October 31, 2011


OT escape keeps Olympians going

Nips END 4-3 to reach Class C semifinals


Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Marathon’s Austin Fox (21) goes up for a header against Elmira Notre Dame’s Jason Sincock during Saturday’s Section 4 Class C quarterfinal round soccer match. Marathon moved on with 4-3 overtime victory.

Staff Writer

MARATHON — It looked as though it would be a very long day for Marathon Central boys Saturday.
Alex Nassar scored his first of two first-half goals just 2:19 into the Section 4 Class C quarterfinal soccer match to give visiting Elmira Notre Dame an early lead. A challenge from Olympian coach Chip Stewart was answered in the second half, but it still took double overtime before second-seed Marathon finally prevailed on Eric Barry’s toe-poke 1:52 into the second golden-goal session to give the home team a 4-3 triumph and a trip to the semifinal round.
“Everyone was getting tired at the end of regulation time,” Barry said. “They were marking us tight. We did miss some earlier chances. We are young. We’re still learning and we are still getting better.”
Marathon (16-1) will host third-seed Binghamton Seton Catholic (10-4) — a 1-0 winner over sixth-seed Watkins Glen — Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Olympians downed the Saints 2-0 in the semifinals a year ago.
On the other side of the bracket, top-seed Lansing (17-0) was a 6-1 victor over eighth-seed Unatego while fourth-seed Spencer-Van Etten (14-2-1) shut out fifth-seed Greene 3-0.
In Class B semifinal round action on Saturday, top-seed Oneonta posted a 3-1 win over fifth-seed Dryden.
Marathon 4, Elmira ND 3, 2 OT: Elmira Notre Dame (13-4-1) was strong in the opening 10 minutes, earning a pair of corner kicks to go with the first goal, but Marathon would get some nice counterattacks.
The Olympians just could not put the ball in the goal. Cody Morrison and Dan Lincoln had excellent chances, but were thwarted by Crusader goalkeeper Sean Smetanka (7 saves).
With a momentary lapse by the Olympians, Nassar got the ball in the box with 4:52 left in the half. He settled the ball, spun around and put a well-struck ball inside the far left post for the 2-0 Crusader advantage.
Down 2-0 at the intermission, Stewart simply challenged his team to step it up.
“I told the guys, there was no 3-goal shot,” Stewart said. “We could chip away with pressure and by scoring a goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half. We could get the tying goal in the next 10 minutes and score the winning third goal during the final 20 minutes. Did I expect to score three goals that quickly? Of course not., We did respond, but then we settled and we let Notre Dame back into it.”
Notre Dame started the second half by taking the ball right down the field. Nassar had an excellent chance to make it 3-0, but pushed his shot just outside the right post. That near-miss really woke the Olympians up and they went on the attack.
With 34:12 left in regulation time, Evan Holl sent a corner kick into the box. Anson Dann headed the ball towards Morrison. His first shot by stopped by Smetanka, but Morrison drove home the rebound and the Olympians were on the board.
One minute later, Tyler Hollerer collected the ball and made a nice pass to Morrison. The sophomore found a hole with put the ball into the net to even the score at 2-2.
Tyler Nelson was denied a scoring chance with 31 minutes left, but kept hustling. That paid off when he got another chance and flicked the ball into the goal for a 3-2 Marathon lead with 30:24 left in the second half.
Notre Dame began to swing the momentum back into its favor, but goalie Robbie Peri (seven saves) was equal to the task making three big saves. The Crusaders kept coming. Sean Brown collected a loose ball near the top of the box and delivered the perfect strike into the goal to tie the game at 3-3. Play stayed between the 18s for much of the remaining time and the teams headed into the the first of two 15-minute golden goal sessions.
Three minutes into the first session, Peri made a great leaping save. Brett Skelly floated the ball towards the upper right corner. Peri had one option and it did a great job of pinning the ball to the cross bar. The ball came down in front of him and he recovered to clear it from harm’s way.
“I was really nervous when I saw it coming in,” Peri said. “I just decided to try and pin it there and see what would happen. It worked out.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Evan because he has been our goalkeeper for a long time,” he added of teammate Holl. “He has taught me a lot and showed me the way. It feels great to be able to go out there every game. I really feel like a part of the team even more this year.”
“Robbie has played fantastic for us,” Stewart said. “Because of his play we are able to bring Evan into the field. Evan makes us a more dynamic team and I can’t say enough about how Robbie has stepped up for us this year. He’s struggled on some high balls, but he made a great play on that one.”
Bill Marcy got a clean look at the goal with 9:03 left in the session, but Peri gobbled up this opportunity as well.
Marathon tried to end the game with six minutes left in the first overtime. Nelson had a great one-v-one chance, but Smetanka stopped the initial shot. Lincoln got to the rebound, only to push the ball just wide of the right post. Barry had a header saved and Holl put a ball over the crossbar before the first overtime ended.
Notre Dame got the first shot of the second overtime segment. Jason Sincock challenged Peri who made the save. The Olympians counterattacked quickly. The ball nearly went out-of-bounds in the Notre Dame third of the field, but it was flicked to Holl, who moved up the left flank. Holl made a nice pass to Dann who made a quick sliding kick of the ball towards the far right post. Barry won the race to the ball and toe-poked it inside the post for the win.
Oneonta 3, Dryden 1: Oneonta (13-1) scored three times in the first half to punched its ticket to a third straight Section 4 final appearance. The Yellowjackets lost to Trumansburg in the Class B final last season.
Stijn Van Pel, Connor Brown and Dan Joseph were the goal scorers for the home team.
Dryden (10-5-1) avoided the shutout when Dana Smith scored an unassisted goal during second half play. It would be the only goal for the Purple Lions who see their season come to an end. Haile Cutter made eight saves in the Dryden goals.


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