September 4, 2009


Marathon captures early showdown with Dryden


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Marathon’s Josh Lincoln (10) works his way to an assist while battling Dryden’s Matthew Phillips (19) in the second half of Thursday’s IAC contest.

DRYDEN — In a classic battle between two of the best soccer teams in Interscholastic Athletic Conference, visiting Marathon Central boys nipped Dryden High 1-0 in a season-opening showdown that was in doubt until the final horn sounded.
Doug Whitney scored just 2:10 into the second half and that was enough as the Olympians came away with a crucial IAC North Division triumph.
“We still have some work to do, but we got a win,” said relieved Marathon coach Chip Stewart. “Dryden did have the better of the play between the 18s. They were a lot like us. We both had trouble finishing our runs and sets.”
“It was quite the battle,” Dryden coach Laszlo Engel stated. “We kept them on their heels most of the time, but (goalkeeper) Evan Holl held us off the scoreboard with some terrific saves.
“Justin Niziol had a couple of great shots, but we could not break through,” Engel added. “Matt Cushman played well for us in goal.”
Keeper Holl made seven saves in the net for Marathon, while Cushman recorded four saves for Dryden.
“Evan played a great game for us,” Stewart said. “He made three great saves in the first half.”
Dryden pushed the ball forward early in the second half, but did not recover quick enough. That lead to a Marathon counter attack with Mike Bellefluer and Tyler Marsh touching the ball before Lincoln made his pass. Whitney finished the run off and gave the Olympians the only goal of the match.
“It was one of the nice combinations we did have today,” said Stewart. “It was nice to see Mike and Smerk (Marsh) getting involved in the scoring play.
“Jared Davenport stepped up for us defensively,” Stewart added. “He blocked two shots with his chest. He was able to settle himself down at different times and control the ball. He played under control and did well clearing the ball.”
Engel also singled out some guys for good efforts, especially because the Purple Lions’ depth was needed.
“We did find out that we have depth as we had to cover a few injuries,” Engel explained. “Austin O’Brien, Shane DeGaetano, Matt Phillips and Tom Cutia all stepped in and added to the play considerably.”
Dryden and Marathon will both return to action Wednesday. The Purple Lions will travel to Poplar Ridge to meet Southern Cayuga while the Olympians host Lansing. Both matches begin at 4:30 p.m.