CORTLAND — The West Genesee Wildcats girls’ soccer team sure didn’t play like a team that had suffered three blowout losses to begin their season.
Saturday morning was their turn to hang a crooked number on the opposition, as the Cortland Purple Tigers fell victim to a seven-goal first half onslaught and a 7-2 final score at Cortland High.
Marlee Pontello scored a hat trick for the Wildcats, while Eva Poissant had a brace and Giovanna Vigliotti and Sarah Petrus each chipped in one goal.
Cortland’s goals came from Mallory Turner in the 29th minute and Soleil Gutchess in the 67th, the latter tally coming off a blast from 30 yards out.
West Genesee (1-3) scored two goals in the first four minutes, thanks to Pontello and an easy lob from 25 yards by Poissant.
The next three Wildcat goals came on unfortunate bounces for the Tigers. In the 16th minute, Petrus scored on a header from the edge of the 6-yard box after an initial shot hit underneath the crossbar and out.
In the 21st minute, Poissant cleaned up a loose ball from behind Cortland goalie Lauren Mott (13 saves) after she made the initial stop.
In the 28th minute, Pontello scored her second goal directly off a corner kick after the ball glanced off the outstretched hand of Mott.
Pontello completed her hat trick in the 33rd minute and Vigliotti wrapped up the scoring for the Wildcats a minute later.
Despite the two difficult losses to begin the season, Cortland head coach Ilona Ryan continues to see positive development from her players.
“While the total score does not reflect the true improvement Cortland made in the second half, the team and coaches took notice of the sheer determination and solid teamwork,” she said. “To start off the game we had some players step into new positions on the field and they did a fantastic job. Caleigh Chase stepped into center back and Bryanna Aldrich took on the outside back position. Lilly Call earned her first varsity start in the center mid with her aggressiveness and good vision on the field.”
While the game was well in hand before the halftime whistle was blown, there was still 40 minutes of soccer left to be played, and Ryon believed her players made the most of them.
“In the second half, [we] maintained better possession and moved the ball as one unit,” she said. “Alex Gier and Caleigh Chase did a nice job stepping to the ball sooner in the second half which helped us break up WG’s attack and start our counterattack. Hannah Partigianoni had some great overlapping runs and connection with our center mids to help move the ball up the sideline. In the outside mid position, Maddie Constantino was sprinting down every ball that she could.”
Cortland (0-2) plays their next game Wednesday at 5 p.m. at home against Jamesville-Dewitt.
HOMER BOYS’ SOCCER TEAM FALLS TO CBA
The Homer Trojans also took one on the chin over the weekend, dropping an 8-1 decision to Christian Brothers Academy.
Junior Gavin Linton was the lone goal scorer for the Trojans. Benito Vlassis led the charge for CBA with a hat trick and two assists.
CBA took nine corner kicks to Homer’s two, and controlled 59 per cent of the possession.
Brayden Fox made 10 saves for the Trojans, who next play at home Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Chittenango.
CORTLAND BOYS SECOND IN CROSS COUNTRY
The Purple Tigers finished second in the Tully mini invite Saturday.
Jared Valentin finished second overall, Joe Cataldo finished seventh and Asa Terwilliger finished 10th.
Luca Canzano and Joe Banewicz’s finishes helped the Purple Tigers edge CBA by 3 points.