Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s Marton Tozser (9), left, and Cortland High’s Anthony Stevens (8) battle for posession in the first half Saturday at Moiseichik Field.
It was their final game ever against rival Cortland High, so seniors Marton Tozser and Scott Maus wanted to make sure they went out on top with the Homer Central boys’ soccer team.
Tozser, a midfielder, scored two goals and assisted on two others and Maus, a forward, also scored twice on a damp, misty day as the Trojans rolled to a 5-1 non-league win on Cortland’s Moiseichik Field.
“I’m really happy,” said Tozser, who leads Homer with nine goals, eight assists and 26 points. “It’s a great feeling to do well against Cortland, extra good because it was a great game for us. (The seniors) want to close out against them like that.”
“It is a good feeling,” Maus said after upping his seasons’ goal total to eight, second only to Tozser (who assisted on both of his goals) among the Trojans. “I got good passes from Marton in our last time here. It’s good to beat (Cortland) on their home turf.”
Homer, now 7-5-1 overall, won the OHSL Freedom National league game between the two teams 3-0 on Butts Field back on Sept. 22, bit that result had little or no bearing on Saturday’s game, according to the winners’ two standouts.
“It’s always going to be a physical game,” Maus said. “You just try your best to beat your rival, no matter what.”
“We were pretty confident, but no matter what it’s going to be tough against Cortland,” Tozser said, “no matter what the difference is between the two teams’ records.”
The Purple Tigers fell to 2-12 overall with the Senior Day loss.
THE WINNERS LED 2-0 at halftime.
Tozser opened the scoring by converting a penalty kick 7:14 into the game after a foul in the box, sending a hard shot low to the left of diving Cortland sophomore goalie Josh Henry. Maus took a pass from Tozser, went down the center and scored from about 10 yards out with 16:03 remaining before intermission.
“We’ve had some weak moments in a number of games,” Homer coach Dick O’Shea said. “I told the team that they had to stay focused for 80 minutes and not let down, because Cortlandhas risen to the occasion and challenged a number of teams this year. I was happy to see my boys get their focus back.
“We played 0-0 through the first half of the first gam between us this year. We wanted to come out strong, especially considering the weather.”
“Homer played a great game,” Cortland coach Brian Rozewski said. “But this team never gave up. They’ve worked hard all year, and I’m proud of them. It’s was a hard fought game. It’s hard to start with a penalty kick.”
Homer pretty much dominated the first half, and Henry helped keep his team within striking distance. He came out and deflected a shot from 15 yards out by Maus with his arm and hand with 11:15 left and made a kick save on a close-range shot from a cluster of players a minute later.
The Purple Tigers’ best first-half chance had come when sophomore forward Chris Tanner sent a blast from 15 yards out on the left side just over the crossbar with 23:15 left.
THE HOSTS CAME out strong to start the second half, junior goalie Cody Wagner forced to tip a shot over the crossbar just 3:15 in. The pressure paid off when Tanner scored his team-high sixth goal of the season from around 15 yards out on the near left side 7:50 into the second half off an assist from junior defender Kyle Behrenfeld.
Tozser reestablished the visitors’ two-goal lead with 26:46 left, taking a cross from junior forward Julian Ponirakis and finding the lower right corner of the net from 10 yards out in the center of the field. Maus then took a feed from Tozser, went down the right side, cut in and hit the near corner with 11:30 left.
Sophomore midfielder Ben Herman closed out the scoring for the winners with 3:19 left, controlling a loose ball after Henry came out on a shot from senior midfielder Sebastian Illanes, and hitting the back of the net for the first time this fall.
Homer finished with a 22-6 shot advantage and got five saves from Wagner while Henry stopped 11 shots.
“We have a strong senior class,” O’Shea said. “Cortland will be a real challenge next year. It’s always an ebb and flow; we’ll try to get ready.”
As noted, it was Cortland’s Senior Day, with the team’s upperclassmen honored, along with their families, in halftime ceremonies. This year’s Purple Tiger seniors are twin midfielders Nick and Mike Anecelle, forward Austen Gardner, defender Anthony Stevens, midfielder Will Pace, midfielder Zach Osbeck, midfielder Dade Hughston and defender Cameron Aldrich.
Both teams are back in league action with 76:30 p.m. road games Tuesday, Cortland at Central Square and Homer at East Syracuse-Minoa. Both are preceded by 4:30 p.m. JV games.
CORTLAND JVs beat Homer 7-2 Saturday to improve to 7-3-3 as Nick Litzenberger scored twice and five players — Grayson Jones, Zach Stevens, Martin Monroe, Ethan Myers and Adam Jubran — had one goal each. The winners had an 18-9 shot advantage and got six saves, including a penalty kick, from Trevor Jubran and the saves from Adam Jubran over the last 15 minutes.
Purple Tigers coach Luke Schweider cited Mark Foster for his defensive performance and Trevor Jubran in goal.
Dominic Tutino had both goals for Homer, now 2-11-1.