November 28, 2021

Trojans romp past Purple Tigers

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland’s Nick Litzenberger, left, attempts to get around Homer’s John Denkenberger in the first quarter of the Trojans’ 15-4 win Thursday night.

It wasn’t close as Homer Central and Cortland High met on George Butts Field Thursday night in non-league boys’ lacrosse action.

Trojan senior captain Dante Yacavone and classmate Vincent Basile each scored four goals and had one assist as Homer raced to a 13-0 halftime lead before settling for a 15-4 victory. Homer is 2-0 this season while Cortland dropped its season opener.

“It has been a good start,” Basile said. “We always want to come out strong against Cortland because it is our cross-town rival. Everyone was excited about the game and we came out well.”

“We are off to a good start,” Homer coach Tom Cottrell said. “We are scoring a bunch of goals, which is fantastic.”

Lars Roos gave Homer a 2-0 lead with unassisted goals at the 8:39 and 4:26 marks of the first quarter. The quick-strike Trojan offense added three more goals in a 54 second span for a 5-0 cushion. Yacavone, Basile and Justin Wainwright found the cage with Wainwright assisting Yacavone’s tally. Basile scored twice more in the final 2:28 of the quarter for the 7-0 advantage. Tucker O’Donnell assisted the last Basile goal.

In the second quarter, Wainwright scored in just 14 seconds. Dylan Yacavone scored off an assist from his older brother before Dante Yacavone netted three more goals. The 13th goal came with 1.4 seconds left as Jacob Morenus converted a Stephen Walter pass.

The second half, played with running time, was much more even. O’Donnell and Basile had third-quarter goals for the Trojans.

“We have a lot of starters back on offense and defense,” Basile said. “We have a lot of offensive firepower with Lars, Dante and Tucker. They are great shooters and I like getting the ball to them.”

“We have built a lot of chemistry over the years,” Dante Yacavone said. “We are really excited about our senior year. Tucker, Vin, Lars and me are excited about being out there and trying to win a sectional title this year. It’s been heartbreaking coming out short the last two years. We have high expectations for this year.”

“Coach (Mark Ferrito) does a real good job of getting the offense to share the ball,” Cottrell said. “The kids have bought into that and have been doing a good job. Dante and Vinny are a handful for anyone. With those two directing the offense and taking what the defense gives them, they get a lot of people involved around them. We like where we are on offense, but we can still get better.”

Nick Litzenberger scored the first Cortland goal of the third quarter with 5:01 remaining. Rory Hines connected with 1:39 left in the quarter. Logan McGee assisted on both goals.

The Purple Tigers got the only two fourth-quarter tallies, both off the stick of Alex Myers. Andrew McCormick assisted on the second goal, with two seconds to go. All four Cortland goals were man-up goals.

“All four goals given up were against our man-down defense, so it’s not too hard to figure out that if we stay out of the penalty box, we do a pretty good job defensively,” Cottrell said. “Hopefully the guys will figure that out.”

“The second half was much better than the first,” first-year Cortland head coach Sean Mack said of his return to his alma mater. “We didn’t play with a lot of energy in the second quarter and we got down on ourselves. We were able to turn it around in the second half. We hustled after ground balls, the communication was better and we have something we can build on for the future.

“We know Homer is a very strong team. Anything short of a sectional title and moving along in states will be a disappointment for them. We are in a building process. We have some talent, but a lot of that is inexperienced. We tried to slow things down by moving the ball around and limiting their possessions. We didn’t do that as effectively as expected.”

Homer held the advantage in shots (37-13) and groundballs (29-22). The Trojans won 14-of-21 faceoffs with John Denkenberger and Andrew Van Patten. Goalie Mike Turck made four saves for the Trojans in 44 minutes of play and Lucas Sweeten recorded one save the rest of the way. Kirk Case had five saves for Cortland in the first half and Ben Pallone made two saves for the Purple Tigers in the second half.

Homer will open its OHSL American Division season Wednesday by hosting Bishop Ludden/Bishop Grimes/Onondaga after the 5 p.m. JV contest against Syracuse East. The Trojan JVs will also play Tuesday in a game at 5 p.m. against Auburn.

Cortland will begin SCAC Empire Division play Tuesday against visiting Fulton in a 7 p.m. start.

The Homer JVs improved to 2-0 on the season Thursday with 9-4 victory over Cortland.

After the teams played to a 2-2 tie in the first quarter, the Trojans scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter for a 7-2 halftime lead. Each team scored once in the third quarter and once in the fourth quarter.

Dante Patriarco with lead the Homer attack with five goals. Connor Matthews and and Jake Calabro each scored one goal and dished out one assist, Sam Bradshaw and Mikyle Franklin had one goal each for the Trojans and Ben Morenus handed out two assists. Colin Perks made nine saves in the Homer goal and Joe Morgan recorded two saves.

Owen Riley and Benjamin Hay each scored two goals for Cortland (0-1). Colin Williams and Cody Benner had one assist each.

Koby Davis made eight saves for the Purple Tigers while Tyler Gavitt saw time in net but didn’t have any saves.