CORTLAND — The Cortland
Purple Tigers boys and girls soccer teams were among the few who actually got to play their fall 2020 season while navigating the murky waters of COVID testing, masks during games, few or no spectators and, ultimately, some harsh defeats.
With an 0-7 season in the rear view mirror for the girls and a 1-5 season behind the boys, the Purple Tigers squads hope to get on the winning track with a hopeful return to normalcy this fall.
Ilona Ryon leads the Purple Tigers girls into her seventh season as head coach with a record of 49-34-3. While Hannah Parigianoni, Maddie Constantino and Bryanna Aldrich graduated, they return a strong group of players on whom Ryon heaps universal praise: senior midfielder Soleil Gutchess (“powerful long range shots, speed, leads by example,” Ryon said); senior center back Maia Quick (“extremely fast and technical defender, our voice in the back”); senior midfielder Ella Quick (“excellent speed and endurance, has great crosses and finishing”); senior back Caleigh Chase (“great serves out of the back, hard worker, team leader”); senior back Alex Gier (“physical and technical defender capable of playing long balls with accuracy”); Junior midfielder Lilly Call (“physical and fast midfielder with good vision”); junior midfielder Mallory Turner (“good endurance, defending and finishing crosses”); sophomore back Val Gambitta (“great speed, agility and power, also capable of finishing up top”); sophomore goalie Lauren Mott (“vocal leader in the back, great work ethic”); sophomore forward Karamia Montalvo (“aggressive and fast”); and sophomore forward Claire Turner (“aggressive and powerful shot”).
The Purple Tigers, however, will be without Kirsten Merritt for the season, as the senior suffered a season-ending injury.
“Our team is very excited to return to a more normal season this fall,” Ryon said. “Last season Maia was our MVP with her countless sprints to deny opportunities for the opponents. Soleil was our leading goal scorer last season and Ella created numerous opportunities for us to score with her speed and one-on-one moves. We’re hoping to finish more of those opportunities this year.”
Thu., Sept. 2, 4 p.m.: @ Homer
Fri., Sept. 3, 11 a.m.: vs. Auburn
Tue., Sept. 14, 7 p.m. @ Oswego
Thu., Sept. 16, 7 p.m.: vs. Syracuse City
Tue., Sept. 21, 4:30 p.m.: @ Jamesville-Dewitt
Thu., Sept. 23, 7 p.m.: vs. Central Square
Tue., Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.: @ Auburn
Thu., Sept. 30, 7 p.m.: vs. Fulton
Sat., Oct. 2, 11 a.m.: vs. Chittenango
Tue., Oct. 5, 7 p.m.: vs. East Syracuse-Minoa
Thu., Oct. 7, 7 p.m.: vs. Oswego
Tue., Oct. 12, 7 p.m.: @ Fulton
Thu., Oct. 14, 7 p.m.: vs. Jamesville-DeWitt
On the boys side, Luke Schweider enters his fourth season with a record of 10-24-5 and hopes that the offense can improve from last year with senior midfielder and captain Nick Yonta and freshman midfielder Caden Albright. Scott Houirgan, the other senior captain for the Purple Tigers, will anchor the defense in goal.
“(We are a) focused young team that works hard and is coachable,” Schweider said. “We will see a lot of development in the first few weeks of the season and the team will continue to improve throughout the season…we struggled to put the ball in the back of the net last year. We will be working towards scoring more in transition on the counterattack along with when we are in possession of the ball.”
Fri., Sept. 3, 11 a.m.: @ Auburn
Tue., Sept. 7, 5 p.m.: vs. Greene
Fri., Sept. 10, 3 p.m.: vs. McGraw (game @ DeRuyter)
Tue., Sept. 14, 7 p.m.: vs. Oswego
Wed., Sept. 15, 6 p.m.: @ Fowler
Tue., Sept. 21, 7 p.m.: vs. Jamesville-DeWitt
Thu., Sept. 23, 7 p.m.: @ Central Square
Sat., Sept. 25, 10 a.m.: @ Homer
Tue., Sept. 28, 7 p.m.: vs. Auburn
Thu., Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m. @ Fulton
Tue., Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m.: @ East Syracuse-Minoa
Thu., Oct. 7, 7 p.m.: @ Oswego
Sat., Oct. 9, 10 a.m.: vs. Homer
Tue., Oct. 12, 7 p.m.: vs. Fulton
Thu., Oct. 14, 7 p.m.: @ Jamesville-Dewitt
Sat., Oct. 16, 3 p.m.: vs. Chittenango