Marc My Words!

Marc Maturo’s official sports column

Cortaca Jug is on the line as Cortland hosts Ithaca

Veteran lineman
Ostrow & Co.
in underdog role   

The countdown is on in upstate Cortland, where another contest will be waged for ownership of the Cortaca Jug at noon on Nov. 15.

The football rivalry pitting SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College is one of the most intense among Division III institutions, and on paper it would seem that the Bombers of Ithaca are poised to break a four-game losing streak to the Red Dragons.

Ithaca has already clinched the Empire 8 conference championship and will advance to the NCAA Division III tournament after the Cortland game. Cortland, meanwhile, is in the middle of the pack in New Jersey Athletic Conference standings. (The program joins the Empire 8 next year.)

Gabe Ostrow,  Jug on the line
Gabe Ostrow, Jug on the line

The Red Dragons, however, and senior defensive end Gabe Ostrow of Nanuet are coming off a 26-17 victory over William Paterson, a game in which Ostrow was credited with 12 tackles and was named the team’s defensive player of the week. For his effort, Ostrow was appointed a captain in the Cortaca Jug showdown.

“It’s like an Army-Navy type game,” said Ostrow, who will be playing his final regular-season contest in what has been a remarkably durable career. “Even if one team is having a down season, if you win it salvages the season.”

For the record, Cortland comes into the game with a 4-5 mark while Ithaca showcases a sparkling 7-2 record.

Ostrow, who is joined on the Red Dragons by Pete Smith of Nanuet and kicking specialist Shane Cronin of West Nyack, is no stranger to big games. As a senior at Nanuet, playing for legendary coach Rich Conklin, the Golden Knights nearly upended powerhouse Hornell in the state championship game before losing, 16-14. Hornell had won 60 games in a row.

Now, with the clock ticking, Ostrow admits to a tinge of sadness as time has flown by quicker than he might have expected.

“Of course I’ll miss it, I love the game; it went by real fast, too fast,” continued Ostrow, whose “official” final game at this level will come in a national all-star game featuring stars from all collegiate divisions on December 7 at Florida International University in Miami, Fla. At that time, Ostrow hopes to sign with an agent, and try to further extend his time on the gridiron, perhaps making all those summer workouts with former high school teammate Chris Klass worthwhile.

“I’m already excited about that game, and going down a few days early,” said Ostrow

Durability personified

Ostrow, who has have missed just one game – last year following shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum which he played with the entire previous season – expects a tough game against Ithaca but also expects to keep his record intact against the Bombers.

`       “Ithaca has a real good team this year, but I think we’ll beat them,” offered Ostrow, without adding any Joe Namath-like “guarantees,”

unnamed (2)        Papa John Ostrow, however, a one-time basketball and baseball player who coaches basketball at Jane Adams HS in the Bronx, not only predicted victory but also went out on a limb with a score.

“Let’s see, how about 24-19 Cortland on top,” said Papa Ostrow, who will be in the stands with his wife, Elizabeth, a non-sports fan except when it comes to Cortland football.

“Of course we will be there, we never miss a game; been doing this since he (Gabe) was 7 years old and playing with the Orangetown Patriots,” noted Ostrow the Elder, whose older son Evan is now on the football staff at Penn State University.

Papa Ostrow expects another “crazy scene,” at the game and throughout the town.

“There are always big crowds, it’s always a big deal,” he noted.

PANTHERS PREVAIL: Junior defender Edel Fernandez of New City, an alum of Clarkstown North HS, played a substitute role and junior captain Junior Sanguina of White Plains scored twice as the Purchase College men’s soccer team captured the Skyline Conference crown with a rousing 2-1 double-overtime victory against visiting No. 5 St. Joseph’s College-L.I. The sixth-seeded Panthers, who overcame injuries and a revamped lineup throughout the season, knocked off all of the higher seeds en route to the title. With the win, Purchase clinched the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which will open on Nov. 15.

DOWN AND OUT: The second-seeded Dominican College men’s soccer team was upended by No. 6 Wilmington University, 2-1, in a 2-1 double overtime loss in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) semifinal at Lamoy Field on the campus of Post University. Dominican ended the season with an overall record of 13-4-1. In the season finale, Luis DelPezo of Port Chester scored for the Chargers, and goalkeeper Steven Hegner of Pomona, who posted eight shutouts on the season, made four saves to lift his total to 47.

QUICK HITTERS: The Pace University men’s lacrosse team, which includes sophomore midfielder and Suffern HS alum Peter Sharp of Airmont, has scheduled its inaugural awards dinner on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. at Willcox Hall Gymnasium on the Pleasantville campus. For information contact Zach Dayton at (914) 773-3271 or zdayton@pace.edu. … The New Paltz men’s swimming team kicked off the NYU Invitational with a sparkling third-place finish in the 200 freestyle. Clarkstown North HS graduate Rod Taskindoust of New City teamed up in the relay with junior Will Koenig of Highland, Calif., freshman Caleb Treadwell of Cortland and junior Ryan Lindgren of Hurley, for a combined time of 1:28.98. New Paltz competes in its first dual meet on Nov. 15, visiting SUNY Oswego for a 1 p.m. contest. … Clarkstown South HS graduates and New City residents Deirdre O’Neill, a senior midfielder, and Sarah Sansone, a junior back, are headed to the NCAA Tournament with the New Paltz field hockey team, which captured its third straight SUNYAC championship with a 4-0 victory over visiting Geneseo at Old Turf Field. O’Neill, who was named to the all-Tournament team, opened a 2-0 lead against Geneseo by converting her own rebound for her eighth goal of the season. … The Dominican College women’s volleyball team ended the regular season with an overall record of 16-8 and a CACC mark of 12-7 with a 3-0 loss to visiting Georgian Court University in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference match at th Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. Prior to the match, the Lady Chargers honored seniors Keely Fink of Lagrangeville, Kayla Dexter of Selah, Wash., and Kadiejah Collins of Newburgh. … Rockland Community College volleyball standouts Taylor Sheridan, a Tappan Zee HS alumna, and Kayla Simpson of Suffern earned second-team all-Mid Hudson Conference honors. … The Rockland CC men’s basketball team, under the direction of Hall of Famer Billy Kurisko, is home for its next two games, hosting LaGuardia CC on Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. and Borough of Manhattan CC on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. … New Paltz women’s soccer player Eleni Anselmi of Garnerville was named to the all-State University of New York Athletic Conference second team. A senior midfielder, Anselmi, a North Rockland HS graduate, started all 18 matches and led the team in nearly every offensive category including goals (6), assists (5), points (17), shots (49) and shots on goal (26). She tallied three penalty-kick scores and one game-winning goal. In the SUNYAC, Anselmi ranked fifth in assists, sixth in assists per game and eighth in points and points per game. For her career, Anselmi started 68 matches and tallied 13 goals and 11 assists for 37 points and ranks fourth all-time in assists and eighth all-time in points. … Freshman Dan Citardi of Blauvelt led Pace University with a clocking of 33:37 on an 8k course as the Setters competed in the Northeast-10 Championships at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H.  Gabriel Navarro of Colorado Springs, Co., another freshman prospect, was next for Pace in 34-flat. The Setters return to action on Nov. 23 when they travel to Mines Falls, N.H., to compete in the NCAA East Regionals.

THIS & THAT: The Town of Orangetown Parks and Recreation Department will stage its 23rd Santa Claus 5k run on Dec. 7 at 10:30 a.m. The 3.1-mile run begins at Veterans Memorial Park in Orangeburg, and travels a mainly flat and paved course through surrounding streets. Registration forms are available by calling 359-6503, by stopping at the office at 81 Hunt Rd. in Orangeburg, or by accessing www.orangetown.com.