The Purple Tigers improved to 3-0 in the OHSL Freedom National Division and 4-0 overall with a win the Trojans (1-2, 1-4) made them work for.
“It’s really exciting to start the season 4-0,” CHS coach Kindra Catalano said. “But it’s early in the season, and this league is always challenging. We need to take each game as it comes and hopefully continue on this path of success.”
“I’m so proud of this team,” Homer coach Heather Casey said. “They fought so hard and so well. This groups clicks well; they help each other out. I’ve known that they had that fight in them; they just needed to see it in themselves and find it, and I think they did tonight.”
That started happening early in the game, as the visitors netted three goals in a row after Cortland eighth-grade midfielder Hannah Partigianoni opened the scoring 1:14 in off an assist from senior midfielder Margaret Reagan. Trojans junior midfielder Deede Partigianoni (Hannah’s cousin) equalized off a free position 3:26 in, and junior attack Molly Burhans converted a pass from eighth-grade midfielder Katlyn Sovocool to give the visitors the lead at 16:40. Freshman attack Mattie Riter made it 3-1 unassisted with 11:30 left in the half before the Purple Tigers stormed back with five straight goals to take a 6-3 lead into halftime.
After Hannah Partigianoni scored her second goal of the game off another free position 8:13 before intermission, sophomore midfielder Lauren Swartz scored two of the next three goals, sandwiched around a score by senior midfielder Logan Chase. Freshman midfielder Grace Call then found the net three seconds before halftime to give Cortland a 6-3 lead at the break.
“I told the girls at halftime to just approach it one goal at a time,” Casey said, “and that if they took care of the little things — groundballs, draws, defense — the big things would come after.”
There were memorial and fund-raising activities in conjunction with the game.
“We were a little overwhelmed by everything that was put together,” said Catalano, whose players solicited pledges for each goal scored. “We got a little stale and weren’t moving the ball as well as we have.
“There were a lot of whistles for eight-meter shots (free position), which was good for us, but a little more movement off the ball would have been nice.”
Homer pulled to within 6-5 with the first two goals of the second half, by junior attack Molly Burhans (15:15) and sophomore midfielder Karly Roos (12:11), assisted by Deede Partigianoni.
The teams then alternated scoring twice. Reagan scored off a free position at 11:09 before Riter made it a 7-6 game by putting home a rebound off a free position at 10:07.
Goals by Chase at 8:49 and Deede Partigianoni at 6:01 made it an 8-7 game in favor of Cortland, which finally got some breathing room when Hannah Partigianoni scored her third goal of the game off a free position with 2:51 left and Chase clinched it with her third, on a spin move from the left side, with 1:42 left.A final free position goal, by Homer freshman midfielder Allison Natale with 32 seconds left, closed out the scoring.
“We work hard to put each other in great places to score,” Chase said of her team’s success. “We worked together well. Homer is definitely one of the strongest teams we’ve played so far. We all play together in the off-season, so we know how each other play. We always expect this game to be tough. We hadn’t beaten them in awhile, and it’s nice to be able to do that.”
Both goalies made some sparkling saves, on free position and point-blank shots. Cortland senior Paige Potter stopped 11 shots while Homer junior Katie Lawrence was credited with five saves, her team with a 20-18 shot advantage.
As noted, the game was not the sole activity going on at Moiseichick Field Thursday. It was played in memory of former Cortland player Alexis Porter, who lost her life in an automobile accident two years ago. Each player on both teams was presented a rose in pre-game ceremonies by Alexis’s mother, Julie Porter, and Catalano. Each player also got a navy headband with a green “24” in honor of Alexis Porter. In addition, money was raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Autism Awareness and One Love Foundation (violence prevention).
Cortland’s next game is Tuesday at Auburn starting a 2 p.m., while Homer hosts Jamesville-DeWitt this Thursday at noon.
HOMER WON THE JV GAME 11-9 as Elisabeth Evans had three goals and an assist and Taylor Netti also scored three goals. Madi Sciera and Caraline Riley each scored twice and Annika Roos had one goal. Goalie Samantha Button made four saves while Makayla Miller also saw time in goal and stopped one shot.
“The girls played very well as a team on both ends of the field,” Trojans coach Geoff Sorenson said. “Our defense of Molly Grassie, Reagan O’Donnell, Elle Fellows, Celine Wang and Meagan Tyler continues to be very stingy in allowing good shots on goal.”