HOMER — After a little bit of a slow start, the Homer Central girls varsity lacrosse team found a higher gear to cruise to an easy 20-9 win over Cazenovia in Section 3 Class D first round action Saturday on George Butts Field.
The seventh seeded Trojans (9-8 overall) trailed 3-1 after the first 14 minutes before running off seven unanswered goals to build an 8-3 halftime cushion. Homer continued to play strong defensively and offensively. 10th seed Cazenovia (4-13) closed to within 15-9 with 10 minutes to play in the game, but Homer netted the final five goals to coast into the quarterfinal round for the second straight year. The Trojans will travel to second seed South Jefferson (11-5) Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest.
While Mattie Riter and Caraline Riley led Homer with four goals and two assist each, it was the play of freshman goalkeeper Sarah Sovocool who made some big saves while the game was still close, including nine of her 12 saves coming in the second half.
“We played really hard,” Sovocool said. “We had a few down times, but we played really well. Everyone shoots harder at the varsity level and that puts more pressure on me to get better. Today it was just a matter of concentrating more so we would win the game.”
“We ask a lot of our goalies,” Homer coach Morgan Seibel said. “They stand there and we throw balls at them. Both Sarah and Sam (Button) make sure they are in the right position and that they are communicating with their defense. I think sectionals bring out a different side of everybody. We see a better version of ourselves in games like this. We are all competing to win because, if we don’t, we go home. Sarah, and everyone else, was more focused and we saw a more determined side of everyone.”
After Molly Brown netted three straight goals to give Cazenovia that 3-1 lead, Riter and Riley went to work. Riter pulled Homer to within 3-2 with 9:39 left in the first half and Riley tied the game at 3-3 four minutes later off free position restarts. Just 17 seconds after tying the game, Riley out Homer in front for good off an assist from Annika Roos. Elisabeth Evans, Riley, Riter and Katie Sovocool helped the Trojans build the 8-3 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Katie Sovocool, Riley, Madison Sciera, Karly Roos, Annika Roos, Riter and Kloey Roos took turns finding the back of the cage as Homer continued to remain in control. Katie Sovocool and Karly Roos finished the day with three goals each. Kloey Roos had two goals with Mackayla MacDowall, Annika Roos (one assist), Evans and Sciera (three assists) each netting one goal. Samantha Button stepped in goal for the final three minutes of the game for Homer and was not tested.
“We went out on the field and executed,” Riter said. “We tried our hardest. They are a good team and they were good competition for us. It was nice to get a home field win in sectionals. It’s nice to go on, but we now have to work hard in practice for that next game.”
“Our girls did a great job,” Homer coach Martha Riley said. “They did everything we asked of them. They started calling plays on their own which is something we have been trying to get them to do all season. As the gained confidence, they were running plays they know would work. They did an awesome job and we had so many girls score today.
Brown had four goals for Cazenovia. Molly Schwartz and Grace Rajkowski collected two goals each for the Lakers with one goal from Charley Harris and two assists from Kaitlyn Puffer. Mackenzie Halliday made three saves in goal for Cazenovia.