November 4, 2009
Risks pay off to oust Olympians
MARATHON — The end of the road came quickly and painfully to Marathon Central girls on a cold, windy soccer field at Appleby Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.
After grabbing a 2-0 lead, the Olympians could not stop the building momentum of Newark Valley as the fourth-seeded Cardinals rallied for a 3-2 win that knocked the defending state Class C co-champions out of the playoffs.
Angela Halliday scored a pair of goals to lead Newark Valley into the Section 4 Class C title game against second-seed Elmira Notre Dame (16-2), a 1-0 winner over third-seed Unatego (15-1-1) in yesterday’s other semifinal contest.
“I told the girls that they appeared to be playing not to lose in the first half,” Newark Valley coach Chuck Schneider, Jr. said. “To be successful, we needed to be aggressive and we needed to take some risks. With risks comes big rewards. We took some risks and it paid off.
“We lost eight seniors from last year,” he added. “This was really going to be a rebuilding year. We never expected this. It’s amazing, and unbelievable, to be 14-2-1 and playing in the championship game.”
“We had a 2-0 lead and it really should have been more,” Marathon coach Trish Hayes said after a 14-3 season came to a halt. “Getting a 2-0 lead in soccer is the worst thing you can do. We started playing around with the ball. We started overpassing in the middle instead of taking the shots. It all caught up with us.”
The Olympians were working into the wind in the first half, but the girls were getting good consistent runs with crisp, sharp passes. Rachel Parker and Shawna Hurlbert got great shots that Cardinal goalkeeper Emily Riehle deflected wide and earned Marathon corner kick chances.
The third run was a charm when Lindsey Peri turned a delivered and well-placed shot form the top of the box into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead with 28:41 left in the first half. Katelyn Morrison assisted on the play.
Hurlbert just missed 36 seconds later when her shot rolled just wide of the right post.
Marathon kept the pressure up and took a 2-0 lead with 25:53 left in the half. Hurlbert made a nice feed to Parker, who ripped a shot that deflected off the left post and into the goal.
NEWARK VALLEY began to build a little momentum with a couple of 30-yard direct kicks that Emily Icenogle needed to grab as the wind carried the attempts on goal. The Cardinals then got the wind figured out and Halliday used her speed to reach one ball from Sumi Alexander and put a shot inside the left post as the visitors closed to 2-1 with 14:54 left in the half.
As play swung back and forth, Marathon got one more good scoring chance in the half, but Peri’s shot was smothered by Riehle (11 saves). Newark Valley had two good chances with Val Hanson on-target from 25 yards on a direct kick and Mikayla Rypkema firing from the left wing. Icenogle (six saves) stopped both attempts.
The second half saw Newark Valley limited to just three shots, but the Cardinals scored on two of them through great ball-control skills. Lindsey Bakal dribbled through the Marathon defense and banged home a nice shot to knot the score at 2-2 with 28:38 remaining. It was her 17th goal of the season and 33rd point.
Feeling the urgency of the situation, Marathon began pushing the ball forward, but Riehle was up to the task. Parker delivered a hard shot right at the Cardinal keeper, who made that save, and she had a second chance off an Ellena Holl corner kick. That Parker attempt was a high shot in the middle of the goal that Riehle jumped and made a two-handed grab to prevent the goal.
With play moving inside 15 minutes, Halliday went on the counterattack. The junior split two two defenders and moved in on Icenogle. Halliday did not miss as her shot went off the left post and in with 11:44 to play for a 3-2 Cardinal advantage. That goal allowed Halliday to set her school’s single-season goal-scoring record with 26 tallies.
THE OLYMPIANS forced the action in the final 10 minutes. Parker had a direct kick from the top of the box that Riehle deflected high. The ensuing corner kick saw another Marathon shot hit the cross bar and bounce away with six minutes to go.
With Newark Valley sending the ball downfield at every opportunity, Marathon got one last shot off, but it went well wide of the goal with 2:40 to play. The Cardinals killed the remaining time by kicking the ball out of play or deep into the Marathon defensive third. The play of Riehle in goal and Hanson at sweeper was key for Newark Valley.
“Val has been huge all through sectionals for us,” Schneider said. “Val has been getting to the ball and clearing it wide of the goal . Emily has been making some great saves and getting the ball out to your teammates.”
The loss was an abrupt end for the Marathon seniors. Hurlbert, Paige McCarthy, Catherine Jones, Erin Rundle and Kathryn Wickham really expected to make the Class C title game and win another sectional title, if not more. You hate to lose that final game of your high school career, but these seniors did help bring Marathon soccer into the spotlight.
“Their goal wasn’t to have their season end in the (sectional) semifinals,” Hayes said. “They have done a lot for this program. They all put in a lot of effort. They did help bring this team this far and put our program on the map. They didn’t deserve to lose. This wasn’t their vision and it is very undeserving for them to lose this way.”
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