October 20, 2021

Resilient Trojans hold off Westhill

OHSL Boys’ Lacrosse

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Homer’s Tucker O’Donnell, right, is pressured by Westhill defender Riley McNitt during the first half of the Trojans’ 10-9 win Thursday night.

The Homer Central boys’ varsity lacrosse team came out of the gate fast, but needed some solid defense and goaltending before finally subduing Westhill Thursday night at George Butts Field for Stick It To Cancer Night.

The Trojans wore special green jerseys in their 10-9 OHSL American Division win over the Warriors to improve to 5-1 in division play and 11-1 overall. Westhill drops to 4-1 in the division and 9-4 overall.

Tucker O’Donnell scored three goals and handed out two assists to pace the Homer victory. Dante Yacavone and Lars Roos netted two goals each as the Trojans bounced back from their Tuesday night loss at CBA.

It was Yacavone’s goal with 6:25 remaining that snapped a four goal streak by Westhill as the Warriors had closed to within 9-8. Yacavone’s insurance goal was crucial as Luke McAnaney disrupted a Trojan clearing pass with 14 seconds to go and pop it into the cage for the 10-9 final tally.

“It was great ball movement,” Yacavone said of his winning goal. “We won the faceoff and Dylan (Yacavone) got the ball to me. It was a well-rounded win. Everyone tried their hardest and it was a good bounceback from losing to CBA.

That loss brought us back to reality. It showed us we can lose and it did refocus us. I think it will help us in the long run. It makes us to want to try that much harder from here on out.”

“We just beat a very good team,” Homer coach Tom Cottrell said. “We got off to a great start. The kids were disappointed in their performance the other night and came out ready to go tonight. Westhill is a very good team, they are a C school so we could see them down the road in the playoffs. We did give them a cheap one at the end with the clearing mistake. I thought the kids played really well overall and had control for much of the game.”

Winning three of the last four games in which the outcomes were closer, starting with the Baldwinsville game, will prove helpful as the games will be tighter in the post-season.

“That is way we build these schedule this way,” Cottrell said. “We want to be battletested before the playoffs begin. These are the types of wins you do have to gut out in the end to preserve a win or to come from behind to tie a game up.”

Mike Turck was tested in the Trojan goal and made 15 saves under some heavy pressure as Westhill held a 39-30 edge in shots. Both teams won 25 ground balls and 11 faceoffs.

Tucker O’Donnell helped the Trojans race to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. After Justin Wainwright put Homer in front 1-0 at the 10:21 mark of the first quarter, O’Donnell assisted on goals by Lars Roos and Dylan Yacavone. O’Donnell found thecage with 6:32 remaining in the quarter for the 4-0 cushion.

“He was the quarterback in the fall and he is the quarterback in the spring for us,” Cottrell said of O’Donnell. “Our offense runs through him. He makes fantastic decisions and today he provided a spark and led by example.

“Mike is going to be frustrated with that goal at the end, but it shouldn’t overshadow that he was very solid for us tonight. He set the tone defensively early with some big saves.”

Westhill cut the Homer lead to 7-4 by halftime, but Dante Yacavone and Vinny Basile pushed the Trojan advantage to 9-4 with 5:42 left in the third quarter.

From the 5:03 mark of the third quarter to 9:02 remaining in the game, the Warriors went on a four goal run to pull to within 9-8. Charlie Bolesh and Jack Grooms got the first two goals as the Warriors trailed 9-6 after three quarters.

Will McAnaney found the cage twice in 54 seconds early in the fourth quarter as the Trojan lead shrunk to 9-8 before Dante Yacavone’s clinching goal. McAnaney finished with five goals in the game. Bolesh (one assist), Mack Etoll, Will Delano and Grooms scored one goal each. Liam Felter made nine saves in the Warriors’ goal.

The Homer JVs was clicking from the start and posted a 15-9 win over Westhill in Butts Field Thursday. The Junior Trojans improved to 9-2 on the season with the victory.

The Trojans jumped to a 5-2 lead in the first quarter and built their advantage to 9-4 at halftime. Homer maintained its momentum in the second half.

“We had a lot of guys contribute to the win,” Homer coach Nick Patriarco said. “Eleven of our 15 goals were assisted and eight different players scored. I’m very pleased with the way the guys are responding to situations encountered during the game.”

Jake Calabro led the Homer assault with four goals and three assists. Dante Patriarco chipped in with three goals and two assist while Connor Matthews and Nate Evan had two goals each. Josh Lee had one goal and one assist as did Mikyle Franklin, Ben Morenus and Dom Tutino. Luke Pallone and Matt McUmber each handed out one assist. Colin Perks recorded seven saves in the Homer goal with Joe Morgan making three saves.

Griffin Grooms netted four goals and one assist to lead Westhill. James Schneider added two goals and one assists. Luke Gilmartin added two goals and Jack Mooney collected one goal. Aidan Felter recorded six saves for Westhill and Cole Schoonmaker stopped three shots in the Warrior goal.

Homer will hit the road for a non-league game at Vestal Saturday starting at 2 p.m. The JV game will follow at 4 p.m.