HOMER — It seemed for awhile Saturday that the Homer Central girls’ lacrosse team was set to run away from visiting Cortland High during their cold, windy and snowy non-league game on Butts Field.
In a contest that had been close through the entire first half, the Trojans finally had some breathing room after an unassisted goal by sophomore midfielder Katlyn Sovocool gave them an 11-7 lead just under seven minutes into the second. The Purple Tigers then roared back with the next three goals to pull within one at 11-10 before junior attack Mattie Riter’s third goal of the game, off an assist from freshman attack/midfielder Kloey Roos, accounted for the final score as the hosts improved to 4-5 on the season with the 12-10 win.
CHS is now 4-6 this spring.
“I think talking during the timeouts both teams called, telling the girls what they needed to do, was important,” Homer co-coach Morgan Seibel said in discussing how her team was able to hold off its rival. “Thing like making sure we take care of the ball and are in the defense we need to be in, shutting off the players we’re supposed to and, if mistakes are made, getting to groundballs.”
“The girls pride themselves on being a team,” said Trojans co-coach Martha Nye. “Everyone’s a scorer, but the girls know how to play as a team, and know how their teammates play. We both (she and Seibel) went to Homer, and that’s the attitude we’ve been instilling in the girls since last year.”
“I thought we were a little flat today,” Cortland coach Kindra Catalano said. “Homer is a quality team and had double the players we had; injuries have come at us hard (with 14 players now available), and in high-intensity games we wear down a little. We have to make smarter plays, and less mistakes. That will be the case in each game we play the rest of the season.”
Cortland opened the scoring, taking its only lead of the contest, 2:14 into the game as sophomore midfielder Hannah Partigianoni converted a pass from senior midfielder Lauren Swartz. Homer then scored the next two goals, junior attack Caraline Riley on an assist by Sovocool 3:05 in before Kloey Roos scored 24 seconds later off a pass from Riter. Swartz tied the score at 2-2 off a free position shot at 20:36.
Homer then scored three of the next four goals. Senior attack Karly Roos converted a free position and, after senior attack Morgan Tabel tied the game at 3-3 off a Partigianoni assist, Riter found the next unassisted twice in 56 seconds to make it 5-3 Trojans 12:48 before halftime. Cortland junior midfielder Grace Call then scored off Partigianoni and, after Homer sophomore midfielder Annika Roos made a solo run after a draw control, Partigianoni assisted on a Call tally with 11:39 left in the first.
Trojans junior attack Madison Sciera scored, assisted by Riley, before the Purple Tigers’ Tabel answered, senior Tsai Lewis with the assist. The hosts then scored two of the next three goals for a 9-7 halftime lead. Kloey Roos scored off a Riter pass and Riter got the helper on a goal by Sciera, sandwiching a goal by Partigianoni off a pass from Call.
Homer scored the first two goals of the second half, Sciera from Kloey Roos 11 seconds in before Sovocool’s goal at 18:06, for its 11-7 lead and apparent control of the game. Cortland then got goals from Lewis (assisted by her sister, junior defender Shyanne Lewis), Tabel unassisted and Swartz from junior midfielder Liz Decker to pull within one again, at 11-10, with 8:59 left.
After a Homer timeout, Riter then closed out the scoring with 6:59 left.
“During the timeout the coaches talked about how to run it,” Riter said of the play that led to the game’s final goal. “Our midfielders are good with the ball; Annika got it to Kloey, and she waited until my defender slid and passed me the ball.
“Cortland’s our rival, so it was a very good matchup, We knew we’d have to put forth our full effort. This team knows how to work together.”
After Riter scored, the Trojans elected to maintain possession instead of taking a shot off a free position with 3:45 left and were able to run out the remaining time in the game.
Riter had three goals and three assists on the day and has 34 goals and 28 assists on the season. She also has 186 career points (106 goals, 80 assists) and moved past Katelyn Gray as the third all-time leading scorer in Homer program history behind Olivia Porter (214-50-264) and Emma Porter (165-98-263).
Sciera scored three goals, giving her nine on the season, while Kloey Roos had two goals (36) and two assists. Riley and Sovocool each had a goal and an assist, giving them nine and seven goals this spring, respectively, while scoring once each were Karly Roos (nine) and Annika Roos (eight).
Partigianoni led Cortland with three goals (for a total of 35 this season) and two assists, Tabel had three goals (16), Swartz two goals (36) and two assists, Call a goal (16) and an assist, Tsai Lewis a goal (13) and an assist and Shyanne Lewis and Decker one assist apiece.
Senior Samantha Button was Homer’s first-half goalie and wasn’t called on to make any saves while freshman Sarah Sovocool stopped four shots in the second half. Sophomore Bella Smith made six saves for the Purple Tigers.
Homer took 26 shots to Cortland’s 16, had a 14-10 edge in draw controls and won 15 of the game’s 28 groundballs. Both teams next play on Tuesday after 5 p.m. JV contests, Homer at Syracuse CBA and Cortland hosting East Syracuse-Minoa.
The Homer JVs improved to 6-2 on the season with a 7-6 win over Cortland. Leeanna Peck had two goals and an assist and Lauren Walling two goals for the Trojans, who got a goal and an assist from Gracie Patriarco, one goal each from Alyssa Wheeler and Jamiee Triolo and three saves from Briann Tinker.
Megan Harrington had two goals an assist to lead Cortland. Margaret Starr had two goals, Gabby Cranfield a goal and an assist and Olivia Magin one goal while Lilly Call and Kayla Swartwood each had an assist. Goalie Hayden Bulger made seven saves.