October 26, 2012
Marathon moves on behind dynamic duo
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Amanda Horton scores Marathon’s third goal against Spencer-VanEtten goalie Kaitlyn Baker Thursday night at SUNY Cortland. Marathon was a 4-0 sectional winner.
Try as they might, Spencer-Van Etten had no answers for the prolific one-two punch of Shelby Underwood and Amanda Horton.
The Marathon Central seniors accounted of all the scoring during the Olympians’ 4-0 Section 4 Class C field hockey quarterfinal round victory Thursday night. With the switch of venue to SUNY Cortland’s White Field turf, the speed of the second-seed’s front line was too much for Spencer-Van Etten’s defenders to cope with.
Marathon (14-3) will meet the winner of today’s Sidney at Walton quarterfinal match-up in this coming Tuesday’s semifinal round.
In other Class C quarterfinal action, top-seed Greene (14-0) defeated ninth-seed Harpursville 7-0. Greene will face the winner of the Whitney Point at Walton contest being played today.
Underwood scored three goals in the match with Horton assisting on the first tally. Horton notched the third goal of the match. The passing and teamwork of this duo is a big part of the team’s success.
“Shelby and I do really work well together,” Horton said after her 20th goal and 19th assist of the season. “We’ve been together since we played modifieds. Whether it’s up top or corners, we work very well together to score goals.
“I didn’t feel like I had my game on as well tonight,” she added. “A win is a win and I’m glad we are going on to the next round.”
“Amanda and I really read each other well on the field,” said Underwood who now has 23 goals and 23 assists this season. “We don’t have to talk as much because we know where each of us are. I think that’s what makes it perfect. It’s what allows each of us to score goals and to assist on each other’s goals. It’s really awesome.
“We’ve played all C schools most of the year, except for the Greene Tournament and our last game (a loss to Vestal),” she continued. “I thought we did pretty good against the A and B schools. We didn’t win, but we did the best we could. I’m proud of the work, the talk and what our team has done so far.”
On the second shot of the game, Marathon got the lead. The hustle of Horton kept a ball from going over the end line. She stopped the ball and made a nice pass to her left to Underwood in the circle. Once she had the ball, Underwood swept the ball nicely into the cage just 2:15 into play.
The Olympians kept the pressure on, but S-VE goalkeeper Kaitlyn Baker (five saves) did her best to make the saves or clear loose balls away with a strong kick. Her best save was a stick save on a rising ball. Most keepers don’t use the stick that often, but Baker made the play when she needed to.
With 12:09 left in the half, Underwood collected her second goal. The senior hit a little pop shot that lifted the ball into the air and into the right side of the goal.
Marathon finished the first half with six shots and six penalty corners while Spencer-Van Etten (8-8) only muster one penalty corner in the final 30 seconds of the half. The Olympian backline of Ashton Hawks, Emily Lawrence, Kassidy Stone and Allie McConnell helped keep the ball away from goalkeeper Emily Morley.
The second half was more of the same. Marathon scored both goals within a two-minute span. Horton stole a ball just outside the 25-yard line and took the ball into the circle. A nice low shot found its mark for a 3-0 cushion with 20:56 left in the match.
Underwood got her hat trick with 19:27 to go. Her shot into open space closed out a good offensive night for the Olympians. The goal was started by an insert pass by Eryn Griep off a penalty corner.
Marathon finished with nine shots and 10 penalty corners. Spencer-Van Etten did not get a shot to Morley or Jenelle Burnham who came on for the final four minutes of the match.
All in all, it was a very workman-like effort.“We played Spencer on grass twice and we knew playing on turf would be a little different,” Marathon coach Karen Funk said. “We know they hit the ball hard and get it down the field. We had to be ready to adjust to that. There wasn’t a lot of quick passing. I thought we did a good job adjusting to that.
“Not allowing Spencer a shot says a lot about our backfield,” she continued. “They are working really well together, especially in the second half of the season, This win is a good start for us. We’ll prepare for the next game now.”
Another driving force for the Marathon seniors is every game could now be the last game of their high school career.
“It is kinda sad,” Horton said. “I really don’t want to think about it. I’ll miss working with all my teammates. We’ve done this our whole lives.”
“I’m looking forward to us going as far as we can,” Underwood added.
“You could see the girls wanted a little revenge when we played Sidney last week,” Funk said of the 4-1 victory on the Warriors’ home field. “You could see that in the first five minutes of the game. That is in the girls’ mind every game now. They want a little bit more.
“I believe that comes from good senior leadership,” she continued. “Ashton does well in the backfield as does Kassidy, Allie and Emily. Put that together with Shelby and Amanda up front, that’s about all you can ask for. With some of these girls in their third varsity season, they are digging a little deeper. We’ll see what happens from here on out.”
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