Anne Delaney

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Delaney: Offenses lag behind defense at Clinton

It was just the second game of the basketball of the season and it showed.

The defenses for the Clinton and Waterville girls basketball teams were strong on Saturday during the championship game of the Clinton Optimist Tip Off Tournament. Clinton switched between man-to-man and zone. Waterville played zone throughout and it was effective, helped by a poor shooting night for the host Warriors.

Offense, well, that was another story. Clinton was 6-of-29 from the field in the first half. Waterville was 7-for-22. Clinton managed to get a few shots to fall in the second half and that was a big part of its 35-32 win.

So was the poor shooting due to the fact it was game No. 2 or was it good defense?

"I think both teams played good defense," Waterville sophomore Lauren Homer said.

"Their defense was perfect against us," Clinton coach Tom Trevisani said. "Poor shooting and good defense. It was both."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Delaney: Experiment at Remsen boys game

The Remsen and Madison boys basketball teams played two halves rather than four quarters in the teams' season opener on Friday.


The Rams and Blue Devils played two 16-minute halves instead of four 8-minute quarters as a trial for a possible future change to state rules. Remsen coach Scott Jones thought the game went well.


"I think it's quicker and moves along," Jones said. "I think I like it."


Jones said if the change ever becomes permanent, an additional time out will have to be given to each team. With two halves, teams get six timeouts (four 1-minute time outs and two 30-second time outs).



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Delaney: Wildcats moving on without Maurer

The first day of practice was strange.

For the first time in 11 years, Tom Maurer wasn't there to greet his Adirondack girls basketball players with an excited grin: a devilish, encouraging smile that said he knew they had an ability to compete and to play, and they would find out.

"It's hard," senior center Tiffany Pope said. "You push through it. You keep going."

The Wildcats are pushing through the death of a coach who earned legend status around Boonville for his selfless dedication to girls sports over 26 years.

The Adirondack program is lucky to have Maurer assistant and former junior varsity coach Mickey Fauvelle as the new head coach. Fauvelle, 40, coached with Maurer since 2001 and he was given plenty of freedom by Maurer, who welcomed Fauvelle's ideas.

"We're cautiously optimistic," Fauvelle said of the season. "It's still Tom's program. He laid a good foundation."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Delaney: Eachus' 21st carry was his best

Jordan Scott called teammate Nate Eachus an "unbelievable" football player and "spectacular." Eachus' best play on Saturday against Holy Cross won't show up in a game story and likely isn't worthy of the highlight reel, especially since Colgate's 28-27 come-from-behind win in the Patriot League championship game was long sealed. Eachus' best play on Saturday was the one where he didn't score.

After the Colgate defense held Holy Cross to its only three-and-out with less than 10 minutes remaining, the Raiders churned out a clock-killing 10-play, 51-yard drive to the Crusaders' 10. With about 77 seconds left on the clock, Eachus ran for nine yards on his 21st carry of the game but slid to the ground short of the end zone. Colgate controlled the ball and the clock and Eachus knew it. By not scoring, the clock kept moving and the ball was kept away from a high-scoring Crusaders offense that racked up 24 points and 246 passing yards in the first half.

On the next play Colgate quarterback Greg Sullivan backed away from the line of scrimmage, effectively ending the game and starting an on-field celebration as snowflakes began to fall.

Eachus, who burst into the Colgate backfield earlier this season when Scott injured his ankle against Cornell, took the ball in the fourth quarter on Saturday and again became the featured back. Scott tweaked his left ankle late in the third quarter, and Raiders coach Dick Biddle said Eachus "at 100 percent is better than Jordan Scott at 80."

Eachus ran for 118 yards and a touchdown as part of a trio of Colgate runners who wore down the Crusaders. Eachus' ran for 111 in the second half. All-time leading rusher Scott ran for 82 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and Sullivan ran for 79 yards on 22 carries. Sullivan also threw two touchdown passes to Pat Simonds. Scott went over 1,000 yards on a 12-yard run in the second quarter and became the fifth Football Championship Subdivision runner with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Scott, who has 5,527 yards, moved into fifth place on the FCS career rushing list. Sullivan, who has 868 yards, broke the single-season school record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Wishbone QB Tom Parr held the record with 833 in 1973.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Delaney: Avoid a dented fender, get there early

If you attend a Utica College men's hockey game this season, do yourself a favor and get to the Auditorium early.
Parking in the Aud. lot on Friday was full more than 30 minutes before the puck dropped. By the time my search led me to the back of the lot, the layout of parked cars was messy and the space between rows narrowed as drivers got creative. The conditions of the parking lot, added to the the snow, slippery pavement and tricky visibility, was a perfect recipe for a dented fender or worse as drivers searched for a space.
UC has five home games remaining through the end of the first semester: Nov. 22 (Lebanon Valley College); Nov. 29 (Buffalo State); Dec. 6 (Elmira); Dec. 9 (Hamilton); and Dec. 12 (Western New England College).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Delaney: What do you think of that game?

"I don't think it's sunk in yet," Hamilton Central defender Alex Thompson said not long after the Emerald Knights' state championship win.
More than 24 hours later, I'm still not sure I believe what I saw at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Complex on Sunday. The Emerald Knights trailed state ranked No. 1 Chazy 3-0 late in the second half of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D final in Oneonta. A 3-0 lead in soccer is equal to 37-0 in football, yet the Emerald Knights came back and won the school's third boys state title with a 4-3 victory in OT.
Thompson, who had an assist, stood alone near a bench while his teammates and what had to have been the entire village of Hamilton continued its celebration nearby.
A miscommunication that Thompson said was his fault led to Jason Baker scoring Chazy's first goal. The burly Eagles player swooped into the Hamilton defensive end and moved from left to right unmarked before firing a shot past keeper Will Keever to the left post. Andrew LaPierre scored Chazy's second goal on a beautiful indirect kick after a dangerous play infraction by Blaine Holcomb. Chazy, playing for its fourth title in five years, seemingly put the game away early in the second half on a Stetson Fields penalty kick after a handball foul by Hamilton defender Bobby Dick. 
"It wasn't a happy time," Thompson said. 
Somehow, Hamilton rallied. First-team all-state senior midfielder Nathan Steward scored the first goal with 17:24 left in the second half and the Emerald Knights celebrated like it was the game-tying goal. Fifteen minutes later, Matthew Broedel scored the winning goal and the Emerald Knights' belief in themselves was validated. Steward said the team felt good about it chances in the second playing with the win at their backs.
"Down 3-0, we had everything going for us," Steward said.
I might be a cyncial member of the media, but I'm not buying that. Hamilton coach Brian Latella was the voice of reason as his team came back up the field after Broedel's second goal. There was 2:45 left in regulation.
"That's not the winning goal," Latella yelled.
Forty-one seconds into the 15-minute OT, Dan Kraynak scored the game winner off an assist from Tyler White. Chazy players crouched on the field in disbelief and disappointment. Hamilton bench players rushed to join their teammates and the mass of green jerseys moved toward the Emerald Knights fans piling out of the metal stands.
"It's really hard to process," Broedel said later. "I'm really excited."  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Delaney: Hamilton title stirs memories for Duvernoy

Inconspicuous in the crowd of Hamilton Central soccer fans in the lobby of the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Sunday for the post-game ceremony was former Emerald Knights coach Russ Duvernoy. The 61-year-old two-time state championship coach was not among the Hamilton fans dressed in the school colors of green-and-white. On a cold day, Duvernoy was bundled up in a working man's tan jacket and faded Colgate University cap. But on the inside, Duvernoy was cheering, impressed with the Emerald Knights' performance against defending state champion Chazy and feeling "fortunate" for his experinces years ago.
Duvernoy was the Emerald Knights coach the last time they won a boys state soccer title in 1997. Duvernoy, who stepped down after the 2002 season, also coached a co-title team in 1995.
But Sunday's 4-3 come-from-behind OT victory over Chazy was a first for a coach with more than two decades on the sidelines. Hamilton scored three goals in the final 17:30 of regulation to claim the school's third Class D boys soccer state title. Duvernoy's Hamilton teams won Class D titles in 1995 and 1997. The Emerald Knights lost in the 'C' final in 1998.
"I guess I've been around the game for 25 years as a coach and I've never seen a finish like that," Duvernoy said by phone Sunday evening. "I'd never believe what happened, happened."
Duvernoy derived a great deal of pleasure from his coaching days, especially because his state title teams included sons, Tim and John, and several of their friends.
"I have kids from 20 years ago come up and still call me coach," Duvernoy said. "That's the best address I have."
Duvernoy's final season in 2002 ended with a 3-0 Section III final loss to Manlius-Pebble Hill in the Carrier Dome. Current Hamilton coach Brian Latella was an assistant with Duvernoy that season. When Duvernoy became ill after the season and couldn't return, he advocated for Latella to get the head coaching job.
"I like his knowledge of the game and he works year-round," Duvernoy said. "He's got a good way with the kids. Brian has a good way with everybody."
Duvernoy saw this in the second half of the win over Chazy. Despite being down three goals with less than 20 minutes to play, Latella "never stopped encouraging, never stopped coaching."
The 2008 Emerald Knights reminded Duvernoy of championship teams he coached because of their comraderie and talent all over the field. There wasn't one player for Hamilton who carried the team. The scoring totals bear that out. Four players had at least 19 goals led by first-team all-state senior midfielder Nathan Steward with 23 goals and 18 assists. Hamilton tournament MVP Matthew Broedel had 19 goals and 13 assists; Dan Kraynak, who scored the game winner in OT, had 20 goals and 9 assists; Tyler White had 19 goals and 4 assists. The team had eight seniors and that was the group that set the tone.
"It made me realize how fortunate I'd been in my experience," Duvernoy said. "Winning a state championship is something not too many coaches get."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Delaney: Hamilton boys win semifinal, Chazy next

Hamilton Central senior midfielder Nathan Steward set the tone early for the Emerald Knights' 1-0 Class D state semifinal win over S.S. Seward in Oneonta on Saturday. Steward, a first-team all-state selection, fired a hard shot just over the cross bar early in the match at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Complex. Steward had three other similar shots on goal during the game and he dominated possession in the midfield.
Hamilton nearly had a second goal in the first half. Freshman midfielder Drew Thompson crossed a ball from the right wing into the Seward penalty box. Recent Hamilton JV call-up Joe Taranto got his head on the ball while Spartans keeper Dmitri Moustakas was out of position. A Seward defender came to clear the ball before it crossed the line.
Thompson, the brother of senior defender Alex Thompson, played well as an offensive midfielder. Thompson lined up like a forward, up on the line when Hamilton had the ball. But when the Emerald Knights transitioned to defense, Thompson sprinted back to get in the action. He was very effective on the wing, drawing defenders to the ball, and then quick and skilled enough to send a cross to the middle or to beat his man one-on-one.
The Emerald Knights will play state-ranked No. 1 and defending Class D champion Chazy in the final at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Delaney: Fun during a loss

Nine shirtless Vernon-Verona-Sherrill students with painted chests and faces stood at a chain-link fence at Chittenango High School on Friday.
The young men were the unofficial cheering squad for the VVS field hockey team that was playing a Class B state semifinal game against Garden City.
On each guy's back, in either red or white paint, was a jersey number and last name of a VVS player. They were a rowdy student section, but funny.
Early in the game, won 4-0 by Garden City, a Trojans player was whistled for a dangerous play on a ball too high off the ground. The infraction resulted in a turnover and a free hit for VVS.
"You can't do that," the Red Devils boys chanted. 
Garden City was physically better than VVS, which finished its season as the Section III and Central Region champions with a 17-4-1 record. The Trojans, who will be playing for their sixth state title since 1991 today (Saturday) were faster and had better stick work than VVS.
VVS goalie Teresa Moats saw Garden City's skill.
"They were a great team," the junior said.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Delaney: Gadziala to sign with Monmouth

Whitesboro senior forward-center Betsy Gadziala will sign a letter-of-intent on Friday to play basketball at Monmouth.
The Division I school located in West Long Branch, N.J. plays in the 11-member Northeast Conference.
Gadziala's signing with the Hawks ends a "stressful" process in which the 17-year-old chose Monmouth over the University of Vermont. Gadziala visited Vermont after one of her trips to Monmouth and liked what she saw in the Catamounts program.
"On the ride home (from Vermont), I was a mess," Gadziala said. "On a break from work, it came to me where I needed to be."
Gadziala, a Tri Valley League first-team selection who averaged 12.5 points as a junior, will likely be either a 3 or 4 at Monmouth. At 6-feet, she has been preparing for that role for a long time by working on becoming a more versatile player.
"My guard game has reached another level," Gadziala said. "Freshman year I could barely dribble."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Delaney: Hamilton boys add to Section III soccer success

The success of the Hamilton Central boys soccer team this season is another feather in the cap of area soccer teams. The Emerald Knights are the fourth Utica-area Section III team to advance to the state semifinals since 2004. The others are the New Hartford boys, the Cooperstown girls and the Poland boys (twice, 2005 and 2007).

"If Poland is in any other section, we're playing them this weekend," said Hamilton Central coach Brian Latella of his CSC III and Class D rivals.

Latella, making his first appearance state semifinal appearance in six years as a coach, said the number of soccer teams in the 103-school section makes it a challenge to get through the Section III Tournament. Once a team does, the foundation is solid to do well at the state level - particularly for Section III small schools.

Delaney: Cherish dream season

Two non-high school football teams are enjoying the final days of their fall seasons. High school football state championships will be played on Thanksgiving weekend. The Vernon-Verona-Sherrill field hockey hockey team and the Hamilton Central boys soccer team will play state semifinal games this weekend.

VVS will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chittenango High School, and Hamilton will play at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Complex in Oneonta.

Reliving my high school days is not something I'd embrace, but I'd go back in time - far, far back at this point - to enjoy a post-season run with teammates especially if I could do it at one of the many small schools in the Utica area.

Players on high school teams that play deep into a season become rock stars in their communities. The fan support, though, is genuine. While covering a team on its post-season run, I see familiar faces at games and practices. This is not a luxury I enjoy during the regular season when we're trying to get a lot of schools covered and we get to see a team once or twice. I've seen the looks of pride on fans' faces when the season-ending loss finally comes. They tell me how well the kids have played even in defeat, what good kids they are and how proud they are. These words don't often ring true with me except in defeat.

"It's a special feeling," said Hamilton Central assistant coach Trevor Chapman, a 2003 graduate of the school. "It's in the air."

Delaney: Gaesser returns to sidelines

Former Rome Free Academy girls basketball coach Karen Gaesser is the new coach at Notre Dame. Gaesser, 41, takes over in place of longtime Jugglers coach Bill Farley, who resigned in July after 14 years at his alma mater.

Gaesser returns to coaching after a two-year hiatus following back surgery in July 2006, which kept her away from teaching from Sept. 2006 through March 2007. Gaesser is a physical education teacher at RFA.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Delaney: For Marathon girls soccer, success was a sprint

Six years ago, Marathon High School didn't have a girls soccer team. Today, the Section IV team is in the state semifinals.

At a school where field hockey rules, the Class C Olympians have proven small schools can have two successful girls sports in one season. Marathon defeated Utica Notre Dame 2-1 in a regional game at Chittenango on Saturday and advanced to play Plattsburgh's Seton Catholic in a state semifinal on Friday. The Marathon field hockey team, which has won eight state titles since 1994, also won a regional game on Saturday to advance to next week's state semifinals.

Marathon soccer coach Trish Hayes, who's been with the team since the beginning, said the players were the ones who pushed for the program.

"A lot of them started playing at the beginning," said Hayes, in between post-game congratulations from Marathon fans. "They started to do indoor in Lansing and summer leagues."

Most the players have been in soccer since they were about 10 years old, Hayes said. Senior Brooke Winter-Potter is one of the most experienced players. The senior midfielder has played on travel teams including in Olympic Development Programs.

"The girls did it," Hayes said. "The girls petitioned and they wanted to start it."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Delaney: It's tough when there's tears

Post-game interviews can be interesting for sports reporters. I'd even say the interviews can be difficult.
Players and coaches pack up their bags and equipment quickly. No one sticks around very long, especially the visiting team.

The biggest post-game challenge is covering a team at a season-ending loss. It's not easy to talk to a high school athlete in this situation, especially girls who more often than not are visibly upset. There is nothing scientific to the observation and it's not to say a young man wouldn't be moved to tears by a loss. Girls generally show emotion differently from boys.

Little Falls senior field hockey player Alaina Demeree had a few tears in her eyes when we talked the other night. The Mounties just lost a tough game, 1-0 to Class C Cazenovia. Demeree, a senior defender, was open and honest and gracious in defeat. Two thoughts go through my mind when I have to approach an athlete after such a loss. Part of me empathizes with his or her disappointment, who can't when you put your heart and soul into something and it doesn't work out? My cynical side says there will be worse days in the athlete's life and it isn't worth crying over a high school game.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Delaney: A little Red Devil

The future of the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill field hockey team was walking around Chittenango High School on Saturday evening. It wasn't Red Devils freshman Ashley Palmer, who scored the sudden-victory goal that gave VVS the Section III Class B title. It was a little girl - no more than 4 years old, who was all decked out in a mini uniform: a white shirt, red and white plaid kilt, white stockings and black cleats.
The VVS fans at Chittenango were quiet for most of the Red Devils' game against Camden, the third one this season between the TVL rivals. Those wearing red and white didn't have much to cheer. Camden dominated the game, with 14 penalty corners to 3 for VVS but the Blue Devils couldn't put away a goal. As a Camden fan led a cheer before the 10-minute sudden victory OT, VVS fans were relatively quiet. 
Until Palmer, who scored with 8:49 left, and the rest of the team jogged over to the stands at the end of the game.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Delaney: Paladino shocked

Dominica Paladino didn't look like a coach whose Notre Dame girls soccer team just won the school's first Section III title.
Paladino, bundled up Saturday evening in a sharp navy blue warm-up suit, has been through a lot of big games. The first-year head coach was the New York State Class C player of the year in 2000. She was the Notre Dame and Tri Valley League record holder for goals in a season (60), most goals scored in a game (6) and career goals (135) before playing college ball at St. John's University.
Paladino took over for John Del Buono in late September last year and guided the Jugglers to the Class C semifinal. In defensive game at Sauquoit Valley, Waterville advanced to the final over the Jugglers after two rouns of penalty kicks.
Earlier this year, it didn't look like Notre Dame would get back to the semifinals let alone win the Class C tournament. The Jugglers had a tough regular season with a 6-7-1 TVL record. Once the Section III Tournament began, Notre Dame's games against bigger TVL schools paid off. Notre Dame (13-8-1) defeated top-seeded Thousand Islands in the semifinals.
"I'm shocked," Paladino said. "It's been a rough season. We're the 13th seed and it's been upset after upset."

Delaney: Emerald Knights' win long time coming

There was no sound on the bus while Brian Latella spoke.
Latella's Hamilton Central boys soccer team was spent on the ride back from Sauquoit Valley on Saturday. As Latella said, the Emerald Knights left it all on the field in a 1-0 Section III Class D 1-0 final win over Poland.

Poland, the top seed and third ranked team in the state, had Hamilton's number going into the game at Sauquoit Valley. The teams played eight times dating back to 2005 and Poland was 5-2-1 against Hamilton. One of Hamilton's wins was during the 2007 regular season, but Poland - which has played in two of the last three Class D state title games - got the Emerald Knights when it counted. Poland ended Hamilton's season with a 2-0 semifinal win at Sauquoit Valley.

The teams' fortunes were reversed on Saturday. Matthew Broedel scored 1:12 into the second half to give the Emerald Knights their first Section III title since 1998.

"A bunch of seniors (eight) have been working for this since they were freshmen," Latella said. "It's for so many people. The guys who played and lost to Faith Heritage and Manlius-Pebble Hill, they worked so hard. Unfortunately, Simon Jarcho (2004 graduate) never had one. Those are the guys who continued the program in the right direction."