February 26, 2008
Groton’s Conner also among Hall of Fame inductees —
Matson, Tagliente share spotlight again
By TOM VARTANIAN
SIDNEY — As teammates, they helped put Marathon Central School on the map in girls’ sports.
It seems equally fitting that on Saturday, Olympian Class of 1997 graduates Hilary Matson and Carla Tagliente will be inducted into the Section 4 Athletic Hall of Fame together inside the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena between the Class D girls’ (1 p.m.) and boys’ (3:15 p.m.) championship games.
Together, Matson and Tagliente led Marathon to its first three New York State Class D Field Hockey State Championships (1994-1996), two Interscholastic Athletic Conference small-school basketball championships (1994, 1996), three Section 4 Class D basketball championship game appearances (1994-1996), winning it all in 1995, and the Class C overall title game in 1997. Tagliente also played field hockey (1992) and basketball (1992-93) as an eighth-grader with both teams going to the Section 4 Class D finals that season.
Also to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is former Groton Central standout Mike Conner, a two-time Section 4 class wrestling champion.
During his mat career with the Indians, Conner was 125-10. He went on to wrestle at Millersville in Pennsylvania, where he was an NCAA Division II All-American in 1980.
Conner captured three IAC titles as a wrestler and placed for three seasons during the overall Section 4 championships. He was a three-time IAC football all-star, including making 28 tackles (12 unassisted) in a game as a senior captain in 1975.
Conner also played baseball, and pitched a perfect game for the Indians as a senior.
MATSON WAS A three-sport star in field hockey, basketball and track for the Olympians. She is third on the all-time scoring list in basketball with 1,173 points and fourth on the all-time scoring list in field hockey with 120 points (72 goals-48 assists)
In addition to the previously mention field hockey and basketball accolades, Matson was the premier Section 4 hurdler in track. She won four consecutive IAC and Section 4 championships, plus participated in the state meet all four years in the 400 hurdles, participated in the 100m hurdles in 1995-1997. The state meet was all one division in 1994 and 1995 when Matson took 20th in the 400 hurdles as a freshman, and fifth in the 400 hurdles as a sophomore after falling in the 100 hurdles. In 1996-1997, the state meet went to two divisions. Matson was the state Class C-D champion in both the 100 and 400 hurdles. She took fifth in the Federation Meet in 1996 and was second in the Federation in 1997 in the 400 hurdles. That is a total of seven state championships in all. Matson set IAC and Section IV records in the 100 hurdles (14.88) and 400 hurdles (1:02.60) during the 1997 season.
In all, Matson captured seven New York State titles.
She now lives in Hoboken, N.J. with her sister, Meagan, and is the elementary school psychologist for the Montclair Public Schools. She has been the assistant field hockey coach the past two seasons at Montclair Kimberley Academy, a private school in Montclair, with Meagan coaching the JV team.
“I was shocked when I first found out,” said Matson. “It is nice for two players from the small town of Marathon. It is fitting that Carla and I will go in together, because are both teammates and friends.
“If it weren’t for Coach (Karen) Funk, Coach (Cheri) Hess, Coach (Roberta) Chase and Coach (Todd) James, plus all my teammates, this would not have been possible,” Matson added. “It is nice that Carla and I could open the doors to other opportunities for the young girls that have come along.”
One of those opportunities was a chance to attend Princeton University. Matson went on the play field hockey at Princeton, earning the 1997 Ivy League Rookie-of-the-Year and Ivy League Player-of-the-Year in 2000. She was a three-time Collegiate All-American.
“Princeton was a great opportunity in participate in sports and academics,” said Matson. “It was the right fit for me and it nice that they were interested in me.”
Matson was successful, but now sold on being a track athlete.
“Track was not my favorite sport,” Matson chuckled. “I wanted to play three sports and I thought it would be a good way to stay in shape. I found out that the more I worked at it, the more I started to like it.
“Winning state titles with a team means a lot,” Matson added. “It means a lot of people pulled together. In track, while there is some team aspect, you are really more of an individual and that really is much more demanding. It is also very exhilarating to win a title as an individual and I have really learned to appreciate that. I am very appreciative of that chance that Coach James gave me. I did like team sports better and that is why I chose to play field hockey in college.”
TAGLIENTE WAS A standout field hockey and basketball player who did participate in track (one season) and softball for a while as well. Tagilente is the all-time leading scorer in basketball at Marathon with 1,692 points while also being the all-time leader scorer for the Olympian field hockey team with a Section 4 record 158 goals, plus 77 assists for 235 points. She stills holds the single-season assist record (36) and career goals, assists and points marks.
Cortland native Tagliente went on to a successfully four-year career at Maryland where she was a four-time All-American in field hockey, helping led the Terrapins to the 2001 NCAA Division I Championship. She also played in 78 international games, including the World Cup, as a member of the U.S. National team. She is currently the first assistant coach at Michigan University for the Wolverines field hockey team.
“I was surprised to be picked,” said Tagliente. “It is a cool thing, but, at the same time, I now feel old. I really appreciate Coach Funk for putting name up. I really did not think I would get in on the first try. It is a nice honor to be in the same group with Hilary.
“I am proud that I helped put Marathon on the map,” Tagliente added. “It really means a lot. I see lots of Marathon players at tournaments now. That is nice to see and I am really proud of what the field hockey program has done. Coach Funk really deserves a lot of credit for that. She is the one who does such a great job of building support for that program. The town has always been very supportive. It is nice to see young females play and have fun. All that success is well deserved.”
Both Matson and Tagliente remember that first state title in field hockey. The parade and the reception the team received. That first championship also meant they had finally gotten a sectional title to reach the state tournament.
“Playing Afton was our state title game,” said Matson. “We always knew that if we were ever going to do something bigger, we would have to beat Jan Conover’s team. When we finally did that, it gave us confidence. We kept building on that and growing that next two years.
“I do remember that first sectional win and state win as well,” said Tagliente. “After the first title, we knew what it was like and what it took to get there. We helped the program get over a barrier we that first state title. Those are the best memories. I don’t remember a lot of specifics for other games, be it field hockey or basketball, but I do have another memory. I really like the day in and day out stuff. The chance to play with friends. The entire process is the thing I remember most. I think of the fun things we did together.”
When the basketball teams did not reach the same heights as field hockey, Tagliente and Matson both remember to sectional and league successes enjoyed on the court.
“The success from field hockey carried over,” said Matson. “We were just as competitive and we would do anything to win. We had a lot of fun and we had a lot of good times.
“We had a lot of fire on the basketball team,” Tagliente said. “We were not overly competitive, but it was a great group. It was not just Hilary and me. This was a very talented group of athletes. We were all gifted athletes who just enjoyed playing together.”
As much success as Hilary Matson and Carla Tagliente achieved, it is cleared that they each consider themselves just a part of successful teams. It is that unselfishness that as made the two former student-athletes into successful adults and coaches of younger athletes now. That definitely makes these two Marathon stars, Hall of Famers.
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Mites capture ‘Fire on Ice’ crown
The Cortland Flames Mite Travel team won its own Fire On Ice Tournament over the weekend, winning three of four games.
Devin Baylor made 17 saves in the championship game, a 3-0 shutout over Rome on Sunday. Mike Turck had a goal and an assist while Maggie Walsh and Emily Krebs scored once each.
Cortland opened the tournament on Friday with an 8-0 win over Binghamton, P.J. Shager making four saves and Baylor not called on to make any as they shared the shutout. Dylan Cooper paced the offense with three goals, while Walsh had two goals and an assist, Matt Pelowski two goals and Tuck one goal, Baylor with 15 saves.
In a 3-1 win over Rome on Saturday morning, Pelowski had a goal and an assist while Turck and Jared Berry scored once each. Cortland lost to Auburn 6-5 later on Saturday as Walsh had two goals, Dylan Cooper and Pelowski a goal and an assist apiece and Krebs one goal. Shager stopped 24 shots.
The Huskytown Truck & Auto Repair team won two games in Binghamton on Saturday. In a 3-0 win over the Binghamton Junior Senators, Cory Broyles made 19 saves and Brandon Paquin seven, while Aaron Zimmerman scored twice.
Nick LaRue had two goals and three assists to lead the way in a 12-1 romp over the Binghamton Bantam Select, while Casey Bergeron and Leo Riley scored twice each, Alex West had a goal and an assist and Curtis Howland, Zach Daniels, Sabrina Edwards. Joey Scaglione and Kayla Welshman one goal each. Paquin made five saves and Broyles four.
PEE WEE TRAVEL
Cortland won two games over the weekend, 5-1 over Fulton on Saturday and 16-3 over Salmon River on Sunday. Jordan Zehr, Eustan DiIorio and Joel Potter had a goal and an assist apiece against Fulton, while Drew Wojcinski and Mike Lavere scored once each and goalie Jared Lavine made 17 saves.
Lavere had three goals and two assist against Salmon River, while Zehr had two goals and four assists, Wojcinski two goals and two assists, Tristin Cooper and Potter two goals apiece, Kyle Gibbons and Danny Turck a goal and an assist each and Logan Youngs, Dakota Baylor and DiIorio one goal each. Lavine made 13 saves and Randall nine.
ITHACA SHOOTING STARS
Dryden’s Marissa Ramos had a goal for the 14-Under squad in a 1-1 tie with the Rome Grizzlies in the central Section Tier 2 Tournament on Saturday. The Stars also beat the Camillus Cougars 3-0 and won the Central region championship, this advancing to the NYSAHA Tournament March 7-9 in Glens Falls.
Dryden’s Olivia Ramos (Marissa’s sister) and Cortland’s Ali Pace are also members of the team.
In Central Section play, the 16-Under team beat the Camillus Cougars 3-1 Cortland’s Janesa Cornish had a goal and an assist. Homer’s Annabelle Jones made 20 saves in a 3-1 loss to Camillus and nine more in a 1-0 loss to the same team in a mini-game tie-breaker. The Ithaca squad will thus be seeded second from Central for the Tier 2 Tournament in Ogdensburg.
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