November 1, 2012
Marathon breezes to title match
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Marathon’s one-two scoring punch of Amanda Horton (left) and Shelby Underwood accounted for six goals in Wednesday’s 7-1 sectional semifinal win over Sidney at SUNY Cortland.
On a bone-chilling night, Amanda Horton wielded the hot stick.
The Marathon Central senior scored four goals and added an assist as the second-seeded Olympians posted a solid 7-1 Section 4 Class C field hockey semifinal round victory over sixth-seeded Sidney on the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex’s White Field turf on Wednesday night.
While Marathon improves to 15-3, Sidney concludes its season at 9-7.
In the other Class C semifinal, top-seed Greene (15-0) defeated fifth-seed Whitney Point 5-1 as Tiffany Borst scored three goals for the Trojans. The Class C championship match will take place Saturday at Greene, with gametime slated for 1 p.m.
“The whole team did a nice job of passing the ball tonight,” Horton said after Marathon’s romp. “I’ve said it before, Shelby (Underwood) and I work so well together. We just know where we are and how to get the ball to each other. Everyone was moving better and it was a much better overall effort than the past couple of games.”
“We were definitely pumped for the game,” Underwood said after her two-goal, one assist effort. “Last year we beat Sidney during the regular season and thought they wouldn’t be a problem in sectionals and they beat us for the championship game. I was a little tense before the game because I didn’t want a repeat of last year. I had faith in my team that we would all just go for it tonight.
“Our passing was definitely on the mark more tonight,” she added. “We have worked on that a lot in practice. Our timing was much better.”
Marathon head coach Karen Funk liked what she saw.
“We’ve been working on keeping our sticks down, carrying the ball and making the pass to keep the game flowing,” the veteran coach said. “We seemed to do a much better job of moving the ball from side to side and up and down the field. We did make Sidney chase us.”
Horton assisted on the first goal of the game with 28:50 left in the first half. Eryn Griep inserted the ball on a penalty corner. Horton wound up with the ball and slid it to Kassidy Stone for the finish.
Horton collected her 21st and 22nd goals of the season before halftime on a couple of great individual moves. She had a one-on-one with Sidney goalkeeper Kelsey Decker with 16:25 left in the half. Decker’s aggressive play led to a collision between the two players, but Horton got a shot off and it rolled into the empty net for a 2-0 lead.
With the Olympians a player down in the final five minutes for a yellow card, Horton broke free again, made a great dodge move and fired a shot past Decker for the 3-0 cushion with 3:37 on the clock.
“The goalie kept coming out past the stroke line,” Horton explained. “I would just have to make a couple of dodges to get a shot. I knew that if I couldn’t get a shot, one of my girls would be there for the tip-in. She just came out too far and my dodges were effective.”
Marathon was in control with seven shots and four penalty corners at the break. Sidney had just one shot that Emily Morley stopped and no penalty corners.
The second half saw Marathon start quickly again with three shots in the first two minutes that Decker stopped every time. That momentum gave Sidney a spark and the Warriors got on the scoreboard as Katy DeShaw completed a three-shot flurry with a rebound goal with 23:39 left in the match. Morley stopped the first two attempts, but the ball wasn’t cleared and DeShaw found an opening.
The Olympians responded by taking control of the play and the better field position as played moved inside the final 11 minutes. Marathon exploded for four goals with a 3:22 span to pull away.
Horton started the the run with a shot off the goalkeeper’s leg with 10:47 to play. 47 seconds later, Shelby Underwood scored off a rebound opportunity started by Horton’s shot that Decker made the kick save on. Just 36 second later, Horton made it 6-1 with a great shot. Underwood finished the scoring with 7:25 left in the match as the senior made a great move followed another Griep penalty career insert. Underwood’s her 25th goal was her third point of the night and gives Underwood 133 career points, tying her with Meghan Dean (2002-2006) for fourth on the all-time scoring list.
Horton is 10th on the all-time scoring list with 54 goals and 32 assists for 86 points
As for the championship showdown with Greene, who moved down two classes after winning the Section 4 Class A title for the umpteenth time in 2011, including the 2009 State Class A crown, on the Trojans’ home field Saturday?
“Greene is a good team,” Horton said. “We just have to keep our heads up and take it one day at a time. We have played on that field a number of times against other teams. We just have to believe in ourselves.”
“We didn’t play them this year,” she continued. “We don’t know what they are doing, but they don’t know what we’re doing either.”
“We got a good test tonight with a front line speed from Sidney,” Funk said. “We had to adjust to them moving the ball up the sideline. We recovered well on defense Ashton (Hawks) got to the ball well. Ali (Eaton) was back there to back her up. Emily (Lawrence did a good job in support as well. We’ll be ready.
“We do have turf experience,” she added. “That is going to help us. We’ve been to the Greene Tournament and we do know the facility.”
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