October 9, 2009
Marathon handles another challenge
MARATHON — The bulls-eye is a big one. Marathon Central girls continue to hold the number one spot in the weekly Class C soccer rankings and there is the constant pressure of being the defending state co-champion.
Thursday, the Olympians were not at their best against Southern Cayuga, but three goals by senior tri-captain Shawna Hurlbert helped propel her team to a 5-0 Interscholastic Athletic Conference Small School North Division victory. The Olympians are 5-0 in division play with one game remaining at Union Springs Oct. and 11-1 overall with a crossover match against powerful Lansing looming Wednesday on Lovell’s Field.
“We do have a bigger target on our back when we step on the field this year,” Hurlbert said. “We know we have to bring our ‘A’ game. If you don’t, it could be trouble. We do have a reputation of playing good soccer so we need to be ready every game.
“It was hard because they (Southern Cayuga) did pack their defense,” she continued. “When we kept the ball on the ground and made the right passes, we definitely beat them with our speed. I had a little trouble, but I did my best to keep my composure. It wasn’t our best game tonight, but we’ll pick it up.”
“I have reminded the girls of that every game,” Marathon coach Trish Hayes said. “Everyone is going to come after you. Everyone wants to beat the best team in the state. I think our girls are ready for that. We have done a good job so far this season.
“We knew they were going to pack the 18 like they did last time,” Hayes continued on the Southern Cayuga match. “We did discuss how to break that down, but we didn’t do a very good job of it. It was an off night, but we still did enough that we got the win.”
Part of the problem Marathon had scoring goals was the play of Southern Cayuga goalkeeper Hillary Chidsey, who made 19 saves. Several of those were one-on-one, point-blank shots that she battled away and grabbed.
“She made a lot of great saves,” Hayes said. “Erin Rundle turned and shot from point-blank range and she just gobbled it up. She picked some nice headers out of the air. You have to give her a lot of credit because she did a great job.”
Marathon took some time to get started, but Hurlbert’s first touched off a three-goal run over nine-minute span that allowed the Olympians to take control.
Katelyn Morrison sent a nice crossing ball from the right flank that Hurlbert redirected by Chidsey with 29:06 left in the first half for the 1-0 advantage.
Ellena Holl made it 2-0 Olympians with 21:26 left in the half. Holl took a nicer centering pass from Nikki Hurlbert for the score.
Just 41 seconds later, Shawna Hurlbert took a through ball from Holl and broke away for a one-on-one with Chidsey. She picked her spot spot and beat the keeper for a 3-0 cushion.
The Olympians generated limited chances the reminder of the first half.
In the second half, Marathon turned up the pressure, but Chidsey kept the home team off the scoreboard until the final eight minutes. Of her 19 saves, Chidsey made 14 of them in the second half.
With 7:24 remaining, Lindsay Peri sent a high corner kick into the box and Rundle headed the ball into the near corner for a 4-0 lead.
Southern Cayuga responded with a couple of offensive runs of its own. Felicia Allen and Jenna Lawrence got clean shots off at Olympian goalkeeper Samantha Courtney, but the big, lanky keeper made the saves. Courtney would finish with three second-half saves. Emily Icenogle played the first half and did make a save, though she did stop a couple of crossing passes in the box.
Hurlbert closed out the scoring with 2:52 left. She stole the ball in the box, turned and fired a shot inside the post for the final 5-0 count.
From the opening pre-game dance, which is the most unqiue I’ve seen, to the camaraderie amongst of the players, the Olympians seem to have all the pieces of the puzzle in place for the post-season and another run at a state title.
“This team is my second family,” Hurlbert said. “We are always together. We grown up together. There isn’t any drama. We just don’t have problems with each other and we really get along well. We stick together as a family on and off the field.”
Dryden 4, Whitney Point 0: Four different players scored goals as the Purple Lions improved to 7-4 overall. Ashley Jenner had one goal and one assist for Dryden while Claire Roberson, Laura Streeter and Sabrina Jenner each netted one goal in a balanced offensive effort.
Julie Prentice made one save while Laurie Cleek wasn’t tested as the goalkeeping duo recorded the shutout.
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