
MVP: Molly Warren
MIP: Emily Martin
Coach Nancy Cavellier on Warren: “Molly has been such an asset for Homer Varsity Tennis both on and off the courts over all her six years. No matter whose life she touches, she’s respectful and considerate proving to be an outstanding captain. At the same time while on the court she’s got fire in her eyes determined to win the point and accomplish what’s best for the team. She has been selected for first and second all-star teams, won first-place ribbons in our league tournaments and qualified for sectionals the last several years. Her hard work and training off season has paid off. Molly represents Blue Pride in all aspects and will truly be missed.”
* * * *
MVP: none selected
MIP: Nick Saraceno
* * * *
MVP: Rachel Raymond
MIP: Carolina Rende